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Supreme Court blocks warrantless wiretapping lawsuit

The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit challenging a federal law that allowed electronic eavesdropping on international conversations.

Supreme court rejects eavesdropping lawsuitEnlarge
The Supreme Court ruled on February 26, 2013 against a lawsuit which challenges US intelligence agencies' authority to eavesdrop on overseas communications. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit which challenged a federal law allowing warrantless wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping on international communications.

The vote was 5-4, with the conservative majority concluding that the plaintiffs in the case, who included attorneys, journalists and human rights advocates, lacked legal "standing" because they could not show they had suffered injury.

Justice Samuel Alito Jr. wrote the majority opinion, saying the plaintiffs' fear that they would be subject to surveillance in the future was too speculative, according to The New York Times.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion, saying, "Indeed, it is as likely to take place as are most future events that common-sense inference and ordinary knowledge of human nature tell us will happen."

CNN noted that while the justices did not address the larger question of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's constitutionality, the ruling makes it harder for future lawsuits to challenge the law.

The law was revised in 2008, giving the attorney general and the director of national intelligence the power to order "mass acquisition" of suspected foreign targets.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130226/supreme-court-blocks-warrantless-wiretapping-law