Talk:ACLU v. NSA/438 F. Supp. 2d 754

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Information about this edition
Edition: August 17, 2006
Source: Washington Post, District court website (PDF)
Contributor(s): Sherurcij, Jmcneill2, Theophobic
Level of progress: 100 percent.svg100%: complete.
Proofreaders: Sherurcij, Jmcneill2, Theophobic, Michael D. Sullivan


Very impressive, though a quick reminder that you'll want to make sure the wikilinks use the [[w:foo|foo]] format :) Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 02:27, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm going to move all the sources to the bottom for reader's ease - I recognise this isn't "exactly as done in the PDF", but often we come to the problem that there are subsets and such which can't be accurately shown on WS, and instead we just focus on the integrity of the text, not the w:pagination. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 16:55, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I can't find the source for original reference (5), so I'll copy the text here. Further, the court was not persuaded by the plaintiff's argument that the privilege was negated because the Government had admitted that the rendition program existed because it found the Government's admissions to be without details. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 17:05, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
See my note about pagination and footnote location under Fine Points, below. Michael D. Sullivan 01:29, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Footnote (5) appears to be a comment to what is in the text. I seem to remember from my college days that it should be left where it was, in the footnote listing. I am trying to make this faithful to the original source, as much as Wikipedia style permits.

II. State Secrets Privilege The eleventh paragraph of this section.

On page 6 of the original PDF the Judge has "these reasons" included as part of the body of the paragraph instead of listing them individually.

II. State Secrets Privilege Six paragraphs up from the bottom of this section.

On page 13 of the original PDF the Judge has these admissions included as part of the body of the paragraph.

III. Standing The second paragraph of this section.

In the original .PDF file, page 16 shows the Judge putting those three requirements into the body of that paragraph instead of itemizing them. Again, I am trying to follow the Judge's intent when the opinion was written.

See you tomorow4.228.216.118 18:42, 1 September 2006 (UTC)


  • Personally I liked the coloured blockquotes version we had, I thought it was a new format that we should adopt on this article, and subsequent related articles - it makes the text clearer to the reader, what is/isn't the author's exact words, without sacrificing any text quality. (A paragraph indent isn't enough for all readers to separate "Oh, this part is somebody else's opinion from twenty years ago"). For an example of what I'm talking about, see [1]
  • Personally, I wouldn't mind erring on the side of caution with some wikilinks, unlike a wikipedia article which is concise, a 30-page document mentions "Justice O'Connor" or "TSP" at various points throughout the work, and while I may not care the first time the term is mentioned, as I read through, I may go " what exactly is this TSP again?" and would appreciate it having been wikilinked each time. Again, interested in your opinions.
And finally, just a note how impressed I am that Wikipedia has articles on so many of the court cases mentioned here, allowing us to wikilink to them - that was an unexpected boon, so a long-distance "you'll never see this" thank-you to the WPians who contributed to those articles. Sherurcij (talk) (λεμα σαβαχθανει) 14:00, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Comments to Opinions[edit]

  • Coloured blockquotes

The first time I saw these, it really jumped out at me. I watched and waited for time to make me comfortable with them. I got to the point where while I liked them for making the page more user friendly in appearance, they tended to be a distraction. Now I admit it was a small distraction but they stood out so much compared to the rest of the text that they became the focus instead of what the author was writing. My eyes tended to go to the colored blockquotes first rather than the beginning of the text. It might be possible (with a consensus):

1) to soften the color a bit so that it isn't such a noticeable distraction.

2) Indent the plain quotes even more than the 10 spaces used by Theophobic. The colored blockquotes you used had a 7 space indentation. I haven't looked at what a longer indentation style looks like.

There are probably other options which I haven't thought about. Months ago when I started looking at some of the other Wikisource legal opinions, I was struck by how incomplete they all seemed. It was as if the text had just been dumped onto the page and for the most part, just left that way. There is a group (2 guys) Wikisource:Wikiproject US Supreme Court who have started the effort to have SCOTUS legal opinions on Wikisource look a bit more professional. I applaud their efforts although the last time I checked they hadn't finished their first project. Wikisource:Scriptorium#Iraq_Study_Group_Report_pgs_1-57 was the first time I came across the group leader, User:Metal.lunchbox. I haven't talked with him. But, the ACLU v. NSA Opinion is a federal district court legal document, the first level of a legal case, not the last. It is the work of 1 author, not multiple authors like on the Court of Appeals or SCOTUS levels. I haven't seen any Wikisource judicial opinions at that level that would supply any kind of template for ACLU v. NSA Opinion.

  • Multiple wikilinks of the same term

I tend to agree. I think, perhaps incorrectly due to any individuals' natural elitism, that the average reader will know quite a bit less than they should about the subject. They need all of those links. The problem, especially in shorter documents, is a type of visual overkill of link usage. It is something I am constantly trying to compromise about. I lean toward a visual look that allows multiple links in a longer document. Perhaps this would occur after going into another section, or even farther down the page when the reader can't reliably glance up to click upon a previous usage of the term to find out exactly what the word means. It would appear that Theophobic didn't agree and that kind of goes along with (I think) most other wikilink usage style examples. It is something that needs more experimentation and discussion.

  • Merging each 'center title' section heading

into the linked heading title of each section is something we may want to consider at some point.

  • Yes, I'm also impressed

Its true. The bigger Wikipedia/Wikisource gets, the better it becomes. People who try to restrict Wikipedia/Wikisource out of some kind of elitist do-gooder attitude are only hurting things. At this point of ACLU v. NSA Opinion, I am quite proud of what we have accomplished. It looks really good. I still see a few changes in appearance but if it was locked away from my touch at this point I couldn't complain. I will leave a note on User talk:Theophobic to invite him/her into the discusssion. I see that the Wikisource:Wikiproject US Supreme Court has been knocking on his door.Jmcneill2 04:57, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I did a sample of the changes discussed so far.

Section VIII, the AUMF, was short enough that I changed the indentation to 15 spaces and then single linked all of the relevant words I could find even if they had been used in other sections. I also modified the section heading as you can see. What do you think?Jmcneill2 16:08, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I consider this text finished for FT status. All appropriate links and indentations have been made. Text integrity has been 100 percent since September 4, 2006.Jmcneill2 03:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

red links[edit]

When I have worked on similar texts, I have added links for all of the cases and acts that are mentioned, which often means that there are a lot of red links in the text because we do not have an extensive collection of these works yet. I can see these redlinks being a disadvantage to the reader, as compared with Wikipedia links. John Vandenberg (chat) 04:21, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Fine point comments[edit]

The title as part of the header, "title = ACLU vs NSA judgment" should probably read "title = ACLU v. NSA Opinion" if it is to be consistent with the overall page itself. To make a further question, the title and actual name on the page (I don't recall what you call it) might read "ACLU v NSA" instead of the longer "ACLU v. NSA Opinion" if it should reflect the consistent style of the other 31 entries in the category, "United States District Court decisions".

The author section of the title/header entry, "author = United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit" doesn't seem to reflect the Court and Judge who actually wrote this opinion in August of 2006. Perhaps it should read "author = United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan". It doesn't appear that anyone has started a Wikisource page for the published decision/opinion of the Sixth Circuit Court that overturned the District Court's judgment. When that happens it may be necessary to distinguish between the two Wikisource pages referring to the same case, although published by different courts.

