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Schumer Introduces Bill To Grant Supreme Court Expedited Review Of NSA Secret Spying Program

Schumer: Supreme Court is Most Appropriate Final Arbiter to Resolve this Potential Constitutional Crisis

Bill Provides Breakthrough Solution to Executive-Legislative Deadlock on Spying Issue

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today introduced legislation to allow the Supreme Court to rule on the National Security Agencys secret spying program. Schumer, who has been critical of the Administration for not consulting with Congress before enacting the program, said his legislation would put the controversial spying program on the fast track to Supreme Court consideration so the nations highest tribunal can definitively decide on the constitutionality and legality of the program.

This is the right way to settle this issue once and for all through an impartial arbiter, Schumer said. The Supreme Court is the only institution with the authority and respect to give a definitive final ruling on whether the NSAs warrantless wiretapping program is constitutional and/or legal. We have a system of checks and balances and, in this case, when the stakes are so high, the Supreme Court should be the ultimate check.

Schumers legislation would provide the Supreme Court of the United States with the opportunity to rule on the legality and constitutionality of the NSA surveillance program. The bill would allow a small, designated group of US citizens to bring legal challenges to the program before a special threejudge court in the DC Circuit which would then be required to review the program expeditiously, creating a path for fasttrack review by the Supreme Court. The threejudge panel would issue a ruling on legal or constitutional concerns raised by the claim and could order the program stopped if the court found the program to violate the law or the constitution. If either the plaintiff or the government appealed the ruling, which would be expected, the Supreme Court would be next to take the case.

Schumers bill identifies the group of people who would have most likely been adversely affected by the eavesdropping program and gives them standing before the three judge panel. The group, which includes journalists, academics, and businesspeople who, because of fear of government surveillance, actually have refrained from making business phone calls to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other state sponsors of terrorism. The bill would preserve classified information by conforming to the standards and procedures of CIPA, the Classified Information Procedures Act.

The purpose of the legislation is to provide a clear, controlled, fair, and expeditious way for the highest court in the land to make the determination of whether the NSA surveillance program was and is legal and constitutional. Schumers proposal would ensure that this issue is given a full, thorough, and independent hearing it deserves.