I don’t often agree with the aims of the ACLU, but I think that filing a suit against the Bush administration’s use of "unapproved", to put it gently, wiretapping was a good thing. Today the U.S. Supreme Court declined the opportunity to hear the case.
Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU:
“Although we are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s refusal to review this case, 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.”
Short-term it’s irritating that the SCOTUS dodged this case. It’s my opinion that warrantless (illegal, in most people’s definition of the word) wiretapping has gone too far and that the government needs to redraw its boundaries as relates to unsupervised access to citizens’ private conversations in all forms. The SCOTUS could have clarified matters significantly by hearing the case.
But there is benefit to pushing the matter back to Congress, the body that has failed to act to rein in the Bush administration’s excesses in this area. Democratic leaders should abandon the farce over whether telecom companies will get amnesty for their post 9/11 acts – they should and will, in the end – and concentrate on making sure that some semblance of due process and judicial review is put in place to control the government’s access to private information.