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Liberty Seminar Series: The Affordable Care Act
This is the latest and greatest information regarding the Healthcare Reform Act which includes the implications for individuals, the updated Supreme Court action of 2012, the Premium Tax Credit…

By: Anthony Fagen

Excerpt from:
Liberty Seminar Series: The Affordable Care Act – Video

Beginning in the 1930s, shortly after the Supreme Court had incorporated the First Amendment into the due process clause (thereby making it an enforceable constraint not only on the federal government ["Congress shall make no law . . ."] but on State and municipal governments as well) the Jehovahs Witnesses went on a campaign to attack, in court, restrictions on their ability to proselytize door-to-door and to give voice to unpopular views. During one particular 8 year period (1938 to 1946) they brought no fewer than 23 separate First Amendment actions to the Supreme Court (prompting Justice Stone to quip that they ought to have an endowment in view of the aid they give in solving the legal problems of civil liberties). They won some spectacularly important victories West Virginia Board of Ed. v Barnette (1943) (children cannot be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag), Chaplinsky v New Hampshire (19420 (establishing the fighting words doctrine, and overturning conviction of a Jehovahs Witness who called a local official a damned racketeer and a fascist), Watchtower Society v. Village of Stratton (2002) (overturning municipal ordinance requiring government permits for all door-to-door advocacy).***

They were widely reviled especially during World War II and the Korean War, their position asconscientious objectors to military service and their refusal to salute the flag made them the object of great hostility but in retrospect, we all owe them a great debt of gratitude. It took (and it takes) real courage to stand up to the combined forces of public opinion and the state to voice opinions that others find highly objectionable and even inflammatory, and we all enjoy, in a much stronger First Amendment than we might otherwise have, the benefits of their having had the courage to have done so.

Yesterday the 9th Circuit issued its decision striking down Californias CASE (Californians Against Sexual Exploitation) Act as violative of the First Amendment. The Actrequired previously-convicted sex offenders to provide [a] list of any and all Internet identifiers established or used, a list of any and all Internet service providers used, and to sendwritten notice to law enforcement within 24 hours of adding or changing an Internet identifier or an account with an Internet service provider; it also provided for fairly severe criminal penalties for non-compliance.

This is the latest in what is becoming a large series of cases involving First Amendment challenges to state sex offender registration statutes. There have been cases like this one in Nebraska, Indiana, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, to name a few. Ive blogged about some of them before e.g.,hereand here and (full disclosure) Ive been involved in several of them (including this California case) as an expert testifying on behalf of the challengers.

The courts opinion here at least to someone on the side of the fence that Im on has a terrific analysis of the First Amendment issues at stake, and some strong First-Amendment-protective language that will, I promise you, come in very, very handy in future battles the ones that are coming that will not involve just convicted sex offenders. The court struck down the statute on the grounds that it unnecessarily chills protected speech in three ways: the Act does not make clear what it is that sex offenders are required to report, there are insufficient safeguards preventing the public release of the information sex offenders do report, and the 24-hour reporting requirement is onerous and overbroad. There is, in particular, some very forceful language about the right, under the First Amendment, to speak anonymously an issue that, as I keep harping on, is going to be a major First Amendment battleground duringthe the next decade or so. The court wrote:

Although this is not what some might call the classic anonymous-speech case, where speakers allege they are required to disclose their identities directly to their audience, we conclude that the Act nevertheless chills anonymous speech because it too freely allows law enforcement to disclose sex offenders Internet identifying information to the public. . . .We agree with the district court that the standards for releasing Internet identifying information to the public are inadequate to constrain the discretion of law enforcement agencies and that, as a result, registered sex offenders are unnecessarily deterred from engaging in anonymous online speech.

[S]ex offenders fear of disclosure in and of itself chills their speech. If their identity is exposed, their speech, even on topics of public importance, could subject them to harassment, retaliation, and intimidation. See McIntyre, 514 U.S. at 34142 (The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of ones privacy as possible.); Brown v. Socialist Workers 74 Campaign Comm. (Ohio), 459 U.S. 87, 100 (1982) (holding that disclosure requirements may subject unpopular minority groups to threats, harassment, and reprisals). Anonymity may also be important to sex offenders engaged in protected speech because it provides a way for a writer who may be personally unpopular to ensure that readers will not prejudge her message simply because they do not like its proponent.

