The fight to get the judicial system to rule on the constitutionality of the NSA metadata surveillance program continues today, after the Supreme Court announced it is refusing without comment to take up the case now.
The move isn’t surprising, as it is unusual for the Supreme Court to allow escalations straight from district courts without letting the US Court of Appeals have a go at it first.
The Larry Klayman case is the furthest along of the various cases against the surveillance, and got the December ruling that the program was almost certainly unconstitutional.
The judge did nothing to end the program, however, and the case is likely to flounder for months if not years before it gets back to the Supreme Court through the direct route.
With the current legal justification for the surveillance centering on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which is scheduled to expire on June 1, 2015, it seems increasingly likely that the case as such may never find the Supreme Court at all, and will just die on the vine, barring officials trying to rejustify the scheme on some new basis.
The refusal to hear the case is a victory for the Justice Department’s efforts to keep the scandal out of the courts, arguing the lower courts don’t have jurisdiction and the higher courts shouldn’t touch it so soon. The Justice Department didn’t submit any argument at all this time, assuming they’d win.