Published: Oct 04, 2010 4:48 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2010 1:48 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks have lost their bid to get the Supreme Court to rule that New York City must provide a proper burial for material taken from the World Trade Center site because it could contain the ashes of victims.

The justices on Monday said they would not hear an appeal from the families of some of those killed when the 110-story twin towers collapsed nine years ago.

Lower federal courts had dismissed the families' lawsuit against the city, saying it acted responsibly in moving 1.6 million tons of materials from the site in Lower Manhattan to a landfill on Staten Island and then sifting through the material for human remains.

No remains have been found for roughly 1,100 of the 2,752 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. The families have said the landfill is not a proper burial site for their loved ones. They also argue that 223,000 tons of the material was never sifted for remains.

Officials say the material that is the subject of the litigation resulted from a 10-month search in which law enforcement authorities and others manually and mechanically searched World Trade Center material for evidence, personal belongings and human remains.

The process produced nearly 20,000 human remains that were sent to the New York City medical examiner's office for identification and return to the next of kin, he said. The medical examiner continues the work of identifying remains.

The case is World Trade Center Families for Proper Burial v. New York City, 09-1467.