Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Case Challenging NSA Surveillance | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Case Challenging NSA Surveillance

Without comment, the Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's vast collection of telephone and electronic data.

SCOTUSblog reports that this is the first case to reach the U.S. high court since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began leaking documents that shed light on some of the U.S. government's most secret operations.

SCOTUSblog explains:

"The [Electronic Privacy Information Center] plea was filed directly in the Court, without prior lower court action. The group requested that the Justices direct a judge of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to vacate an order he issued in April requiring a branch of the telephone giant Verizon to turn over to the government a vast array of data, including sweeps of U.S. telephone calls and Internet exchanges. The Court very rarely grants such a 'writ of mandamus or prohibition.'

"EPIC had contended that no other court was open to hear a challenge to orders of the FISA Court, so the Supreme Court should consider its case now. The Justice Department had answered that EPIC could attempt to pursue its case in lower courts first, although the government has attempted to thwart review of previous challenges."

Of course, this doesn't mean challenges to NSA surveillance end there. For example, on Friday, a federal court in Manhattan will hear an ACLU challenge to a government program that collects phone metadata in bulk.

Also, as NPR's Carrie Johnson reported in October, the Obama administration is in the process of setting up a test case by revealing to a defendant that "some evidence against them may have come from a secret electronic surveillance program."

Such a revelation would open the door for the defendant to initiate a legal challenge, which potentially could wind its way to the Supreme Court and test the constitutionality of the bulk collection of electronic records.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The World Music Education of Philip Glass

In his new memoir, Music Without Words, the composer explains how a chance meeting with Ravi Shankar sparked a fascination with the cultures of the world and their music.
NPR

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

The company says Diet Pepsi consumers are concerned about aspartame. But the Food and Drug Administration has long affirmed that the sweetener is safe in amounts commonly used by beverage companies.
NPR

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy On Gun Control, Vaccines And Science

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was officially sworn in this week. His confirmation was held up for more than a year because of comments he made about gun violence. Murthy talks with NPR's Scott Simon.
NPR

As Health Apps Hop On The Apple Watch, Privacy Will Be Key

The notion of receiving nutrition advice from artificial intelligence on your wrist may seem like science fiction. But health developers are betting this kind of behavior will become the norm.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.