The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that it was premature to decide the constitutionality of government surveillance conducted while investigating seven Los Angeles-area Palestinians and a Kenyan, whom the government has been attempting to deport.
The eight were originally charged with subversion 3 1/2 years ago, and have been fighting deportation proceedings in U.S. Immigration Court in Los Angeles. Currently, two of the defendants face subversion charges, while the others are accused of a variety of visa violations. The surveillance was conducted by a top-secret unit of the Justice Department.
A federal judge had declined to hear arguments of the American Civil Liberties Union which contended the surveillance was unconstitutional. In a 3-0 opinion, the appellate court said, in effect, the deportation proceedings would have to be resolved first before it could consider the surveillance issue.