Supreme Court Doesn't Want to Hear Warrantless Electronic Surveillance Case, And Obama is Glad


Wired has the bad news:

The Supreme Court closed a 6-year-old chapter Tuesday in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's bid to hold the nation's telecoms liable for allegedly providing the National Security Agency with backdoors to eavesdrop, without warrants, on Americans' electronic communications in violation of federal law.

The justices, without comment, declined to review a lower court's December decision (.pdf) dismissing the EFF's lawsuit challenging the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping program. At the center of the dispute was 2008 congressional legislation retroactively immunizing the telcos from being sued for cooperating with the government in a program President George W. Bush adopted shortly after the September 2001 terror attacks.

After Bush signed the legislation and invoked its authority in 2008, a San Francisco federal judge tossed the case, and the EFF appealed. Among other things, the EFF claimed the legislation, which granted the president the discretion to invoke immunity, was an illegal abuse of power.

That doesn't mean that the issues involved in the suit will never get their day in court:

…litigation on the surveillance program continues. After U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker tossed the case against the telcos, the EFF sued the government instead. Walker dismissed that case, too, ruling that it amounted to a "general grievance" from the public and not an actionable claim. But a federal appeals court reversed, and sent it down to a trial judge in December.

Judge Margaret McKeown, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the EFF's claims "are not abstract, generalized grievances and instead meet the constitutional standing requirement of concrete injury. Although there has been considerable debate and legislative activity surrounding the surveillance program, the claims do not raise a political question nor are they inappropriate for judicial resolution."

A hearing on that case is scheduled next month in San Francisco federal court.

Guess who wants this stuff squashed? President Transparency himself, that civil liberties hero Barack Obama. Wake the f*ck up, Obama fans….

The Obama administration is again seeking it to be tossed, claiming it threatens to expose state secrets and would be an affront to national security. When the state secrets doctrine is invoked, judges routinely dismiss cases amid fears of exposing national security secrets.

I wrote for the American Conservative back in 2010 on the government's endless power and appetite for electronic surveillance of we the people. Jacob Sullum wrote on Obama's record on warrantless electronic surveillance, and this EFF suit, in April 2009.

NEXT: Meet Michael Vagnini, the Milwaukee Cop Charged With Illegally Fingering Suspects' Rectums

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  1. Has anyone noticed the extremely conspicuous serial absence from all the Obama threads lately of all the TEAM BLUE fuckbags, sockpuppets, and joe? I WONDER WHY.


    1. It’s not just here. Various Facebook, uh, “connections” of mine have pretty much completely stopped posting how great Obama is since the debate. Which is unfortunate, because those posts were always good for the lulz.

    2. T o n y still hangs around. But he’s the only one I usually see anyway.

      We do have some occasional new ones, but they never last.

      Here’s a choice comment from Suderman’s latest article:

      dbmd| 10.9.12 @ 7:58PM |#

      reason. FREE MINDS AND FREE MARKETS… AND FREE BS. WTF? I’d like to leave some constructive criticism but it’s hard to constructively criticize crap. Washington Times, NYDP level of reasoning. Have fun with the rest of your career as a right wing blogophite. I hear is looking for some conspiracy theory writers. And yes, this is the civil version.

      I find this especially amusing in light of the fact that our more right-leaning commenters think Suderman’s piece was too soft on Obama.

      1. Tony is a sockpuppet, whose sole purpose is to get people to argue pointlessly with it, so whoever is behind it may or may not be an actual Obama supporter, and even it is mostly absent. That’s how terrible Obama is. When fake personalities on the internet have trouble arguing for you, you suck. Bad.

        God damn, that debate was a wonderful thing. Let’s hope the next one is too.

        1. Naw, I’d rather Obama won this one, overwhelmingly, and then after that, lost the next, even worse than he did the first. Then, after that, a dead girl/live boy situation would materialize for one side or the other, or preferably, for both.

          1. (hmm…not sure why I took it as you wanting a repeat of the first debate, since you didn’t indicate that)

  2. Barack is an attorney. The EFF are attorneys. The judges and justices are attorneys. It’s attorneys all the way down, and I don’t like it.

    1. Well go to law school then. OH WAIT….

    2. You might enjoy the previous ass raping thread.

      1. You’re gonna have to be a little more specific.

  3. I am looking forward to the day when we will informally “hold court”. I would enjoy being Obama’s “defender”.

    1. “Your honor, the defense can be summed up in two words. Sovereign. Immunity.”

  4. Checks and Balances have been replaced with Rubber Stamps.

    1. “It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of decreeing accordingly.”

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