Incredibly-Appeals Court Sides With Bush Wiretapping
A federal appeals court is refusing to reconsider its August ruling in which it said the federal government may spy on Americans’ communications without warrants and without fear of being sued.
The original decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this summer reversed the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W. Bush’s once-secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.
Without comment, the San Francisco-based appeals court announced Wednesday that it would not rehear (.pdf) the case again with a larger panel of 11 judges, effectively setting the stage for a Supreme Court showdown. The appeals court Wednesday also made some minor amendments (.pdf) to its August ruling, but the thrust of it was the same as before.
The case concerned a lower court decision in which two American attorneys — who were working with the now-defunct al-Haramain Islamic Foundation — were awarded more than $20,000 each in damages and their lawyers $2.5 million in legal fees after a tortured legal battle where they proved they were spied on without warrants.