Pretty strong stuff. It has made me think about the Jehovahs Witnesses. Convicted sex offenders are probably one of a very small number of groups that are even more despised than the Jehovahs Witnesses were in the Thirties and Forties, and they have consequently been singled out for very harsh treatment in the law. Fighting back, theyre helping to make some good First Amendment precedent, and when the government starts cracking down on other speech by other speakers, or attempting to restrict our ability to use anonymizing tools in our Internet communications as itwill well be grateful to them for having done so.

***Shawn Peters excellent Judging Jehovahs Witnessess tells this story in great detail, if youre interested.

David Post taught intellectual property and Internet law at Georgetown Law Center and Temple University Law School until his recent retirement. He is the author of “In Search of Jeffersons Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace” (Oxford, 2009), a Fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology, and an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Convicted sex offenders, Jehovahs Witnesses, and the First Amendment

UMKC Law School professor Allen Rostron did not begin his legal career intending to work in the area of Second Amendment rights, or be a full-time law professor. After graduating from Yale Law School, he worked as a tax attorney. He soon found, however, that he did not enjoy the work. At the time of his change of focus, gun control was getting a lot of media attention and when an opportunity presented itself, he took a position at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The decision began a path that he still follows today.

Rostron was recently invited to be part of a planning team on former New York City Mayor Michael Bloombergs gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety. As part of this group, Rostron focuses on recent decisions about the Second Amendment made by the Supreme Court after many years of the court not having any significant opinions about it.

When the Supreme Court decides something and you think well, that answers the question, it raises just as many questions, Rostron said.

That leaves lower courts around the country trying to figure out which laws are fine as they are written and which laws need some adjustment or even to be struck down. Groups on both sides of the issue gather to strategize to influence those decisions.

According to its website, Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Their voices of the movement are moms, mayors and survivors.

There are groups that oppose gun control because they see it as an infringement upon the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Rostron said that in the recent Supreme Court decisions, the court has said that there needs to be a historical point of view taken. If a gun law is being decided on, a modern public policy perspective should not be the only perspective. The Supreme Court says that these decisions should begin by looking at what the right to keep and bear arms traditionally meant.

That creates a real need to know the history, Rostron said. There is a real need for historians to delve back into what was the situation with guns 200 years ago or more. What kind of laws did they have and what did they think you had a right to do and what did the right not cover. Its a very rich, interesting, historical exploration.

The courses Rostron teaches at UMKC have a healthy amount of discussion. He teaches a Seminar on Gun Law & Safety, but all of his courses have some amount of discussion about rights that citizens hold.

Students are willing to debate the gun control issue because its not as personal as more hot-button issues like abortion or affirmative action.

I have found guns to be in the category of some other things like maybe religion very controversial and people have very strong views about it, but theyre not afraid to get into it a little bit with other students or with the teacher, Rostron said.

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Law professor focuses work on Second Amendment



Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis for NATO Week 2014
Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis Address for NATO Week 2014. The Admiral is the former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and is currently the Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

By: U.S. Embassy in Armenia

Read the rest here:
Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis for NATO Week 2014 – Video

By Steve Scherer NAPLES Italy (Reuters) – NATO is concerned about convoys of trucks taking artillery and supplies into east Ukraine from Russia, and wants to see international borders respected, the supreme allied commander said on Tuesday. Ukraine responded to a report on Sunday by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) by accusing Russia of sending a column of 32 tanks …

Link:
NATO commander concerned by armoured convoys entering Ukraine from Russia



Libertarianism at the Supreme Court: Obamacare Under Fire, Gay Marriage on the Rise
Libertarianism at the Supreme Court: Obamacare Under Fire, Gay Marriage on the Rise.

By: Aboulissan

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Libertarianism at the Supreme Court: Obamacare Under Fire, Gay Marriage on the Rise – Video

This nation’s leading rescuer of the First Amendment arguing before the Supreme Court, attorney Floyd Abrams, now warns of another rising danger.

Speaking on Oct. 23 at the 15th anniversary of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), he warned the only organization as actively devoted to the First Amendment as he is about the damage to free speech caused by college campuses retracting invitations to public speakers.

“If litigation (as FIRE is doing) is one necessary tactic to deal with such speech-limiting policies, the other is simply exposure of the misconduct, with the attendant public shame that follows the exposure.”