I'm not familiar with these parts of Wikisource's finer points of style so I am reluctant to make the changes myself.Jmcneill2 12:28, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I misunderstood which opinion this was. As there are more than one, the name "ACLU v. NSA Opinion" is ambiguous. I think we need to rename this page so it has a name which can only refer to this opinion. Suggestions welcome. John Vandenberg (chat) 06:47, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not exactly aware of how the other wikisource pages that are about Court decisions handle the same case, at different levels of the court system. I suspect they do a chapter like page listing the WS links to the different Court's opinions. Since the Sixth Circuit's 65 page PDF opinion on this case [2] or HTML [3] hasn't been brought into Wikisource at this time, there is an ample window to learn how it should be done. I know that in some instances when the case is appealed to the higher court, the litigant's names are reversed to show who the new plaintiff has become. When looking at the Category page listing of the other Distict Court opinion titles [4] at the bottom of the text's page, they are mostly listed with just the exact name of the case, with no added words. Based on that I would think that the correct page title should be just, ACLU v. NSA. In the beginning when we were actively working on this text the title changed from ACLU v. NSA Judgment, to ACLU v. NSA Opinion, neither of which are technically correct. We didn't know any better.Jmcneill2 08:25, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think ACLU v. NSA is a proper page title just for this page, due to the inherent ambiguity: both the district court’s decision and the Sixth Circuit’s decision are both captioned “ACLU v. NSA,” but this page includes only one of those two opinions. I’d suggest using subpages: so, move this page to ACLU v. NSA/District Court opinion and add the Sixth Circuit’s ruling as ACLU v. NSA/Court of Appeals opinion or something similar. Alternatively, another way to differentiate the two would be to add the published case citation to the page title (as was done, for example, with Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc. - 886 F. Supp. 1120 (S.D.N.Y. 1995) and Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc. - 153 F.3d 82 (2d Cir. 1998); or Holiday Magic, Inc. v. Warren 357 F.Supp. 20 and Holiday Magic, Inc. v. Warren 497 F.2d 687; which are other instances where WS has hosted the decisions of two separate courts in the same case). Tarmstro99 20:19, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I would suggest something more descriptive for the page title, such as ACLU v. NSA (District Court opinion) (assuming there is only one such opinion). That would allow for subsequent addition of ACLU v. NSA (6th Circuit opinion), etc. For getting to the multiple opinions, one could use either a simple disambiguation page titled ACLU v. NSA or a page with that name with {{header2}} links pointing to the various opinions, which could then have their {{header2}} sections showing the main ACLU v. NSA page as the predecessor. Michael D. Sullivan 00:26, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
The options appear to be (and I'm okay with either),
1) A simple disambiguation page titled, ACLU v. NSA or something similar that refers to the sub-page, ACLU v. NSA (District Court opinion) (or something similar). This sounds good and although it could be technically correct, is there any precedent for this? Would we be trying to lock in, how in the future, the people who do the 6th Circuit decision, do their page? If there is established precedent then this would be the correct decision.
2) Change the title page to ACLU v. NSA and leave it at that since the 6th Circuit's decision hasn't been imported into WS at this time. When that 65 page opinion is made a part of WS then a disambiguation page can be implemented and the sub-pages renamed.Jmcneill2 05:35, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm okay with either, also. I will follow suit in Second Computer Inquiry, which actually involved several published decisions (this one is the so-called Final Decision, but there are numerous others of lesser import, which may someday be in WS. Michael D. Sullivan 09:33, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Is there a reason why the cites to the White House web site simply display, rather than the full address cited in the opinion? I realize that the judge sometimes added a hyphen incorrectly, and that could have been fixed for the actual link, and perhaps even in the displayed text (possibly with a notation that the cites were corrected). As a lawyer, if I were using this I would feel more comfortable with it if it didn't deviate from the citations used in the court's opinion, subject to correction and/or stylistic cleanup. Michael D. Sullivan 00:51, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Also, I noted that the cites to constitutional provisions in the Wikisource used "U.S. CONST." in all caps, rather than "U.S. Const." in small caps, as in the judge's original opinion. I don't see a good reason for this deviation, other than that the small caps in the original were almost as large as all caps, so you might not have noticed. Feel free to revert if you have a reason that wasn't apparent to me. Michael D. Sullivan 00:51, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Done. This was done in several edits, not just the one that indicates small-capped U.S. Const., in case you need to revert. Michael D. Sullivan 01:10, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I realize that a judgment call was made to move the notes to the end in order to be able to use the <ref>...</ref> footnoting mechanism, which would cause notes to be renumbered if the notes were placed on each page. There are ways around that, but it's a judgment call. However, I would suggest putting the original page breaks in, in one or another format. Some reproductions of opinions (e.g., Lexis and Westlaw) use a mark such as [25] or [*25] to indicate where the break for page 25 goes. In a project I'm working on, I have chosen to use a more stylized page break (and I'm putting the footnotes at the bottom of each page, before the break). Take a look at the page breaks at Second Computer Inquiry to see how this looks. I'm using a template that's currently in my sandbox. If you like it, let me know and I'll move it to the Templates area and use it to insert the breaks for you. I'm still working on the templates that I'm using for footnotes; if you'd like to have me put the footnotes back on the pages for you, I'll be glad to do that once I've finished the templates. (I'm also adding a reference to this note up above under Proofreading.) Michael D. Sullivan 01:26, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

