Updated Dec. 16, 2013 3:11 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—A federal judge on Monday ruled against the National Security Agency's collection of phone records, saying the program "almost certainly does violate" the Constitution.
However, the ruling will have little immediate effect and faces a lengthy future of court proceedings.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who was nominated to the Washington, D.C., bench by former President George W. Bush, issued a 68-page ruling in favor of Larry Klayman, a conservative activist and lawyer.
Mr. Klayman filed suit in June, claiming that the program violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search.
On a daily basis, the NSA collects records of nearly every call made in the U.S. and enters them into a database in order to search for possible contacts among terrorism suspects. The scope of the program was revealed when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents describing the program this spring.
The ruling came on Mr. Klayman's request for an injunction barring the government from collecting any telephone records associated with Mr. Klayman and another plaintiff. In the ruling, Judge Leon ordered the government to destroy any such records it currently has.
Only way snowden is getting a ticket home..
"Our position has not changed on that matter at all," Carney told reporters at a briefing in response to a question. "Mr. Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information and he faces felony charges here in the United States. He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process in our system."
This will change nothing. It's not like the NSA is going to go, "Oops, well I guess it's illegal so we'll stop doing it."
They've always known it was illegal - and they did it anyway. Laws mean nothing to those sworn to uphold them. Business as usual.