Ask a FISA Court Judge!


The FISA Court was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to oversee top-secret surveillance programs. Its opinions are classified, although the Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently released a rare, heavily redacted 2011 ruling striking down an NSA program that collected email data from American citizens and foreign nationals.

It also offers relationship advice.

Dear FISA Court Judge,

A coworker gave me and my husband a $25 certificate to the Cheesecake Factory as a wedding gift. It cost us $400 to feed her and her guest at our reception. Should I send it back and tell her she’s rude and cheap? Help, FISA Court Judge! —Dismayed in Des Moines.

FISA Court Judge says:

Dear Dismayed,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             !!

Dear FISA Court Judge,

My husband and I have been married for 20 years but recently we hit a bit of a rough patch. I had an affair with my boss, and my husband missed the birth of our daughter to deliver a $3 million shipment of methamphetamine to a guy he knows from Chile. Also he’s dying of cancer. What should I do, FISA Court Judge? —Nervous in New Mexico.

FISA Court Judge says:

Dear Nervous,

I                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 literally                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            .

Dear FISA Court Judge,

Is there such thing as insanity among penguins? I try to avoid a definition of insanity or derangement—I don’t mean he or she is Lenin or Napoleon Bonaparte—but could they just go crazy because they’ve had enough of their colony? You’re my only hope, FISA Court Judge! –Musing in Munich.

FISA Court Judge says:

Dear Musing,

                                                                                                                                                                      puffins                                                                                                                       ;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I hope that answers your question!

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Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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