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Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency's surveillance program that collected data from Americans' phone calls was illegal.

What they found: The court concluded that "bulk collection" of phone data violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Wednesday's ruling came seven years after Basaaly Moalin and three other Somali immigrants were found guilty on charges of fundraising for the terror group al-Shabab.

  • The court found that "the so-called telephone metadata program played in a criminal terror-fundraising case against four Somali immigrants was so minor that it did not undermine their convictions," Politico writes.

Background: The metadata collection program was developed after the passage of the Patriot Act following the Sept. 11 attacks. The program was revealed by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden and shut down in 2015.

What they're saying: "Here the NSA collected Moalin’s (and millions of other Americans’) telephony metadata on an ongoing, daily basis for years," Judge Marsha Berzon wrote in her opinion. "Moalin likely had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his telephony metadata — at the very least, it is a close question."

The big picture, via Axios' Kyle Daly: The ruling comes as the Trump administration, through Attorney General Bill Barr, has only pushed for more expansive digital surveillance capabilities.

  • Europe’s high court recently struck down a data pact between the EU and U.S. over concerns that Europeans’ private data can’t be protected from American government surveillance.

Read the ruling:

Go deeper

Supreme Court will hear major voting rights case

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a major voting rights case, setting up a clash over states’ handling of absentee ballots.

Why it matters: The court has already invalidated a key section of the Voting Rights Act, even before President Trump solidified and expanded its conservative majority, and is now poised to limit voting-rights enforcement again.

Updated 47 mins ago - World

Trudeau's Liberals set to form minority government after Canada election win

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government was reelected for a third term in Monday's parliamentary elections, but preliminary results show it failed to win a majority.

Why it matters: Trudeau has governed Canada with a minority of legislative support in parliament for the past two years. Last month, he called for an election two years earlier than scheduled in the hope of forming a majority government.

DOJ urges Supreme Court not to overturn Roe v Wade

Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Sept. 9 news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice sought permission Monday to present oral arguments when the Supreme Court hears a case challenging Mississippi's strict abortion law, as it called on justices to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The two briefs, filed by acting solicitor general Brian Fletcher, mark the latest attempt by President Biden's DOJ to "protect the legal right to an abortion," per the New York Times, which first reported on the court filings.