Egypt: Islamists protest ahead of court ruling

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Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rally in front of Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. Tens of thousands of people waving Egyptian flags and hoisting large pictures of the president are demonstrating across Egypt Saturday in support of Morsi and Islamic law. The rally, organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, is seen as a test of strength for Islamists seeking to counteract large opposition protests held this past week by liberal and secular groups who the Brotherhood say do not represent the vast majority of Egyptians. (AP Photo/Mohammed Asad)

CAIRO (AP) — Several thousand supporters of Egypt's Islamist president are protesting in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court ahead of an expected ruling on the legitimacy of the panel that drafted a new constitution.

Regardless of which way it goes, Sunday's court ruling will be a direct challenge to President Mohammed Morsi, who last month gave himself near absolute powers, placing himself and the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly above any oversight, including by the judiciary.

Morsi's decrees mean the court's ruling would be largely symbolic. But a verdict against the panel would cast further doubt on the legitimacy of the assembly, which rushed to adopt the draft last week without the participation of liberal and Christian members.

Islamists say that the courts are filled with judges loyal to Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime.