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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear EPIC Challenge To NSA Surveillance

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the we're-not-listening-to-you dept.

Privacy 227

Trailrunner7 writes "The challenge to the NSA's domestic surveillance program filed with the Supreme Court by the Electronic Privacy Information Center ended Monday, with the court refusing to consider the challenge at all. EPIC had filed the challenge directly with the Supreme Court rather than going through the lower courts. EPIC, a non-profit organization involved in privacy policy matters, had asked the court to vacate an order from a judge in the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court that had enabled the NSA's collection of hundreds of millions of Verizon call records under the so-called metadata collection program. The challenge hinged on the idea that the FISC had gone outside of its authority in granting the order."

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227 comments

It's never enough... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45456901)

It just wasn't EPIC enough I guess.

EPIC fail (5, Funny)

sunsurfandsand (1959680) | about 8 months ago | (#45456905)

I hate it when that happens.

Calling China right now (4, Insightful)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#45456909)

Sounds like we're going to need a reliable supplier of pitchforks soon.

Re:Calling China right now (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45456983)

No, what's needed is a source of sound legal advice and strategy. EPIC's strategy was fatally flawed from the beginning. Their failure should have been easily foreseen by just about anyone with a more than passing familiarity with the US legal system. It was a self-frag.

Re:Calling China right now (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#45457063)

Since SCOTUS previously denied standing to people because they couldn't prove they had been spied upon, and the Govt is likely to keep asserting State Secrets Privilege, I'm still waiting to hear how the stolen Snowden stuff is going to be enough to get anything else than -at best- a 5-4 rejection.
It's only metadata, those silly Framers forgot to put it as something worth protecting.

Re:Calling China right now (4, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 8 months ago | (#45457191)

I hate to say it, but you're right. The judicial branch of government runs on precedent and tradition, unless and until it is convenient for them to counter precedent and tradition.

IANAL, but I'm not aware of any cases being taken directly to the Supreme Court like Epic tried to do. Everything runs through the lower courts, even if the Supreme Court is the intended goal.

Re:Calling China right now (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 8 months ago | (#45457737)

IANAL either, nor even an American. But for some reason I figured this quote

The challenge hinged on the idea that the FISC had gone outside of its authority in granting the order.

explains why they went (had to go?) straight to SCOTUS because the special nature, ahem, of the foreign intelligence court places it sort of outside the conventional framework of appeals and so on. Where do you suggest they might otherwise have started?

Re:Calling China right now (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457991)

Bush v. Gore

'nuff said.

AC

Re:Calling China right now (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457233)

No, what's needed is a source of sound legal advice and strategy. EPIC's strategy was fatally flawed from the beginning. Their failure should have been easily foreseen by just about anyone with a more than passing familiarity with the US legal system. It was a self-frag.

Uh, I hate to be the one to point out the fucking obvious here, but a "passing familiarity" with the law would be called the Constitution, and more specifically, the Fourth Amendment within that protects every citizen from such bullshit.

Ironically, any child who has had more than an hours worth of American Civics or History class could tell you that.

Try not to paint over the most obvious violations going on here when speaking of how simplistic this approach is or should be next time. It seems that there are many who want to avoid the fucking obvious.

Re:Calling China right now (1, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#45457495)

Oh please, give it up. You've right, any child who's taken a decent civics class would know about the 4A, however the facts that the government has spent billions on spying apparatus and infrastructure, there's a whole federal agency dedicated to violating the 4A, the Executive branch has been complicit in it at all levels with both Republican and Democrat presidents, there's secret courts to rubberstamp all this activity, and Congress refuses to outlaw it, all shows that appealing to the Constitution and the rule of law is pointless. The law is whatever the government and the judiciary says it is, and they've said this stuff is perfectly legal, despite what your (and everyone else not in the government) interpretation of the 4A may say.

The idea that the government is bound by the Constitution and the BoR at this point is just silly.

Re:Calling China right now (1)

SighKoPath (956085) | about 8 months ago | (#45457511)

Not with the law. With the legal system. Cases that get to the Supreme Court go through the lower courts first.

Re:Calling China right now (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45457691)

Uh, I hate to be the one to point out the fucking obvious here, but a "passing familiarity" with the law would be called the Constitution, and more specifically, the Fourth Amendment within that protects every citizen from such bullshit.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Which part of that Amendment specifically mentions the "bullshit" that we're talking about in this discussion?

The framers of the Constitution knew that they could not encompass every conceivable possibility into the document, or into those amendments that were later added. That's why we have courts, who interpret the document, and decide as best they can how to apply it to the issue before them.

So, you have the right to be secure in your "papers", and said right is protected by the 4th Amendment. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not your papers include metadata stored on Verizon's system? That's a question for the courts, since it's obviously beyond the scope of the Constitution, and when that question has been asked in the past (the relevant precedent involves pen registers) the Courts have been fairly consistent in saying that you forfeited the expectation of privacy when you shared information with a third party, i.e., the phone company.

Now, one may argue that precedent was decided incorrectly and should be reversed. What one can't do (well you can, it's just unproductive) is scream about the 4th Amendment without any in-depth discussion of how that Amendment is interpreted by the courts, how we apply it to modern times with technologies that were unheard of when it was written, and how the case law as evolved over the years as those technologies have been developed.

Re:Calling China right now (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 8 months ago | (#45457631)

Sounds like we're going to need a reliable supplier of pitchforks soon.

Well, they've got pitchchopsticks over there I guess. But that'll do just fine, once you get the hang of it.

No surprise (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45456925)

EPIC tried to jump the line - they didn't follow the proper appeals process. That is highly frowned upon by the legal system and rarely succeeds. No surprise in this outcome. And nobody should read anything into it either way. One of the existing or future challenges may succeed as it works its way through the court system.

Re:No surprise (4, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 8 months ago | (#45456955)

Also: Congress is working on this issue. The Supreme Court really doesn't like to step on the toes of the other two parts of the government if it doesn't have to. Looking at the activity on this issue, it's likely they won't have to.

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 8 months ago | (#45457183)

Congress is working on what exactly? Amending the Constitution? That's what it would take to make any of this generalized warrantless surveillance legal.

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 8 months ago | (#45457435)

I thought it was obvious, but the majority of congress critters were unaware of how pervasive NSA spying is. A number of them were shocked to learn how powerful NSA has grown. It's not even really clear that the committee members responsible for national security understood.

Some of those shocked congress critters are, indeed, exploring avenues to reign in the intel communities. Ineffectively exploring, for sure, but they are doing what their feeble little minds are capable of.

But, there is a danger here, that we should all be aware of. Any congress critter who makes to much noise may be targeted by the NSA, and quietly blackmailed to shut the hell up. I really don't think the Secret Service can protect a congress person from the NSA and the rest of the intel apparatus. There is really no telling what has happened behind the scenes. Does kristallnacht ring any bells?

Re:No surprise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457589)

exploring avenues to reign in the intel communities

Now if we could only get Slashcode to automatically rein in this horrid abuse of the homonym that occurs here with astonishing regularity.

Re:No surprise (3, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | about 8 months ago | (#45457759)

There is really no telling what has happened behind the scenes. Does kristallnacht ring any bells?

If you're referring to the murder of anti-Nazis within the German government, I believe you're thinking of the Night of the Long Knives [wikipedia.org] , not Kristallnacht. Kristallnacht was a series of very public anti-Jewish riots.

Re:No surprise (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 8 months ago | (#45458011)

Kristalnacht lasted for only a couple days, according to the wikipedia, and that incident led to the night of the long knives. For my purpose, that of warning against a possible coup, the two incidents can be rolled together into one larger incident. Ultimately, they led to the state rounding up and killing potential adversaries, and solidifying the government's position as supreme rulers over the people.

Re:No surprise (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 8 months ago | (#45457911)

I thought it was obvious, but the majority of congress critters were unaware of how pervasive NSA spying is. A number of them were shocked to learn how powerful NSA has grown. It's not even really clear that the committee members responsible for national security understood.

I have no idea is they understood or not. Certainly what they say publicly doesn't mean anything either way.

Some of those shocked congress critters are, indeed, exploring avenues to reign in the intel communities. Ineffectively exploring, for sure, but they are doing what their feeble little minds are capable of.