What, after all, other than shame, is deserved by Brandeis University for offering and then withdrawing an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirst Ali for her criticism of Islam; by Smith College for withdrawing an invitation to Christine Lagarde, the first woman to head the IMG (International Monetary Fund); by Rutgers, for so embarrassing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that she declined to appear.

“And just a few weeks ago, George Will’s invitation to speak at Scripps College in California was effectively withdrawn after controversy over the invitation. “

Before continuing, I must proudly acknowledge that Floyd Abrams has been my personal First Amendment mentor for decades.He continues with a concern I’ve written about often here:

“What’s going on? It’s hard to resist the conclusion that too many of our college students evidently needed high school civics courses since they seem to have no idea what the basic thrust of the First Amendment — and free expression more broadly — is all about.”

Abrams continues: “And they are not alone. It shows me how many people — educated people, including scholars — seem to believe that the First Amendment should be interpreted as nothing but an extension and embodiment of their generally liberal political views.”

Floyd then speaks to all of us, not just the audience that evening at the FIRE anniversary. What he says is not being taught in the great majority of our public schools as he quoted Justice Robert Jackson:

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights is to foreclose public authority from assuming a guardianship of the public mind through regulating the press, speech and religion. “

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The continuing collapse of the First Amendment. Do you care?

Heres a remarkable case from the Ohio Supreme Court, State v. Hoffman, involving an unconstitutional arrest warrant. The defendant was arrested for a misdemeanor based on a defective arrest warrant, leading to the discovery of evidence of murder. The remarkable part is why the arrest warrant was defective. For at least 17 years, magistrates in Toledo, Ohio were instructed to issue arrest warrants without ever actually making a probable cause determination. Officers would just say that the suspect had committed an offense, and the magistrates would issue the warrant without ever hearing the factual basis for that conclusion. Heres the testimony of the magistrate who issued the arrest warrant in this case:

Q. And during your 17 years of swearing in criminal complaints with requests for arrest warrants, did you know what probable cause was? A. No. Q. Had you ever made a probable cause determination? A. No. * * * Q. Did any of [your] training include making a probable cause determination? A. No, it did not.

Pretty astonishing, given that the text of the Fourth Amendment says, no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.

In the new decision, the Supreme Court of Ohio recognizes the flagrant constitutional violation but concludes that the evidence in this case should not be suppressed because of the good-faith exception. An intermediate state case, State v. Overton, had involved a similar warrant, and the Overton court had held in a one-paragraph summary that the warrant had established probable cause. The Ohio Supreme Court concludes in Hoffman that Overton was binding appellate precedent under Davis at the time the warrant was issued in Hoffman, essentially trumping the text of the Fourth Amendment for purposes of the exclusionary rule.

I find Hoffman puzzling in two ways. First, I think the scope of the exclusionary rule for a defective warrant is set by United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984), not Davis. Leon lays out the standards for when the good faith exception applies to defective warrants, and it clearly does not apply here: Leon says that the good faith exception only applies if [s]ufficient information [was] presented to the magistrate to allow that official to determine probable cause; his action cannot be a mere ratification of the bare conclusions of others. This case involves exactly that mere ratification that Leon says wont suffice. Given the clarity of Leon on this point, coming straight from the U.S. Supreme Court, it seems strange to me to apply Davis instead based on the conclusory decision in Overton.

Second, even if Leon applies instead of Davis, its not obvious to me that suppression is an available remedy. The problem, it seems to me, is that arrests generally dont require warrants. Unlike searches, they generally require only probable cause. Given that, its not clear to me that a defective arrest warrant makes a difference. If the police have probable cause, they could make the arrest without a warrant. In such circumstances, I dont see how the arrest violates the Fourth Amendment (as compared to the warrant) if the police also obtain a warrant that is defective. Probable cause authorizes the arrest, not the warrant, so a search incident to arrest should be okay. Granted, in Hoffman, its not clear that the police actually had probable cause. It looks like the officers relied mostly on the warrant in the suppression hearing rather than making the case for probable cause directly. Either way, probable cause is the real issue.

