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Supreme Court Justices Decline Request to Rule on NSA Data Collection

by Thomas A. Hawk, published

On Monday, April 7, the Supreme Court declined a request for a ruling on the constitutionality of the NSA's data collection program. As a result, the case will go through the Appeals Court as it was initially scheduled to.

The high court's decision not to rule on the issue now does not necessarily mean it will not take up the case after it has been ruled on by the lower appeals court. It is also not uncommon for the Supreme Court to do this as the justices usually wait on an appeals court to rule on a case before they do.

The plaintiffs in the case, Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, went directly to the Supreme Court after a December decision by District Judge Richard Leon stated that the NSA's data collection program was likely unconstitutional. The plaintiffs believe the issue is such a pressing concern to the public that the Supreme Court should take up the case immediately.

The justices disagree.

President Obama has proposed reforms to NSA data collection and surveillance programs, but said the current programs will stay in place until Congress passes reform measures into law. In other words, the NSA programs will continue until the Supreme Court rules on them, because leaving anything up to this Congress is like tossing a snowball into a volcano. The snowball may actually have a better chance.

Both defenders and opponents of the NSA believe they have a strong case before the Supreme Court, though with the court's more recent history with civil rights cases, opponents may prefer the issue to move through the normal appeals process and hope for a favorable ruling from the Appeals Court.

Photo Credit: AFP

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