Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lawyers For The One Case Where There's Proof Of Warrantless Wiretapping Decide Not To Appeal To Supreme Court | Techdirt

Lawyers For The One Case Where There's Proof Of Warrantless Wiretapping Decide Not To Appeal To Supreme Court

from the sad dept

We've covered the various twists and turns of the Al-Haramain case against the US government for a while. If you don't recall, click that link for some background. The short version is that this is the one and only case where someone has evidence of being a victim of a warrantless wiretap, and that's only because the government screwed up and revealed the evidence by accident. Other attempts to challenge the legality of warrantless wiretapping had all failed, because no one could show "standing" that they'd actually been harmed by the policy. But with the Al-Haramain case, with evidence in hand, and some initial wins, eventually the appeals court shot down the case, saying that the government could just claim sovereign immunity and get out of any lawsuit. In other words, the court gave the federal government free reign to do whatever the hell it wants in violation of the 4th Amendment, and even if it's revealed, gave them a massive get out of jail free card. I'm sure that won't be abused at all...

Now, the lawyers representing Al-Haramain have decided that they will not appeal the case to the Supreme Court, on the belief that the "current composition" of the court works against them. In other words, they believe that the current Justices on the court would side with the appeals court in rejecting their case, and then that would be precedent across the country (unless Congress changed the law, which it's unlikely to do). The "hope" then is that somehow, down the road, someone else somehow gets evidence that they, too, were spied upon without a warrant, and it happens in a different district, and (hopefully) that circuit's appeals court rules differently, setting up a circuit split. Oh, and that by the time that happens, the "composition" of the court shifts enough that the court actually respects the 4th Amendment. In other words: none of this is likely. Instead, the feds retain their ability to spy on people without warrants in direct violation of the 4th Amendment.

In other words, bye-bye 4th Amendment. It was nice knowing you.

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