Orin Kerr is the Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at The George Washington University Law School, where he has taught since 2001. He teaches and writes in the area of criminal procedure and computer crime law.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Magistrate issues arrest warrants for 17 years but is new to probable cause

Magdalena Roeseler/Flickr

Earlier this week, I argued that verbal street harassment is a serious problem worth addressing but that criminalizing it would do far more harm than good. I also made brief mention of an article by Professor Laura Beth Nielsen, who argued in The New York Times that when the Supreme Court upheld a ban on cross-burning it set a precedent that should inform the catcalling debate.

What follows is correspondence from Nielsen, who was good enough to contact me about our disagreements. Her focus was free speech and who it empowers:

We tend to think of free speech as something that protects the little guy and his unpopular opinions. There is a rich history of that in the United States. But First Amendment jurisprudence as it stands now embodies power inequalities worth exploring. In the context of uninvited speech between strangers in public, we have full protection for the pervasive racial epithets that 81 percent of people of color report hearing on the street every day or often and the sexually harassing speech that 60 percent of women report hearing every day or often. In both examples, the First Amendmentour very Constitutionprotects the powerfuls privilege to harass minority group members.

Maybe thats okay because it is the price we pay to keep our First Amendment strong. But consider that the Supreme Court has never definitively ruled on whether begginganother form of unsolicited street speechis constitutionally protected. Restrictions on begging often are upheld by the appellate courts. When laws prohibiting begging are upheld it is often justified as necessary so commuters can get where they are going without being harassed. So when members of powerful groups in society want free (if annoying, harassing, or subordinating) speech in public, they get to do it. And when powerful members of society want to be able to walk down the street without the inconvenience of being asked for money by people living in poverty, they get that too. This is not about consistent constitutional standards for street speech, it is about the power of the speaker and the spoken to.

Can we at least agree we favor principled consistency?

When can speech be limited without violating the First Amendment? Lots of times! When it is conspiracy to commit a crime, when it incites a mob, when it is obscene, when it is a cigarette advertisement, and when the speech is done with the intent to intimidate. The case that established that rule is Virginia v. Black. The intent to intimidate must be proved to a judge or jury. You may not like that First Amendment jurisprudence, but that is the rule. And yes, that case is about cross-burning which seems very different to ordinary people than mere words but for purposes of our constitution is speech, just like any other speech. And the fundamental First Amendment prohibition is to treat different kinds of speech differently. So if racist hate speech can be restricted when done with the intent to intimidate, so can sexist speech. Can we at least agree we favor principled consistency?

Would this law be enforced? Not much. It would be extremely hard to prove, hard to know who was doing the harassing (as it is often quickly and quietly accomplished or yelled from far away preventing identification), and most women arent going to report this. But the lawour lawshould stand for equality. Would a law be differentially racially enforced? Most certainly. Racial bias in policing is a serious problem that we must remedy. Rather than making this a racism vs. sexism debate, why not try to promote equality in both arenas?

Id start with drug laws. The speech/power dynamic works out in other areas of the First Amendment jurisprudence as well. When campaign dollars were determined to be speech in Citizens United, which invalidated bipartisan campaign-finance laws, the wealthy gained a lot of political power.

While I do passionately expect justice from our law, these First Amendment contradictions are not what drive my zeal to end street harassment. When I began researching street harassment more than 20 years ago, I did not expect to see a vigorous debate about the topic in my lifetime. My lived experience of being viciously, repeatedly harassed and sexualized as a young girl taught me what most Americans know and what The Atlantic article says: Street harassment is a social problem, not just an annoyance. It is an exclusionary tactic.

Go here to see the original:
Would an Anti-Catcalling Law Afflict the Powerful or the Weak?

NATO's top military commander said on Monday that recent incursions into European airspace by Russian fighters and long-range bombers included larger, more complex formations of aircraft flying more "provocative" routes than usual. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, the supreme allied commander in Europe, said NATO allies had not directly discussed the flights with Russian leaders because …

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Russia's incursions in European airspace 'more provocative' – NATO commander

Confidentiality clauses and the battle for tracing black money outside India

The world is increasingly moving towards a more structured and organized struggle against illegal money parked in tax havens or even otherwise transacted at foreign soil. Originally the tax havens were completely non-cooperative. However, international pressure has compelled some of them to relax the rigidity against non-disclosure.

