The Supreme Court announced earlier today which cases they won’t be taking on this upcoming session. They have declined to take on the challenge to the NSA’s bulk collection of information about telephone calls. A lower court decided on this case earlier, but the Supreme Court has decided to pass on reviewing that ruling.
Lower courts have ruled differently, one saying that the NSA program is most likely unconstitutional and a New York District Court ruled to uphold the program. It is not entirely surprising that the court has decided to pass on this case because it hasn’t gone through the extensive appeals process so many other cases have. Lawyers were hoping the importance of the issue would be enough to get the judges to consider the case.
The decision not to take a look at this case comes up as Congress is now beginning to debate legislative ways to end the NSA program. There are various options on the table right now. The White House has suggested the option of keeping the records in the hands of private phone companies, only accessible by government agents in case of emergency. Another option is to do away with the program, but make it easier for agents to obtain the information from private companies.
If Congress does not authorize reforms to the program by next June there will be a disastrous outcome, according to intelligence officials. This is a major issue, which perhaps one day, will make it to the Supreme Court. But for now, Congress and an appeals system are waiting for this case.