If I am not mistaken though, their feeble little minds are mostly coming up with proposals to further delegitimize and undermine the whistleblower stature as safeguard against criminal overreach. It'd be uplifting to learn about more constructive legislation, however; have any links?

But, there is a danger here, that we should all be aware of. Any congress critter who makes to much noise may be targeted by the NSA, and quietly blackmailed to shut the hell up. I really don't think the Secret Service can protect a congress person from the NSA and the rest of the intel apparatus. There is really no telling what has happened behind the scenes. Does kristallnacht ring any bells?

Might want to look that last one up before you throw it around on the Interwebs. I get the police state vibe, but this comparison is just so inaccurate it does your argument no favours IMHO.

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#45457835)

Congress is working on what exactly?

Fucking things up. What else?

Re:No surprise (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | about 8 months ago | (#45457941)

Re-Election...

Re:No surprise (5, Funny)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 8 months ago | (#45457337)

Also: Congress is working on this issue.

That's good to hear. I was afraid the issue may otherwise be left to a group of incompetent, self-serving asshats.

Re:No surprise (2)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 8 months ago | (#45457795)

Also: Congress is working on this issue.

That's good to hear. I was afraid the issue may otherwise be left to a group of incompetent, self-serving asshats.

Those two statements, of course, are not mutually exclusive. ;)

Re:No surprise (2)

houghi (78078) | about 8 months ago | (#45457475)

The Supreme Court really doesn't like to step on the toes of the other two parts of the government if it doesn't have to.

That sound like a problem to me. That means they are not independent, where I would think that they should not look at anybody else, but instead follow their own independent way that might agree with the other two, or might be the complete opposite of them.

If not, why have multiple parts?

Re:No surprise (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 8 months ago | (#45457765)

The Supreme Court is more of a check than an active force - but it is a very powerful check. History has shown that if they act without caution, they can easily make things worse than they were before. (See, for instance, Dred Scott v. Sandford, one of the causes of the Civil War...)

They are willing to step on toes if they need to - lots of cases, recent and historic show that. But they prefer to avoid doing so unless they need to, because it can cause problems. If the other two parts of the government are working on an issue, it's generally better to let them work it out - there will be more voices heard, and it's easier to adjust and make changes.

Basically, they are respecting that the other parts exist for a purpose, and attempt to let them fulfill that purpose. The Supreme Court's job is to step in when the other two parts fail - and it's not clear that they have failed here yet.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457609)

Also: Congress is working on this issue..

OK you can stop right there. I already know you are making this up. We all know congress doesn't work.

Re:No surprise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457703)

The Supreme Court really doesn't like to step on the toes of the other two parts of the government if it doesn't have to.

Then they need to be replaced with some judges with a backbone that understand that stepping on the toes of the other two branches is PART OF THEIR FUCKING JOB.

Where is the proper place to start? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457081)

Where is the proper place to start the appeals process?

Re:Where is the proper place to start? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45457145)

After you lose your first court case. They didn't bother with that.

Re:Where is the proper place to start? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457409)

And how do you appeal an order from a court that doesn't exist?

Re:No surprise (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 8 months ago | (#45457095)

Okay okay, sure it doesn't appeal to the whole process.

But we are talking about something that seems, to me, like it would end up in the Supreme Court anyway. If true, why spend a bunch of time and money just stalling the inevitable.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457159)

But we are talking about something that seems, to me, like it would end up in the Supreme Court anyway. If true, why spend a bunch of time and money just stalling the inevitable.

because the Supreme Court doesn't decide cases in a vacuum. It reviews the all of the work that the appeals process generates. It's not run like a crappy help desk where you need to start over every time your issue escalates.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457469)

because the Supreme Court doesn't decide cases in a vacuum

Which is why they should use their brains. I realize that this is how our system was set up, but damn is it inefficient, ineffective, and completely corrupt...

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45457219)

Because the lower court cases establish the facts and legal questions at hand. They establish a record for the appeals courts to consider. It gives a change for more legal minds to consider it and provide input to the system. It also allows cases in multiple jurisdictions to more fully develop the issue. It also gives an opportunity for the political system to correct the problems - if there is one, without the court having to act. The case may resolve itself for various reasons.