Almost all countries which entered into Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties or have a domestic legislation, as in the case of US, that has an extra-territorial application insist that information parted to the receiving State would be subjected to confidentiality clauses. The confidentiality clauses make it incumbent that disclosure would be made only after prosecution is filed before a charging court. Thus the issue is not whether but when disclosure can be made.The debate is not between disclosure and non-disclosure of confidential information. It is between unauthorized disclosure in violation of tax treaties and disclosure as per tax treaties. An unauthorised disclosure in violation of tax treaties entails that the disclosure is made for collateral purposes. It is usually not accompanied by any evidence or proof. But when a disclosure is made in pursuance of a charge sheet in a court of law where a criminal prosecution is filed, it would certainly be a disclosure substantiated by adequate proof and evidence.

A disclosure in violation of tax treaties helps the account holder. The reciprocating state would treat this as a violation of a tax treaty and refuse to provide any evidence in support of the unauthorized account. The holder of the unauthorised account in the absence of any proof and confirmation from the reciprocating State would get the benefit in any investigation or prosecution and then claim that I stand vindicated. In fact, a pre-mature disclosure would additionally alert the account holder to prepare some documentation or a sham defence. It may even enable him to destroy evidence.

India has to take a conscious call. Does it want to be a part of the global coalition which is moving in the direction of automatic sharing of information or not? Does it ensure all information is supported by substantial evidence and proof or only wishes to remain restricted to sloganeering? In the recent meeting of about 50 countries in Berlin which proposed automatic sharing of information, India could not participate since a prevalent view is that confidentiality clauses are unconstitutional in Indian law. This view requires reconsideration. An automatic exchange of information would relate both to authorized and unauthorised movement of money. Why should any information with regard to authorized movement of money be made public? Why should information even in relation of unauthorized movement of money be made public only for political or collateral purposes? Why should the account holder be alerted in advance? It should be put to an authorized use with collection of evidence and filing of prosecution.

The United States has legislated the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, 2010 (FATCA). The FATCA contains a confidentiality clause. It makes it mandatory for foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to register with the appropriate authority and exchange information. The foreign financial institutions are required to enter into agreement with the US Internal Revenue Service. Alternatively foreign governments can sign agreements with US government. Mandatory exchange of information subject to confidentiality clause being necessary. FATCA mandates the deduction and withholding of tax equal to 30% on a US source payment to recalcitrant FIIs or FFIs in non compliant countries which do not meet with the requirements of FATCA. Such 30% withholding will also be imposed by other FATCA compliant countries against non compliant countries.The consequences of not signing the the agreement with US under FATCA would be disastrous.It will negate the efforts being undertaken by our government to revive the Indian economy.

The Reserve Bank of India has already informed the Government of India about the serious and adverse consequences of non-compliance of FATCA by India. Several countries have already subscribed to FATCA.

An unauthorised disclosure of information is fraught with both investigation and economic consequences. They can sabotage the investigation. They can attract sanctions in the form of withholding taxes. It is obvious that in a choice between unauthorised disclosure and disclosure as per treaties, the latter is both a fair and beneficial proposition. It will help in collection of evidence and exposure of a wrong doing in accordance with law and fair procedure. A disclosure without evidence would ensure that evidence is never available.

Notwithstanding its clarity, why should someone with adequate understanding of the subject, demand a disclosure in violation of the treaty. The Congress Partys stand is understandable. It does not want evidence to be forthcoming in support of the names available with SIT. Are some others ill informed, just indulging in bravado or are they Trojan horses? I am sure the SIT which has been entrusted by the Supreme Court with the investigation, will succeed in bringing out the truth while realising the full implications of the subject matter.

The NDA Government has had an exemplary record in this matter. The first decision of its Cabinet Meeting was to accept the Supreme Court direction in constituting the SIT. It has complied with every decision of the SIT. It made available all the names in its possession to the SIT on 27th June, 2014 itself. It will continue to support the SIT fully and unequivocally in search of truth.

See original here:
'A disclosure in violation of tax treaties helps the account holder'



NATO Secretary General visits NATO's Crisis Management Centre.
During a visit to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was briefed by the Alliance's top military commander…

By: SHAPE ACO

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NATO Secretary General visits NATO’s Crisis Management Centre. – Video

Advances in technology always make for interesting interpretations of established law.

Most recently, a Virginia Beach Circuit Court this week ruled that an individual in a criminal proceeding cannot be forced to divulge the passcode to his cellphone as it would violate the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment. At the same time, the Court held that an individual can be compelled to give up his fingerprint to unlock Touch ID, or any fingerprint protected device for that matter.

