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Supreme Court Won't Review Bush Spying Case

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THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - February 21, 2008
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Supreme Court Won't Review Bush Domestic Spying Case
By James Vicini
Reuters

Washington - The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down a 
legal challenge to the warrantless domestic spying program 
President George W. Bush created after the September 11 
attacks. 

The American Civil Liberties Union had asked the justices 
to hear the case after a lower court ruled the ACLU, other 
groups and individuals that sued the government had no 
legal right to do so because they could not prove they had 
been affected by the program. 

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The civil liberties group also asked the nation's highest 
court to make clear that Bush does not have the power 
under the U.S. Constitution to engage in intelligence 
surveillance within the United States that Congress has 
expressly prohibited. 

"The president is bound by the laws that Congress enacts. 
He may disagree with those laws, but he may not disobey 
them," Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National 
Security Project, said in the appeal. 

Bush authorized the program to monitor international phone 
calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens without first obtaining 
a court warrant. The program's disclosure in December 2005 
caused a political uproar among Democrats, some Republicans 
and civil liberties activists. 

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The administration abandoned the program about a year ago, 
putting it under the surveillance court that Congress 
created more than 30 years ago. 

The high court's action means that Bush will be able to 
disregard whatever legislative eavesdropping restrictions 
Congress adopts as there will be no meaningful judicial 
review, the ACLU attorneys said. 

The journalists, scholars, attorneys and national advocacy 
groups that filed the lawsuit said the illegal surveillance 
had disrupted their ability to communicate with sources and 
clients. 

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The appeals court based in Cincinnati dismissed the case 
because the plaintiffs could not state with certainty they 
had been wiretapped by the government's National Security 
Agency. 

Administration lawyers opposed the appeal and said further 
review by the Supreme Court was unwarranted. 

The Supreme Court sided with the administration and 
rejected the appeal without any comment. 

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Reporting by James Vicini, editing by Lori Santos.

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