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NSA Surveillance Challenge Turned Away by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to the National Security Agency’s telephone data surveillance program, rejecting a call to put the dispute on an unusual fast track.

The justices today turned away a petition by Larry Klayman, a legal activist who persuaded a federal trial judge to say the spying program probably violates constitutional privacy rights.

Although the Obama administration is asking a federal appeals court in Washington to reverse that ruling, Klayman argued that the issue was so urgent that the Supreme Court needed to intervene without waiting for the appellate court.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon’s December ruling called the NSA spying program “almost Orwellian.” The agency systematically keeps years of phone records for hundreds of millions of Americans.

Leon ordered the government to stop collecting data on the calls of Klayman and another man, though the judge put the order on hold while the case is on appeal.

The Obama administration didn’t respond to Klayman’s request, and the high court didn’t ask for a reply. The Supreme Court rarely takes up cases that haven’t first been considered at an intermediate appellate level.

The case is Klayman v. Obama, 13-931.

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