A new Supreme Court term, a new chance for a legal challenge to the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance efforts. Today the ACLU asked the Court to take up a case it brought last year against the administration by American citizens who suspect that their communications were unlawfully monitored.
Last year, District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ordered an injunction
on the surveillance in response to the case, an order that led to the Bush administration placing the program(s) under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (well, for the time being
). The Justice Department objected, saying the plaintiffs in the case -- a collection of "prominent journalists, scholars, attorneys and national advocacy organizations" -- couldn't prove they had been surveilled, since the administration wasn't revealing who it spied upon. Circuit Court Judge Alice Batchelder sided with the government
The ACLU is now asking the Court to take up two questions. First, whether the non-disclosure of surveillance targets is an inappropriate grounds to deny standing to those with a reasonable suspicion that they've been monitored -- Batchelder's ruling, in other words. Then there's the core issue: "Whether the President possesses authority under Article II of the Constitution to engage in intelligence surveillance within the United States that Congress has expressly prohibited." You can read the ACLU's filing here (pdf).
No word yet on whether the Court will take the case.