This is unbelieveable that a Federal court would rule warrantless wiretapping is OK, it doesn’t matter if it was George Bush a Republican or Muslims that were wiretapped illegally, we still have (or we’re supposed to have) a Constitution. I”m sure they could have found ‘probable cause’ in order to get a warrant.

The federal government may spy on Americans’ communications without warrants and without fear of being sued, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision reversing the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W. Bush’s once-secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.

“This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the executive branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote. (.pdf)

The case concerned a lower court decision in which two American attorneys — who were working with the now-defunct al-Haramain Islamic Foundation — were awarded more than $20,000 each in damages and their lawyers $2.5 million in legal fees after a tortured legal battle where they proved they were spied on without warrants.

They sued under domestic spying laws Congress adopted in the wake of President Richard M. Nixon’s Watergate scandal. The government appealed their victory, and the appeals court Tuesday dismissed the suit and the damages.

Jon Eisenberg, the lawyer for the two attorneys, said he may request the court to reconsider its decision with a larger panel of judges, or petition the Supreme Court.

“This case was the only chance to litigate and hold anybody accountable for the warrantless wiretapping program,” he said in a telephone interview. “As illegal as it was, it evaded accountability.”

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