The Court reasoned that while a passcode requires a defendant to divulge actual knowledge, a fingerprint is a form of physical evidence, akin to a handwriting sample or DNA that authorities are already legally allowed to demand in certain circumstances. In a similar vein, the Supreme Court has previously ruled that while authorities can compel an individual to hand over a physical key to a locked safe, they can’t compel an individual to provide them with a combination to said safe; the key in this example is nothing more than physical evidence while the combination, based on an individual’s unique knowledge, is categorized as “testimonial.”

Mashable adds:

“It’s exactly what we thought it would happen when Apple announced its fingerprint ID,” Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization, told Mashable. (Android phones such as the Galaxy S5 and HTC One Max also have fingerprint ID systems.)

While the ruling in Virginia Beach is not as binding as a Supreme Court decision, it does establish legal precedent other local courts can draw on. More importantly, “it’s just a good wake-up call for people to realize that fingerprint ID doesn’t necessarily provide the same sort of legal protection than a password does,” Fakhoury says.

As relayed by The Virginian-Pilot, the ruling stems from a case involving a man charged with strangling his girlfriend. Authorities had reason to believe that video footage of the couple’s altercation might be located on the defendant’s cellphone and “wanted a judge to force” the defendant hand over the passcode.

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Court rules: Touch ID is not protected by the Fifth Amendment but Passcodes are

Lee Goodman just completed his first year on the Federal Election Commission where he is also three-quarters through a yearlong term as Chairman. While he wasnt on the Commission when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United, he did spearhead the rulemaking that formalized how newly freed corporate speech will be regulated. This involved finding a way to break a five year deadlock. The rules, recently approved by a 4-2 vote, make clear that corporations will not be subject to any new onerous disclosure requirements. Instead, as the Supreme Court intended, political speech is freer, which is a very good thing.

Last week, I interviewed Chairman Goodman by telephone. He spoke passionately about the benefits to democracy from more and freer political speech. He believes strongly that Americans are quite capable of listening to a wide variety of viewpoints and then making an informed choice when they vote. He made his argument on this point as follows:

My view is Citizens United righted the ship of speech in America. Americans, even when organized in associations, should have the right to speak as much as they want about government, the issues of the day, and those seeking to be elected to public office. For about 35 years in American history we banned certain speakers and, therefore, certain political views from the debate.

Clearly, Chairman Goodman is in favor of free speech. He understands that the First Amendment was meant to protect political speech of all sorts, without limits on sources or number. He went on to make clear why limiting free speech is a bad idea:

Some people would rather remove certain podiums from the debate than meet the merits of those views in a debate. Government assumed an improper role in controlling debate. Citizens United corrected this, recognizing that all speakers, including those who choose to incorporate their association, should be allowed into the debate. The American people are better off when they hear more viewpoints, not fewer. They have a right to choose whether to listen to a viewpoint, or not to listen.

This is a hopeful view of the American people. Chairman Goodman believes in the inherent abilities of citizens to make wise choices collectively, and also in their inherent right to make poor choices at times and live with the resultant outcomes. Importantly, in stark contrast to the hyperbolic voices on the side of restricting free political speech, Chairman Goodman recognizes that the volume of speech alone does not determine elections:

Evidence from the 2012 election cycle, analyzed by the Sunlight Foundation, showed that in many cases the win/loss rate for big political groups was quite low (sometimes less than 10 percent). This is proof that more speech does not determine the outcome of elections.

Disagreeing further with those in favor of restrictions on political speech, Chairman Goodman also argued against the oft-advanced proposition that speech must be limited in order to avoid corruption:

I dont believe speech corrupts politicians. I dont believe that President Obama has taken positions or changed positions on issues due to the hundreds of millions of dollars in political contributions and speech in the 2012 election. Rather, speech chases political positions more than the other way around. Further, for those who advance the position that speech corrupts politicians, let them name politicians that are examples of such corruption.

