ACLU Rips Supreme Court Decision on Warrantless Surveillance

High Court Decides Not to Review Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ July Decision to Vacate Lower-Court Finding
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The American Civil Liberties Union was critical Tuesday of the Supreme Court's decision not to review its challenge to the Bush administration’s warrantless-surveillance program.

The ACLU had brought the challenge on behalf of numerous parties, including journalists, whom the ACLU said complained that the wiretap program -- defended by the administration as necessary in the war on terror -- has made it more difficult to communicate with sources concerned that the government might be a third party to their conversations.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last July vacated a lower-court finding that the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program -- a program that monitors phone calls inside the United States from parties outside of the country -- was illegal.

“Although we are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s refusal to review this case," ACLU legal director Steven Shapiro said, "it is worth noting that today’s action says nothing about the case’s merits and does not suggest in any way an endorsement of the lower court’s decision. The court’s unwillingness to act makes it even more important that Congress insist on legislative safeguards that will protect civil liberties without jeopardizing national security.”