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Egyptian Islamists protest in front of court ahead of key ruling on constitutional assembly

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.