Finally, Chairman Goodman spoke in favor of the prospect that Citizens United, helped by the more recent McCutcheon decision, will make elections more competitive. In other words, more money and more viewpoints will make the political landscape more even, not less:

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FEC Chairman Has A Passion For Free Speech

FILE – In this file image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks in Moscow. Faced with congressional inaction to curtail the NSA?s bulk collection of Americans? telephone records, civil liberties groups are looking to cases already in the courts as a quicker way to clarify just what surveillance powers the government should have. Three appeals courts are hearing challenges to the National Security Agency phone records program, creating the potential for an eventual Supreme Court review. Judges in lower courts are grappling with the admissibility of evidence gained through the NSA?s warrantless surveillance. The flurry of activity follows revelations last year by former contractor Edward Snowden of once-secret intelligence collection programs. (AP Photo, File)(The Associated Press)

WASHINGTON While Congress mulls how to curtail the NSA’s collection of Americans’ telephone records, impatient civil liberties groups are looking to legal challenges already underway in the courts to limit government surveillance powers.

Three appeals courts are hearing lawsuits against the bulk phone records program, creating the potential for an eventual Supreme Court review. Judges in lower courts, meanwhile, are grappling with the admissibility of evidence gained through the NSA’s warrantless surveillance.

Advocates say the flurry of activity, which follows revelations last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of once-secret intelligence programs, show how a post-9/11 surveillance debate once primarily hashed out among lawmakers in secret is being increasingly aired in open court not only in New York and Washington but in places like Idaho and Colorado.

“The thing that is different about the debate right now is that the courts are much more of a factor in it,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union. Before the Snowden disclosures, he said, courts were generally relegated to the sidelines of the discussion. Now, judges are poised to make major decisions on at least some of the matters in coming months.

Though it’s unclear whether the Supreme Court will weigh in, the cases are proceeding at a time when the justices appear increasingly comfortable with digital privacy matters including GPS tracking of cars and police searches of cellphones.

The cases “come at a critical turning point for the Supreme Court when it comes to expectations of privacy and digital information,” said American University law professor Stephen Vladeck.

Revelations that the government was collecting phone records of millions of Americans who were not suspected of crimes forced a rethinking of the practice, and President Barack Obama has called for it to end.

Since then, the House has passed legislation that civil libertarians say did not go far enough. In the Senate, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, the Judiciary Committee chairman, is seeking a vote on a stricter measure to ban bulk collection, and it has bipartisan backing and support from the White House.

As Congress considers the matter, the federal judiciary has produced divided opinions.

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As Congress mulls reining in NSA phone records collection, attention turns to court challenges

WASHINGTON While Congress mulls how to curtail the NSA’s collection of Americans’ telephone records, impatient civil liberties groups are looking to legal challenges already underway in the courts to limit government surveillance powers.

Three appeals courts are hearing lawsuits against the bulk phone records program, creating the potential for an eventual Supreme Court review. Judges in lower courts, meanwhile, are grappling with the admissibility in terror prosecutions of evidence gained through the NSA’s warrantless surveillance.

Advocates say the flurry of activity, which follows revelations last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of once-secret intelligence collection programs, show how a post-9/11 surveillance debate once primarily hashed out among lawmakers in secret is being increasingly aired in open court not only in New York and Washington but in places like Idaho and Colorado.

“The thing that is different about the debate right now is that the courts are much more of a factor in it,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union. Before the Snowden disclosures, he said, courts were generally relegated to the sidelines of the discussion. Now, judges are poised to make major decisions on at least some of the matters in coming months.

Though it’s unclear whether the Supreme Court will weigh in, the cases are proceeding at a time when the justices appear increasingly comfortable taking up digital privacy matters including GPS tracking of cars and police searches of cellphones.

The cases “come at a critical turning point for the Supreme Court when it comes to expectations of privacy and digital information,” said American University law professor Stephen Vladeck.

Revelations that the government was collecting bulk phone records of millions of Americans who were not suspected of crimes forced a rethinking of the practice, and President Barack Obama has called for it to end.

Since then, the House has passed legislation that civil libertarians say did not go far enough. In the Senate, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, the Judiciary Committee chairman, is seeking a vote on a stricter measure to ban bulk collection, which has bipartisan backing and support from the White House.

As Congress considers the matter, the federal judiciary has produced divided opinions that are winding through appeals.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard arguments in an appeal of a judge’s opinion that had upheld the program’s legality. The D.C. appeals court hears arguments next week after a judge there found that the program is probably unconstitutional. Anna Smith, a nurse in Idaho who contends the program is unconstitutional and that bulk record collection violates her privacy rights, will soon have her appeal heard by the appeals court in the 9th Circuit.

