Judge Rules NSA Surveillance Legal, Setting Stage for Supreme Court Battle

Court Had Previously Declined Involvement

In mid-November, the US Supreme Court refused outright to issue any ruling on NSA surveillance, apparently taking the Obama Administration’s argument to leave it to lower courts to heart. They’re not getting out of it though, and the issue seems to be rushing back to them faster than anyone expected.

That’s because two weeks have seen two judges issue entirely contradictory rulings on NSA metadata surveillance, with the first, Judge Leon, saying it was almost certainly unconstitutional, and today Judge Pauley in New York declaring it perfectly legal.

Pauley’s argument centered entirely around 9/11, saying that the Fourth Amendment protection depends on the question of “reasonableness,” and by his reckoning it was entirely reasonable because 9/11.

The Pauley argument ignores entirely the Obama Administration’s own review panel saying the scheme has accomplished nothing and should be reformed, and the ACLU has promised to appeal.

That appeal could bounce around in lower appellate courts for awhile, but sooner or later, the Supreme Court is going to be facing the issue directly, and given the high-profile nature of the controversy it is probably going to be “sooner.”

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.