The thing to remember is that when the Supreme Court decides an issue, it is decided, for better or worse. You may not like the outcome, and the resulting precedent. That is why advocacy groups tend to pick their cases for appeal carefully, as well as their arguments. EPIC was reckless.

Which is funny (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 8 months ago | (#45457101)

>>> EPIC tried to jump the line - they didn't follow the proper appeals process. That is highly frowned upon by the legal system and rarely succeeds.

Isn't the NSA and secret courts circumventing the constitution and these people swore an oath to the protect the constitution So the regime can do what it wants but the people must jump through hoops.

Re:Which is funny (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 8 months ago | (#45457237)

Yes - you're right. The intel community is indeed trashing the constitution. But - if we are going to defend the constitution, then we need to do it in a constitutional manner. File suit, and win - OR, file suit, be defeated, appeal, be defeated again, appeal again, THEN argue your case in front of the Supremes.

Hey, I don't really like it. It's time consuming, and wasteful, as you suggest. The only other way to put the NSA in it's place, is to have congress just pass some laws defining what is legal, and start defunding the illegal activities.

The remaining alternative is wasteful in terms of human life, as well as money and material. Revolutions can be like that.

Re:Which is funny (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457907)

The only other way to put the NSA in it's place, is to have congress just pass some laws defining what is legal, and start defunding the illegal activities.

AND ARREST THOSE THAT PARTICIPATE/PARTICIPATED IN THE ILLEGAL ACTIVITES!!

Jesus, have people become so accustomed to the fact that everyone "important" breaking the law can get away scot free that they don't even consider it to be a solution any more?

Re:No surprise (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#45457111)

From their petition:

15
The FISC and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ("Court of Review") only
have jurisdiction to hear petitions by the Government
or recipient of the FISC Order, and neither party to
the order represents EPIC's interests. Other federal
courts have no jurisdiction over the FISC, and thus
cannot grant the relief that EPIC seeks.

The only people that can appeal the order are the Feds and the people that the feds are ordering around.
EPIC, despite having their metadata vacuumed up, have no standing under the law to appeal to the FISA court.

It's easy for you and others to say "[Epic] didn't follow the proper appeals process"
but AFAIK none of you have actually elucidated what the proper appeals process is under the law.

EPIC has, with citations, laid out their case, starting on Page 14 [epic.org] (PDF)
"Nuh uh" isn't an insightful or interesting rebuttal.

Re:No surprise (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45457403)

"Nuh uh" isn't an insightful or interesting rebuttal.

It is when the Supreme Court of the United States does it. Only takes four Justices to grant a writ of certiorari. They couldn't even meet that threshold, which should tell you all you need to know about their chances if they had managed to get the case heard. It was either declined for procedural reasons (improper venue most likely, SCOTUS doesn't have original jurisdiction here, lack of standing is also possible) or because the Justices are mostly in agreement about the issue at hand. If the latter you should be glad they handled it the way they did, I don't think anyone wants to see a 6-3, 7-2, 8-1, or 9-0 ruling affirming these behaviors.

Re:No surprise (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457779)

I don't think anyone wants to see a 6-3, 7-2, 8-1, or 9-0 ruling affirming these behaviors.

Why not? It would affirm that the Supreme Court has no intention of upholding the Constitution, if the Obamacare debacle wasn't enough.

Re:No surprise (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45457123)

Exactly. They declined to grant a writ of certiorari. This is not the same thing as an endorsement of FISA. SCOTUS hears less than 2% of all cases that come before it. EPIC will have to go through the Circuit Courts first, and even then isn't assured of going before SCOTUS, unless the Circuits commit reversible error (rare) or issue contradictory rulings (usually ensures SCOTUS review).

Re:No surprise (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 8 months ago | (#45457281)

So, does jumping the line mean they get disqualified from the race altogether or do they just have to get back on course and appeal properly?

Re:No surprise (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45457341)

They aren't disqualified, but If they want to pursue the case they will have to start it just like everybody else at the lower court level.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457455)

You forget one tiny fact, albeit this is the most important fact. No court other then the Supreme Court can overrule a FISA request. So where prey tell should EPIC appeal to? The FISA court itself? They will throw it out and never even acknowledge it. So then it will be appealed to the Supreme Court anyway, right back where it started.

