At issue is the question of these folks' standing to pursue a claim against the government in federal court — in other words, whether they represent a party or class of people who can legitimately sue. Vaughn ruled that they cannot, citing this line from the 2005 federal Seegers v Gonzales case: “[I]njuries that are shared and generalized — such as the right to have the government act in accordance with the law — are not sufficient to support standing.”
Walker's ruling was just as significant for a question he chose not
to answer. The U.S. government asserted that the lawsuit should be
dismissed because it would disclose state secrets; in his order of
dismissal, the judge “declines to rule” on this claim, since the
standing issue was sufficient cause to toss the suit.