The release was sought under a new law, the CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act, that was signed into law by President Donald Trump on 23 March. The Act changed the existing law so that law-enforcement warrants apply to data stored anywhere by US-based tech firms.
The emails in question were initially sought by the Department of Justice in 2013, through a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act, with the reported reason being that they were to do with a probe into drug trafficking.
Microsoft sought to quash the order but a magistrate judge refused to do so in April 2014. The company appealed the verdict to a federal district judge but the order was upheld, and the court said the company was in contempt of court for refusing to hand over the emails.
And in January 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a 4-4 decision, refused to rehear an appeal of its own decision.
The case then went to the Supreme Court which held its first hearing in February, with a verdict expected in June.
The DoJ has now submitted a motion arguing that the case was now moot, given the passage of the Act.
It cited the changed provisions of the Act, which state: "A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall comply with the obligations of this chapter to preserve, backup, or disclose the contents of a wire or electronic communication and any record or other information pertaining to a customer or subscriber within such provider’s possession, custody, or control, regardless of whether such communication, record, or other information is located within or outside of the United States."
Link to motion courtest The Register