Re:No surprise (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#45457463)

but If they want to pursue the case they will have to start it just like everybody else at the lower court level

And what court would that be? It appears EPIC's argument is that there is no such court.

Re:No surprise (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#45457879)

If it's one thing that lawyers are good at, it is coming up with more arguments.

In fact, they are rather professionally disposed to do so.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457297)

EPIC tried to jump the line - they didn't follow the proper appeals process. That is highly frowned upon by the legal system and rarely succeeds. No surprise in this outcome. And nobody should read anything into it either way. One of the existing or future challenges may succeed as it works its way through the court system.

I'm sorry, I wasn't aware of specific policy that allowed Governments to ignore the shit out of their own founding documents or Amendments that exist to protect its citizens from this very abuse.

Please let me know the proper appeals process that would un-fuck our Constitution that somehow isn't frowned upon, because I can promise you that whatever the hell you have in mind likely ain't it.

Re:No surprise (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#45457521)

I'm sorry, I wasn't aware of specific policy that allowed Governments to ignore the shit out of their own founding documents or Amendments that exist to protect its citizens from this very abuse.

They don't need a specific policy, they can just do it, like they've been doing for many years now.
What are you (or anyone else) going to do about it? Vote for the other party? The American public has been doing that for decades, and it hasn't changed anything.

Re:No surprise (3, Insightful)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 8 months ago | (#45457603)

I'm sure we will have done away with that pesky constitution before this issue makes it through the proper channels.

Re:No surprise (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#45457695)

OR... the NSA has their phones tapped (Actually that's a given fact at this point) and has all sorts of dirt on them.

The problem is, this activity is so heinous, so contemptible, it threatens the very foundations that this country was built on. The fact that every branch of government isn't jumping all over this is highly suspicious to me. The NSA could be in the midst of a silent Coup d'état at the moment and none of us would know. That's how much power they wield. They could blackmail every member of government, every military leader, we'd have no idea. We cannot allow this to stand. It must stop immediately. It's sad that the supreme court values procedure over the constitution. It's like their house is on fire and they refuse to use the fire-extinguisher because the proper paperwork hadn't been filed.

See, you really are Serfs (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45456933)

Citizens have rights.

Re:See, you really are Serfs (3, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45457021)

If you are still in college I recommend you take a course or two in the functioning of the judicial system. This was an easily predictable failure. You don't make your first filing with the US Supreme Court for just about any case an ordinary citizen could bring.

Even citizens with rights have to follow procedure.

Re:See, you really are Serfs (4, Insightful)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 8 months ago | (#45457325)

"Even citizens with rights have to follow procedure."

So what you're saying is in order to remove all our rights all the government has to do is make the procedures difficult and esoteric enough that no one could follow them? I hate to bring up Kafka in situations like this but this seems a bit too like something out of Kafka.

Re:See, you really are Serfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457723)

Pretty much any lawyer would have told you that you don't take your case directly to the supreme court, so no, this isn't about making procedures "difficult and esoteric".

Re:See, you really are Serfs (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45457367)

That's what they said in Nazi Germany.

"I vas just following orders".

Re:See, you really are Serfs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457857)

You do realize that NO ONE takes you seriously here anymore, it is obvious you are biased in your opinions, and frankly your comments sound like some sort of astroturfing.

Re:See, you really are Serfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457895)

Citizens have rights.

You, however, look like you may be an Enemy Combatant.

Re:See, you really are Serfs (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45457935)

Citizens have rights.

You, however, look like you may be an Enemy Combatant.

Doubt it. I served. You swerved.

Seven years, bub.

Re:See, you really are Serfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45458015)

Former military? That means this administration considers you to be a potential terrorist. O bam a!

How can we exonerate Obama? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457015)

Nothing bad that happens can ever be The Greatest Lightbringer of Hopenchange's fault, now can it?

Proper Procedure (3, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 8 months ago | (#45457017)

EPIC had filed the challenge directly with the Supreme Court rather than going through the lower courts.

This is the issue. The Supremes like you to work your way up through the lower courts as it is the proper procedure. If they accepted even a fraction of cases that didn't work the system the way it was designed, they would have a HUGE case load that could have been solved at a lower level.

EPIC will whine about this, but they should have been able to predict the outcome.

