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U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Rule On Constitutionality of Bulk Surveillance 141

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the try-again-later dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's bulk acquisition and storage of phone record metadata. The petition (PDF) for a Supreme Court ruling was submitted as a result of U.S. District Judge Richard Leon staying his ruling (PDF), pending an appeal, in a suit in which he concluded that collection of phone metadata without probable cause violated the Fourth Amendment. The plaintiffs had bypassed the federal appeals court and applied directly to the high court, given Judge Leon's admission that the case had significant national security interests at stake. The Supreme Court's decision not to rule on the case means that an appeal will need to be submitted to the federal appeals court as per protocol, but there is speculation that the mass surveillance issue will likely be addressed in the legislative and executive branches of government before the judicial branch weighs in. The provision allowing the bulk collection, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, expires June 1, 2015.'"
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U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Rule On Constitutionality of Bulk Surveillance

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  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:11PM (#46689169) Homepage Journal

    Not only are they a court purchased by corporate interests, they are intellectually weak and the lack any courage to do the right thing.

  • Re:Utterly gutless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HBI (604924) <kparadine AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:18PM (#46689219) Homepage Journal

    Or maybe they think that a decision isn't required and the lower courts can solve this. Generally, this would mean either the issue isn't important enough for them, the matter is settled law or the issue has been insufficiently litigated at a lower level. We can rule out the first two. Doesn't mean they won't come back for a bite at it if it is not resolved.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:23PM (#46689267) Homepage Journal

    That is one of the few mistakes our founders made. Allowing the court to ignore cases.

  • by meerling (1487879) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:45PM (#46689457)
    "The provision allowing the bulk collection, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, expires June 1, 2015."
    Yeah, right. They'll extend it indefinitely, it will never 'expire'. (Just like all the the other things that were supposed to 'expire'.)
  • Re:Utterly gutless (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Monday April 07, 2014 @08:16PM (#46689673)

    FTA:

    That's because the Supreme Court has taken cases before they went to the federal appellate level. Those disputes, which seemingly pale in comparison to the NSA surveillance at issue, involved the constitutionality of the US Sentencing Commission, the value of a floundering railroad, a coal strike, and the eviction of an Ohio tenant from a housing rental.

    So pretty much, they say they take things that seem to have an immediacy. The thing is, not only does this affect everyone with a phone or Internet access, but it is affecting all of us right now. This is not a question over whether or not what the NSA was doing in the past violated the constitution, but that what they are doing right now violates the constitution. Thus providing an example that what they choose to allow to bypass the lower courts has nothing to do with importance, immediacy, or public interest, and everything to do with politics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @08:26PM (#46689751)

    no, they have the courage to do the right thing and allow the appellate court to rule. The only time a level of appeal should be skipped is when there are differing opinions extant at the many appellate courts.

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