It has received no attention, but the federal government filed its initial response in April to the action filed earlier this year by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on behalf of Juggalos, who claim that their constitutional rights to expression and association were violated by when the FBI designated them as a gang in 2011.
“Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge a report known as the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, an intelligence assessment made by the National Gang Intelligence Center at the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the introduction to the response states, a common argument in such cases.
The response goes on to claim that the plaintiffs – four Juggalos and the two members of Insane Clown Posse – showed no direct damages due to the gang assessment.
It also claims that the alleged damages cited in the complaint, which was filed in January, did not come at the hands of the defendant. That would be a base-covering assertion, just in case the court didn't buy the 'no damages' thing.
“To the extent the allegation of injury by the FBI’s intelligence analysis is plausible, any injury involves the conduct of independent third parties, not before the Court, who are not even regulated by the Defendant agencies,” the argument reads.
The defendant is the U.S. Department of Justice. Read the response here.
There is a highly dubious assertion near the end of the fed’s response, which is a fairly standard petition and asks that the case be dismissed.
“The [National Gang Intelligence Center] does not collect or maintain information that does not relate to criminal activity.”
This is quite a statement in light of Edward Snowden’s disclosures last year regarding surveillance conducted by the federal government on U.S. citizens, which includes accessing Google and Yahoo accounts.
No decision has been made regarding the motion to dismiss, although it would be an eyebrow raiser if any court were to let this one go away without more argument. The fun will come if it gets to discovery, where the feds will be required to disclose more information.