Anna Smith is a mother of two who lives in rural Idaho, works the night shift as a nurse and goes to the gym often. She rarely follows the news and knows little about the debate over government surveillance and privacy that has rocked Washington in recent weeks.
None of that is stopping her from suing the president of the United States.
Smith is the plaintiff in one of six legal challenges that have been filed over the government’s far-reaching collection of telephone and Internet records. Her attorney is her husband. She doesn’t understand the legal technicalities and worries that the case could distract from her job and parenting duties.
But the Idaho native knows how she feels about the prospect of anyone tracking calls from her cellphone: She’s outraged. “It’s none of their business what I’m doing — who I call, when I call, how long I talk,” Smith, 32, said in a telephone interview. She added, “I think it’s awesome that I have the right to sue the president. I’m just a small-town girl.”
Smith’s lawsuit, filed June 12 in federal court in Idaho, names President Obama “in his official capacity as President of the United States of America,” along with other top officials. Like most of the other cases, it urges a judge to declare unconstitutional a National Security Agency program that scoops up the telephone records of millions of Americans from U.S. telecommunications companies.