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Court Says It's Too Early to Rule on Surveillance Issue

September 08, 1990

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.

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