Claire Eagan

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Claire Eagan
Claire Eagan District Judge.jpg
Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Assumed office
February 13, 2013
Appointed by John Roberts
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
Assumed office
October 4, 2001
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Thomas Rutherford Brett
Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
In office
Personal details
Born 1950 (age 64–65)
Bronx, New York
Alma mater Trinity Washington University (B.A.)
Fordham University School of Law (J.D.)

Claire Eagan (born 1950) is a district judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. She joined the court in 2001 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Bronx, New York, Eagan graduated from Trinity Washington University with a bachelor's degree in 1972, and later from Fordham University School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1976. At Fordham, Eagan was a commentary editor of the Fordham Law Review.


Eagan began her legal career working as a law clerk to Allen Edward Barrow of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma from 1976 to 1978. She was in private practice attorney in Oklahoma from 1978 to 1998. In 2001 Eagan served as a United States magistrate judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma until 2001.

Federal judicial career[edit]

On the recommendation of Senators James Inhofe and Don Nickles, Eagan was nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma by President George W. Bush on September 4, 2001, to a seat vacated by Thomas Rutherford Brett. Eagan was confirmed by the Senate on October 23, 2001, on a Senate vote and received her commission the next day.

Assignment to FISC[edit]

Eagan served as the Chief Judge of the Court from 2005 to 2012. In February 2013 she was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), established in 2001 per the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Her term runs to May 2019.[1]

She was the author of the August 29, 2013 FISC opinion released on September 17, 2013, explaining that the call metadata collection program was constitutional, and thus "any decision about whether to keep it was a political question, not a legal one". The first FISC opinion written since the Snowden leaks (judges must reauthorize the program every 90 days[2] and generally they are "brief reiterations of the court’s legal analysis"), the lengthy 29-page opinion is thought to have been written "for the purpose of public release".[3] U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan said “metadata that includes phone numbers, time and duration of calls is not protected by the Fourth Amendment, since the content of the calls is not accessed.”[2] In the option, Judge Eagan said “data collection is authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act that allows the FBI to issue orders to produce tangible things if there are reasonable grounds to believe the records are relevant to a terrorism investigation.”[2] The option authorized the FBI to “collect the information for probes of "unknown" as well as known terrorists.”[2] She also noted that no U.S. telecommunications company had legally refused to turning over customer metadata, "despite the mechanism for doing so".[4]


  1. ^ "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: 2013 Membership". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Weiss, Debra Cassens (September 18, 2013). "Surveillance court releases new opinion upholding NSA collection of phone data". ABA Journal. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Savage, Charlie (17 September 2013). "Extended Ruling by Secret Court Backs Collection of Phone Data". New York Times. 
  4. ^ "U.S. FISC Amended Memorandum Opinion". Retrieved 29 August 2013. 

External links[edit]