Re:Proper Procedure (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#45457181)

A "solution" that is found in a lower court does not apply everywhere in the country.

If the Ninth Circuit found the NSA wiretapping to be unconstitutional, it would only be unconstitutional in the Ninth Circuit.

EPIC was hoping that the SCOTUS would see this as such an immediate, emergent issue that is imperative to be equal throughout the land, that they would hear it.

EPIC was wrong, apparently.

Re:Proper Procedure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457247)

Is that true? Because it doesn't sound true.

Re:Proper Procedure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457761)

It's true but incomplete. A ruling in one circuit is not binding on another, but it is likely to be influential, and I think a district court in another circuit would tend to follow it until there's an outright circuit split.

The good news is, in the event of a circuit split, the Supremes are more likely to take on a case so they can resolve the split.

Re:Proper Procedure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457303)

You are clearly a moron with no understanding of the Federal Court system, and how it works. Please go back to masturbating to anime tentacle porn and consider growing a neck bear if you haven't already.

Re:Proper Procedure (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about 8 months ago | (#45457873)

I actually believe that the supreme court was wrong to deny the writ.

It will end up there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457235)

One way or another, this will end up in the SCOTUS.

Re:Proper Procedure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457391)

EPIC had filed the challenge directly with the Supreme Court rather than going through the lower courts.

This is the issue. The Supremes like you to work your way up through the lower courts as it is the proper procedure. If they accepted even a fraction of cases that didn't work the system the way it was designed, they would have a HUGE case load that could have been solved at a lower level.

EPIC will whine about this, but they should have been able to predict the outcome.

Bullshit.

This is not the time to fuck around with lower-end courts that absolutely will have no right or say in this particular matter.

All of the courts know well there is only one entity who is responsible for answering this. It's a bullshit stall tactic at this point, and hardly one that needs to succumb to "proper procedure", especially when violations are this egregious.

SCOTUS needs to get off their fucking ass and do their job.

Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (2, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 8 months ago | (#45457023)

God forbid SCOTUS make a decision that in any way matters, challenges the status quo in any way, or requires them to work late. Unless they're doing something to benefit the powerful corporations [wikipedia.org] , best to just ignore the issue altogether and hope the lower courts aren't so lazy.

Re:Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45457137)

That "Citizens United" axe must be getting awfully sharp, people keep grinding on it over just about any excuse or topic.

Re: Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457279)

And rightfully so. Listening and seeing hoe eadily people are swayed by the billionaire controlled media, .... I am just pissed that I am not part of the Wolf pack! I am stuck here with the sheep and I cannot get out!

Re: Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457465)

Listening and seeing hoe eadily people are swayed by the billionaire controlled media

Spoken like a Liberal who thinks we need to "protect" people from themselves, because gosh, we can't actually trust them to make up their own minds. They just might decide contrary to the way that we know is right, and then where would we be?

The "billionaire controlled media" can't compel the people to do anything, you remember that preschool rhyme about sticks and stones, right? The media is playing with words, not sticks, and the people are free to change the channel anytime they want. They do so quite frequently if the declining ratings for cable news are any indication....

Re: Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (2)

cffrost (885375) | about 8 months ago | (#45457819)

Listening and seeing hoe eadily people are swayed by the billionaire controlled media

Spoken like a Liberal who thinks we need to "protect" people from themselves, because gosh, we can't actually trust them to make up their own minds. They just might decide contrary to the way that we know is right, and then where would we be?

You're describing authoritarianism, not liberalism — and authoritarianism can come from both left ("no smoking!") or right ("no abortions!"); libertarianism is the opposition to authoritarians' liberty-crackdowns.

Re:Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (1, Insightful)

deanklear (2529024) | about 8 months ago | (#45457421)

According to a new report released Monday by the Sunlight Foundation, 78% of 2012 outside election spending can be attributed to the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which allows unregulated amounts of corporate and otherwise outside campaign donations.

Citizens United made it easier to buy important political offices in the United States. When you have a bought Congress, not much is solvable, because the elected paradoxically owe nothing to those who voted them in. We're nobody, but the people who dropped billions of dollars in the (D) or (R) buckets are somebody.

