Wired: The Supreme Court turned down Tuesday a request to take up a challenge to the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program, adding t
February 18, 2008


The Supreme Court turned down Tuesday a request to take up a challenge to the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program, adding to the Administration's string of legal victories in challenges to the controversial, five-year-long program.

The ACLU, representing lawyers, journalists and Muslim groups, challenged the program in 2006, arguing that the warrantless spying on international communications violated the Fourth Amendment and put a chill on the free speech of journalists.

The suit started in a Detroit federal court room, where in 2006 Judge Anna Diggs Taylor issued an injunction against the spying, which she found to be unconstitutional.

In July 2007, the Sixth Circuit reversed that decision simply on the issue of standing -- in layman's terms, having the right to sue. The court found that the plaintiffs couldn't prove they were spied on, so therefore could not sue.

In October, the ACLU asked the Supreme Court to review that 2-1 decision, which it called a Catch-22.

However, the Supreme Court declined, without comment, to hear the case, effectively blessing the appeals court decision.

It's a little difficult to prove you're an injured party (in this case, that you've been spied upon) if the government won't release the information, isn't it? Here's the appeal filed by the ACLU (.pdf) Christy @ FireDogLake:

Ultimately, it looks as though SCOTUS found the standing argument compelling enough here not to delve more deeply into the issues involved which, sadly, is not at all a surprise considering this particular court's record on national security cases.

This decision does not, however, negate the pending case(s) in San Francisco in which the EFF and ACLU, among others, represent the interests of plaintiffs who discovered their phones had been monitored through whistleblower information that the government inadvertently produced in discovery -- those cases are ongoing.

[..] John Dean had a fantastic discussion of "state secrets" and why it shouldn't be used to cloak potential wrongdoing in this case.

And Glenn Greenwald doesn't spare anyone:

That's exactly how our country operates now. When high political officials here are accused of breaking the law, they need not defend themselves. Congress acts to protect and immunize them. The courts refuse even to hear the lawsuits. And executive branch officials are completely shielded from the most basic mechanics of the rule of law.

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