Cuccinelli to work on NSA class-action lawsuit

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the National Security Agency as the National Security Administration.

Outgoing Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), who battled the White House over health-care reform, will continue to fight the Obama administration when he steps down at the end of this week.

Cuccinelli will assist U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) with a class-
action suit against the National Security Agency over its surveillance of Americans’ phone records.

Cuccinelli first announced his involvement in the suit in a Facebook post over the weekend.

“Join Rand Paul and I in asserting our right to privacy,” he wrote. Cuccinelli will serve as a legal adviser to Paul, a spokesman said, but not as the lead counsel in the lawsuit.

Paul’s suit has been in the works since the summer. He has been collecting signatures for the past six months, saying that anyone with a cellphone can join in. Paul announced his intention to go ahead with the suit on Fox News on Friday and revealed that Cuccinelli would be part of the legal team.

“He has constitutional expertise,” Paul said. “And we’re hoping with his help that we can get a hearing in court and ultimately get this class-action lawsuit, I think the first of its kind, on a constitutional question, to take it all the way to the Supreme Court.”

In 2010, Cuccinelli was the first attorney general in the nation to sue over President Obama’s health-care law. After losing his bid for governor in the fall to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, he said he plans to go back to practicing law, most likely in his own practice.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed its own lawsuit last year challenging the constitutionality of the data collection. It asserted that it has standing to sue the government over the program because it is a Verizon customer. In December, a federal judge in New York ruled that the program is lawful; an appeal is underway.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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