It's not a coincidence that we have money for bloated and failing trillion dollar defense contracts [gizmodo.com] and not a few billion to feed needy children. That's the predictable effect when the purpose of your government is something other than the welfare of its citizens.

Re:Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#45457527)

There was a simple solution here. Congress could have passed a similar law which didn't violate the US Constitution. They did their token bit to appear to reign in corruption and moved on.

Re:Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45457569)

Citizens United made it easier to buy important political offices in the United States.

I hate to break it to you, but Political Action Committees (PACs) were already allowed to accept limitless donations and to air their opinions whenever and wherever they wanted. All Citizens United did was remove the restraints on other corporations, which encompasses everything from Citizens United (the corporation that brought the suit) to the Sierra Club. Incumbent legislators hate this, because they were the ones who usually ran the PACs, and now they have to contend with speech they have no control over whatsoever.

Under the law that was struck down, it was prohibited for the Sierra Club to print fliers within 60 days of General Election that advocated for or against any of the candidates within that race. Do you seriously think such a prohibition is compatible with the concept of free speech? Grandma has free speech if she's printing the fliers at home but forfeits it when she teams up with like minded people under the guise of a corporation?

While you've got your thinking cap on, also consider the fact that the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, NBC News, New York Post, et. all, all have one thing in common: They're corporations.

Re:Yeah, making any real decision is HARD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457225)

If they would make decisions correctly in the first place, they would not have a heavy load. SCOTUS did not adequately scrutinize Obamacare when it was brought before the court. They did not address 1st, 9th ot 10th Amendment issues, or the Taxation without representation, or the fact that only forms of income can legally be taxed, yet they approved the tax on a non-sale.

If the courts do not stand behind the law, they do not have the weight of law.

Citizens United was decided correctly. (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45457339)

Unless they're doing something to benefit the powerful corporations [wikipedia.org]

You do realize that Citizens United [citizensunited.org] is a corporation that was created for the specific purpose of advancing political speech, right? It's no different than MoveOn.org, it was just a bunch of like-minded people that got together to advance something they believe in. The easiest way to band together in our political-legal system is to create a corporation. The NRA is a corporation. So is the Sierra Club. Labor Unions too, they're almost always incorporated. And let's not forget the press, the majority of which are for-profit corporations, like the Washington Post or New York Times.

People don't forfeit their free speech rights when they decide to band together for a common cause under the guise of a corporation. Citizens United v. FEC was a direct response to the FECs attempt to squelch the free speech of a group of citizens who wished to air opinions that were critical of someone standing for elective office. The freedom to air such opinions is the textbook definition of free speech and I can't fathom a reason why anyone would wish to silence such speech.

EPIC should have cried "state's rights" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457027)

This SCOTUS only intervenes if it helps a "Conservative"* cause, eg Bush V Gore.

* - capital c

Re:EPIC should have cried "state's rights" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457143)

Hallelujah! I must have imagined the whole Obamacare thing, then.

And the whole Gay Rights thing this summer too. Is that Bush's fault too?

Re:EPIC should have cried "state's rights" (2, Informative)

jcochran (309950) | about 8 months ago | (#45457195)

I have got to laugh at this level of ignorance. You just might want to review what happened during that time frame.

1. Election happened.
2. Democrats cried 'foul', there must be a recount.
3. Much legal wrangling and counting went on. A nice summary was
        Republicans - This has to go to the Supreme Court.
        Democrats - Nope, it's too early for the Supreme Count. We can handle it at a lower level.
4. Repeat step 3 until time is almost out.
5. The case finally gets to the Supreme Court.
6. Verdict boiled down to 'A new vote should have been done, however, there is no longer enough time for it so the current count stands'

Hmm... Seems to me that the Democrats shot themselves in the foot there during step 3. But then again, the policy that they had on recounts in generals for close elections was
a. Perform recount.
b. If recount not in their favor, go to step a.
c. If recount in their favor, no matter how small the margin is, then scream 'Stop! The recount is done! We won!'.

But in the case of Florida, their usual tactics failed. Too bad, so sad.

Re:EPIC should have cried "state's rights" (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#45457921)

IIRC, the "lower level" was a Republican governor and a Republican-stacked State Supreme Court.

