An amendment calling for federal courts to review whether telecom companies should get retroactive immunity was defeated in the Senate this afternoon.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) was knocked down by a vote of 61-37.
The main bill would grant sweeping retroactive immunity for telecom companies that provided information to the government about their customers without a warrant.
This amendment would have limited retroactive immunity to instances in which a federal court determines the assistance was provided in connection with an intelligence activity that was constitutional.
Many prominent Democrats voted in favor of the amendment, including Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.