The FISA court had authorized the collection of telecommunications meta-data that formed a massive surveillance effort that was disclosed, in part, by leaks last summer from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The disclosures have prompted significant public concern and debate about the extent of government collection of information about ordinary Americans as part of its anti-terrorism surveillance.
The ruling on Friday came as a result of a motion filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union directly to the FISA court.
The ACLU is also seeking some of the same documents via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in October 2011 in federal court in New York. That suit prompted the release of some of the requested documents earlier this week.
In his ruling on Friday, Judge Saylor gave government lawyers until Oct. 4 to identify all legal opinions sought by the ACLU and to establish a timetable to review any classified sections of the opinions for possible redactions prior to public release.
The judge said that after the reviews are complete, it would be up to the author of each opinion whether to propose that the opinion be publicly disclosed.