EPIC: Fail - Lawyers: Win (3, Insightful)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 8 months ago | (#45457061)

That's indeed how it works, like a Bruce Lee movie: you start with the lowest ranked minion, then work your way up. Except you're not working, a very expensive team of lawyers is. Ka-ching, Ka-ching and Ka-ching. You don't get to jump to the End Boss without racking up a huge, huge legal bill.

Re:EPIC: Fail - Lawyers: Win (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 8 months ago | (#45457805)

I was going to say that it's kinda like the coins you gather along the way negated, but on second thought, it's more like the quarters you have to put into the arcade.

The SCOTUS usually becomes involved when the appellate opinions differ between districts. The system itself is designed to be slow and painstaking. The fact that lawyers get to charge a thousand dollars an hour to go through the system largely speaks to more a problem with how lawyers are valued and less the system.

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Re:Bitcoin over 600 USD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457131)

Why, yes, I'll buy some of your gold, Glenn!

There needs to be a better way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457109)

It's been apparent for a while now that there needs to be a way to get the supreme court to decide whether a law is actually constitutional or not, regardless of issues such as "standing." Far too often, there's either not enough evidence that a particular party was harmed (I guess infringing upon people's freedoms isn't good enough for them.), thanks to the fact that everything is done in secrecy, or it takes a ridiculously long period of time to get the court's attention.

It's getting very close to time to open up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457271)

...the last box.

All the other boxes are failing or have already failed.

FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457163)

They probably will not hear it because FISC is not valid. Asking them to vacate an order, gives aknowledgement to the FISC validity.

Instead, they should have challanged the validity of the organization itself.

Only have time for 1% of cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457171)

> How many cases are appealed to the Supreme Court each year and how many cases does the Court hear?
> The Court receives approximately 10,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari each year. The Court grants and hears oral argument in about 75-80 cases.

They only have time to hear less than 1% of the petitions. It is redicoulus to make a big deal out of one denial. Getting denied could be because of a lot of reasons:

* They are tying to skip lower courts.

* They might already be plan on hearing a case on a similar issue.

* They anticipate actions from Congress, so no need to deliberate on previous laws when they are about to change.

* This particular group might be representing a weak case. Maybe they don't have as much damages as other groups they could take or are pursuing a legal angle of the case without much merit.

* The particular case might not have broad enough ramifications to wasn't the court's time.

Re:Only have time for 1% of cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457263)

They only have time to hear less than 1% of the petitions.

Then I think they should probably make room for important issues such as... this. I think cases where nearly everyone's rights are being violated are a bit important, don't you? If the court had any balls, they'd see that.

Re: Only have time for 1% of cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457875)

Of course, but not taking this case in no way indicates the court is ignoring this issue. The courts have no reason to deliberate a case that Congress is currently looking to change the laws around.

Yeah (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 8 months ago | (#45457401)

Considering the Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed those judges (in direct violation of the Constitution) they're going to support their decisions.

Why not file in Texas? (2)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | about 8 months ago | (#45457423)

The whole "working your way through the courts" process can be radically shortened if you're willing to play the game. To wit:

1. File in Texas.
2. Claim less than $25 in damages.
3. Lose in small claims court.
4. Texas law provides ZERO appeals for cases this small, so
5. Go straight to the Supreme Court.

The SC has previously heard at least one notable case that got there through this mechanism.

Re:Why not file in Texas? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45457885)

A civil case filed under State Law is generally not something you can appeal past the highest court in that State, unless the case raises a question of Federal law, in which case it would have been easier to just file it in Federal Court to begin with. The courts of last resort in Texas are the Texas Supreme Court for civil matters and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for criminal ones.

In Soviet USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457547)

No one believes in fake courts. Orders come from dictators.
Viva new Soviet State -USA

Well, that's cleared it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45457571)

The Supreme Court is there to give definitive interpretations of the Constitution. Some time back they interpreted the 2nd Amendment to mean that individuals have an individual right to arm themselves. I would have disagreed, as would have many scholars. But that's water under the bridge now; the Supreme Court has spoken and their interpretation stands.

Now we are debating the meaning of the 4th Amendment, and the Supreme Court is giving a strong hint that no search by the Federal Government is unreasonable as long as the Government thinks it's done for national security. So no use fighting this in courts. You'll have to fight it at the ballot box.

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