In a notable rebuke of the Administration's claim for the exercise of unfettered Executive Branch powers in the interests of national security during wartime, Chief District Judge Vaughn R. Walker overruled the Government's attempt to use the so-called "state secrets" doctrine (any information that could violate national security interests may not be used or admitted into evidence) to dismiss the class-action wiretapping lawsuit filed last February by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of hundreds of thousands of telephone and wireless customers against AT&T in the Northern District of California.
Judge Vaughn based his comprehensive and well-reasoned opinion on (i) the appropriate function of judicial review of government programs and policies, even in wartime and even involving national security, and (ii) the fact that the administration had already publicly confirmed the existence of the NSA surveillance program and revealed many details of its operation means it fails to qualify as a protected "state secret."
The New York Times story on Judge Vaughn's decision can be found here. Lyle Denniston has this post in Scotusblog. Finally, as Patrick Radden Keefe notes in his detailed post in Slate on the Hepting vs. AT&T case:
"The real significance of the case exceeds the NSA wiretapping story and the use of state secrets. Walker's opinion is a stirring defense of the role of the courts, even in times of war. Quoting the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, he reminds us, 'Whatever power the United States Constitution envisions for the Executive in its exchanges with other nations or with enemy organizations in times of conflict, it most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake.' The president and Congress seem to have forgotten that lately; Judge Walker has reminded them."