A federal appeals court panel in New York expressed skepticism Tuesday about the government’s continued monitoring of Americans’ phone records to guard against terrorism.

In a case that could be headed to the Supreme Court, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit voiced concern about the reach of the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program, which gathers information about phone calls made and received but does not eavesdrop on their content.

At the same time, the judges appeared dubious of their authority to strike down a program authorized by Congress and approved at regular intervals by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which operates in secret. They also seemed inclined to stay any verdict against the government to let other courts weigh in.

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