The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order that Verizon hand over all its customer records to the National Security Agency. The outcome, as CommonDreams.org reported in November 2013, didn’t surprise me: “We Don’t Wanna Hear It.” The august justices gave no reason for denying the Fourth Amendment to all of us, but I figure it’s because EPIC bypassed lower courts.
How dare EPIC be so audacious? That’s simple, wrote Common Dreams’ Jon Queally: “No other federal court would have the authority to challenge the secrecy inherent in the NSA program,” which had been okayed by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge.
What do you think George Washington would have thought of that? Or James Madison? Of course, they were in another country, weren’t they? But even in today’s America, despite the Bush-Cheney-Obama entrenched secrecy of the executive branch, we still may have an other shot at salvaging our Fourth Amendment right to privacy.
As Wired.com reminded anyone paying attention, the Supreme Court’s “inaction means that there isn’t likely to be any court resolution to Constitutional challenges to the metadata program for years. Legislation, however, is pending to gut the program.”
Not so fast. Such legislation could eventually be shot down by Chief Justice John Roberts’s conservative High Court unless the next President respects privacy and can appoint like-minded justices if there are vacancies.