While using faux page breaks and individual page footnotes is being absolutely faithful to the original source, the orginal source was a reproduction of a printed page, with all of those inherent limitations. I took a look at Second Computer Inquiry (and I would suggest everyone view that page) and it appears to be a beautiful, perfect reproduction of the printed page. It is also very heavy on html coding skills. But, is a perfect reproduction of the printed page what we are striving for? I would think that user readability would be very high on a list of preferences. Your Second Computer Inquiry work is stunning. I just haven't figured out if the reader (or myself) is going to prefer that to something less faithful but more visually compelling. I don't know whether I like it or not.Jmcneill2 08:28, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
When transcribing scanned individual pages in the Page: namespace, we do generally try to remain faithful to the original formatting, within reason and the expressive limitations of HTML. Outside that context, however, we tend to leave formatting issues up to the individual contributors. My own view is that the primary goal is the faithful reproduction of the work as such, not the faithful reproduction of the characteristics of the physical medium in which it was first published. That being said, it’s nevertheless a good idea to indicate internal pagination (particularly for lengthy texts) to make it easier for the reader to locate a specific desired passage. We have templates in place to aid this process, see {{page label}}, {{page break}}, or {{endofpage}}. If page numbers are to be added, it might be more useful for readers to add the as-published pagination from F. Supp. 2d, though, rather than the pagination of the original typescript. Tarmstro99 11:19, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
The pagination from the F. Supp. 2d reporter would indeed be more useful to readers, but bear in mind that West Publishing adds its own content (headnotes, headnote references, and parallel citations, for example), and that content is copyrighted. Accordingly, our content would have to be limited to that in the slip opinion, which is public domain. The way that Lexis and Westlaw handle this is by putting in the page breaks from the original slip opinion with one asterisk before the page number ([*25]) and the page breaks from the West reporter with two asterisks ([**756]) -- and those online services also add their own content, such as parallel cites to their own versions of cases, headnotes, commentary, etc. If we were to add the West page numbers (which I believe, but am not completely certain, have been found not to be subject to copyright), which are not in the text of the slip opinion, we would have to make clear what they represent. It would probably be more consistent with Wikisource to provide the original pagination. In any event, I would suggest including the citation to the case in F. Supp. 2d for reference. Michael D. Sullivan 07:03, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Although West Publishing’s original content (headnotes, etc.) is copyrightable, their copyright does not extend to the internal pagination of West reporters such as F. Supp. 2d because the page numbering system lacks the requisite originality. The courts since Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service, 499 U.S. 340 (1991), have uniformly so concluded—e.g., Matthew Bender & Co., Inc. v. West Publishing Co., 158 F.3d 693 (2d Cir. 1998). Whether it’s more useful to readers to mark the internal West pagination on our version of the page is a question I’ll leave to the contributors, but there is clearly no copyright problem in doing so. Tarmstro99 10:13, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
That's what I thought to be the case. Thanks for the cite to Bender v. West. Michael D. Sullivan 00:32, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Do we have a Findlaw or other non PDF source of this District Court opinion? Lets take a look at how they handle an html version of this.Jmcneill2 05:04, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The only opinion I found on Findlaw was the 6th Circuit opinion in PDF. There's also a link to the E.D. Mich. website, where the source PDF is located. A quick Google search didn't turn up a plain text version in the first few pages. Michael D. Sullivan 00:40, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I looked at some WS court cases. One District Court case that I found, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District/1:Introduction has page breaks done in a style that doesn't appear to be anything like what we are advocating. I would be more in favor of the simple style [p114] that Roe v. Wade uses although a simple [114], [*114] or [**114] is also nice. I chose the Roe text because the companion article has attained Featured status. Whatever is more legally appealing is what we should strive for. If our legal minds prefer the Lexis or Westlaw [*114], then let's go with that. The end result of the WS Dover entry seems to lengthen to an enormous degree that WS text entry by use of overtextulized pagination. I really don't want to add significantly more characters to this WS entry that will then cause it to be broken up into smaller pieces. I want people to be able to easily scroll through this text so that they quickly find what they want. Pick a page break style and I will insert it into the text using the original PDF as source.

I actually prefer the title, ACLU v. NSA (District Court opinion) but Dover wasn't done this way. Its okay to go with whatever the standard entry would be for a District Court opinion. Go ahead and pick one, make the change and then change the links on the WS:FTC page.Jmcneill2 08:24, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

The other Matthew Bender opinion in the HyperLaw part of the case makes it clear that parallel citations and typographical corrections added by West definitely are not copyrighted - the case being Matthew Bender v. West, 158. F. 3d 674 (2nd Cir. 1998), aff'g, No. 94 Civ. 0589, 1997 WL 266972 (S.D.N.Y. May 19, 1997), cert. denied sub. nom. West v. Hyperlaw, 526 U.S. 1154 (1999). See On pagination, for US district court cases, why not just use the pagination in the official version posted on the ECF web site. Also, link to the ECF version (yup, it can be done) to see the authoritative version. Alan Sugarman

I went ahead and made the first two sample edits for pagination in ACLU v. NSA Opinion#I. Introduction. I'm not sure whether the actual pagination number refers to the end (as I did the edit) or to the beginning of the page. If you know the difference then please advise. If we need to alter the pagination style to [p2], [**2], [2] or something else then now is the time to speak up. Sorry, I don't know what the reference to the ECF website version refers. Can you provide links?Jmcneill2 12:55, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
The page markings should indicate the number of the page that starts there, rather than ends there. Michael D. Sullivan 15:32, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Is there consensus to use the pagination style begun by Jmcneill2, perhaps incrementing the page numbers per Mr. Sullivan? I notice that there have been no other suggestions in two months, and it is currently incomplete, page locked and going to FA status in a week. If I can get the page unlocked I will finish the pagination in the current style. Theophobic 20:03, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I have added the missing pagination marks, in the style suggested by Mr. Sullivan. Theophobic 18:45, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The source[edit] a dead link? Daniel (talk) 05:44, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Dead source link corrected Jmcneill2 06:17, 3 May 2008 (UTC)