Justices Reject Challenge to N.S.A. Program

Monday, November 18, 2013
By Paul Martin

By ADAM LIPTAK
NYTimes.com
November 18, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday turned away an unusual challenge to a National Security Agency surveillance program.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed the challenge directly with the Supreme Court, arguing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had “exceeded its statutory jurisdiction when it ordered production of millions of domestic telephone records that cannot plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation.”

The justices gave no reason for rejecting the group’s petition, but the unusual procedure of bypassing the lower courts probably played a role. Other, more conventional challenges to government surveillance programs are pending.

In urging the justices not to hear the case, the federal government said “the proper way” to challenge the surveillance “is to file an action in Federal District Court to enjoin the program, as other parties have done.” It cautioned, though, that “the government may assert certain threshold defenses to such a suit.” The case is In re Electronic Privacy Information Center, No. 13-58.

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