Supreme Court Rules No Challenges to FISA

Surveillance law, wiretaps stand, 5-4
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2013 11:30 AM CST
Supreme Court Rules No Challenges to FISA
You can't challenge the government's right to eavesdrop on your calls.   (Shutterstock)

Is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the warrantless wiretapping of US citizens it allows for, constitutional? We may never know, because the Supreme Court just ruled that the law can't be challenged in federal court. In a 5-4 decision, the court today agreed to a government request to throw out a lawsuit filed by lawyers, journalists, and other organizations who had argued that people who suspected they'd been targeted by wiretaps should be able to challenge the law, the AP reports.

But the court's conservative majority sided with the government, which said they couldn't sue unless they could prove they had been monitored—despite detractor complaints that such a standard creates a Catch-22, CNN reports. Plaintiffs "cannot demonstrate that the future injury they purportedly fear is certainly impending," Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion, arguing that there were enough legal safeguards on the program, and pointing out that, if the government used the surveillance information to prosecute anyone, they'd have to disclose it. (Read more Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act stories.)

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