US Supreme Court rejects NSA privacy petition

Without comment, the Supreme Court denied a petition for an order to stop the NSA's telephone records collection program.

The US Supreme Court today denied a motion by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) for a court order against the National Security Agency (NSA)'s blanket collection of telephone records.

According to the New York Times, while the Court gave no reasons for the rejection, the reason was likely procedural: In its response to the EPIC petition, the government had argued that the petition did not meet the requirements for a writ of mandamus, and that the proper procedure for EPIC would be "...to file an action in federal district court, as other parties have done."

The EPIC petition asks, alternatively, for "a Writ of Certiorari, to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court." Today's Supreme Court order denied the writ of mandamus, but did not list this case in the Court's list of denials of Certiorari. Whether this means there is still a live issue is unclear, but the government had argued in its pleading both that the Supreme Court lacked authority to grant Certiorari under the circumstances presented by EPIC and that EPIC lacked standing seek review before the proper court, i.e. the FISA Court of Review.

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