An appeals court gave a skeptical reception Tuesday to a lawsuit claiming that President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission violated federal law by failing to study the privacy impact of a demand for voter rolls and other personal data on millions of Americans. During oral arguments, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t say much about the possibility that the President’s Advisory Committee on Election Integrity violated a requirement Congress created in 2002 that federal agencies conduct a “privacy impact assessment” before embarking on collection of data on individuals. Instead, the judges repeatedly questioned whether the organization pressing the suit — the Electronic Privacy Information Center — had legal standing to pursue the case.
“I have to say that EPIC does not seem central to the particular interests protected here,” Judge Stephen Williams said, suggesting that individuals whose data was being requested might have more at stake.
EPIC’s Marc Rotenberg said the organization’s focus on privacy was unmistakable and the commission’s failure to publish the assessment negatively impacted EPIC’s work.
“We are named the Privacy Information Center,” said Rotenberg. “It is central to our mission. I will say that this data collection undertaken by a presidential commission is absolutely unprecedented.”