On Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed to stand a 2008 law that grants the U.S. Attorney General the power to grant retroactive immunity to telecom carriers that cooperate with federal intelligence agencies in conducting electronic surveillance. Specifically, the high court turned down a legal challenge that was brought by various civil liberties groups against the decision by the Ninth Circuit court last year to uphold the 2008 law. The case at hand was triggered in 2006 when a former AT&T technician revealed that he had worked extensively with the National Security Agency in implementing a nationwide, warrantless wiretapping program in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. That disclosure led to the filing of more than 30 lawsuits against AT&T, Verizon Communications and Sprint Nextel for their participation in what privacy advocates characterized as “a massive, unlawful program of electronic surveillance, intercepting and disclosing to the government both the communications and the communications records of millions of their customers.” In a partial response to the lawsuits, Congress adopted legislation in 2008 granting retroactive immunity to telecom carriers that provide assistance to U.S. intelligence agencies as long as the U.S. Attorney General certifies their participation in a government investigation before the courts. However, plaintiffs in the lawsuits such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) challenged the law before the Ninth Circuit Court, arguing that members of Congress violated the separation of powers clause in the U.S. Constitution by giving the Attorney General the power and the discretion to decide whether carriers qualify for immunity under the law. In Hepting v. AT&T, the Ninth Circuit panel ruled against that claim, concluding that Congress had acted within its constitutional power, and the Supreme Court rejected the groups’ request for review of that decision without comment. Notwithstanding Tuesday’s legal defeat, an official of EFF vowed that her organization would continue to pursue its grievances through a separate, but related case (Jewel v. NSA) that is scheduled for a district court hearing in December.