The Supreme Court today refused to consider a challenge to the National Security Agency's global sweep of telephone and electronic communications. SCOTUSBlog said it was the first such test case to reach the court since former NSA analyst Edward Snowden began releasing secret papers disclosing details of that surveillance. The Court made no comment as it turned aside an unusual request by an advocacy group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The plea was filed directly in the high court without prior lower court action. The group sought to direct a judge of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to vacate an order issued in April requiring a branch of the telephone giant Verizon to turn over to the government a vast array of data, including sweeps of U.S. telephone calls and Internet exchanges. The Supreme Court vary rarely grants such a “writ of mandamus or prohibition.”