See the article here:
Focus turns to court challenges as Congress considers reining in NSA phone records collection



The Liberty Threat: Attack on Religious Freedom in America
The struggle for religious liberty has been present since the time of the Roman Empire. By looking at how the Ancient Christian world relates to the failures of our own Supreme Court, it is…

By: Family Research Council

Go here to see the original:
The Liberty Threat: Attack on Religious Freedom in America – Video

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) October 22, 2014

The Third Circuit in U.S. v. Katzin, 2014 U.S. Dist. WL 4851779 (3d Cir. Oct. 1, 2014), reversed its prior decision of the split three-judge panel and ruled that “…when the agents acted, they did so upon an objectively reasonable good-faith belief in the legality of their conduct, and that the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule therefore applies.”

In the Katzin case, suspecting the defendants of committing various burglaries, police, without a warrant, installed a GPS onto their van, leading to their apprehension. Almost two years later, the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Jones, 463 U.S. 354 (2012) ruled that this exact conduct needed a warrant. A three judge panel of the Third Circuit then held that the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to install a GPS device on a suspects car. U.S. v. Katzin,732 F. 3d 187 (3d Cir. 2013). Prior to Jones, the Supreme Court had ruled that installing surveillance devices was not necessarily a Fourth Amendment violation. See U.S. v. Karo, 468 U.S. 705 (1984) and U.S. v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983). The question before the en banc panel, therefore, was whether the police in Katzin were reasonably relying on these precedents to justify the legality of attaching the GPS device. The en banc panel in Katzin relied upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Davis v. U.S., 131 S.Ct. 2419 (2011), which held that the good faith exception applies when the police were reasonably relying on binding precedent. Prior to Jones, the Supreme Court had ruled that installing surveillance devices was not necessarily a Fourth Amendment violation.

Ms. Lefeber explains that the Katzin decision effectively eviscerates any Fourth Amendment protection because it creates a good-faith exception to the suppression of ill-gotten evidence.

Judge D. Brooks Smith, similarly, wrote in his dissent:

“The majority’s good-faith analysis is flawed because it finds that, where the law is unsettled, law enforcement may engage in constitutionally reckless conduct and still reap the benefits of the good-faith exception. Fourth Amendment jurisprudence dictates a different outcome. When the law is unsettled, law enforcement should not travel the road of speculation, but rather they should demonstrate respect for the constitutional mandateobtain a warrant. Anything less would require suppression.” Katzin, Ibid.

About Hope Lefeber:

In practice since 1979, Lefeber is an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia. As a former Enforcement Attorney for the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Lefeber uses the knowledge she gained while working for the government to best defend her clients facing serious state and federal charges related to drug offenses and white collar crime, including business and corporate fraud, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, financial and securities fraud, and tax fraud. A member of the invitation-only National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Lefeber has been recognized by Thomson Reuters as a 2014 Super Lawyer. She has represented high-profile clients, published numerous articles, lectured on federal criminal law issues, taught Continuing Legal Education classes to other Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys and has been quoted by various media outlets, from TV news to print publications.

Learn more at http://www.hopelefeber.com/

View post:
Third Circuit Allows Evidence from Warrantless GPS Device

The Supreme Court is weighing in on another Fourth Amendment privacy case, this one concerning a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotels to surrender guest registries to the police upon request without a warrant.

Thejustices agreed(PDF) Monday to hear Los Angeles’ appeal of a lower court that ruled7-4 that the lawmeant to combat prostitution, gambling, and even terrorismwas unconstitutional. The law(PDF) requires hotels to provide the informationincluding guests’ credit card number, home address, driver’s license information, and vehicle license numberat a moment’s notice. Several dozen cities, from Atlanta to Seattle, have similar ordinances.

“The Supreme Court will consider both the scope of privacy protections for hotel guests and also whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits laws that allow unlawful searches,” EPIC wrote. “The second issue has far-reaching consequences because many recent laws authorize the police searches without judicial review. Thus far, courts have only considered “as applied” challenges on a case-by-case basis.”

The appeal is the third high-profile Fourth Amendment case the justices have taken in three years.

In 2012, the justices ruled that authorities generally need search warrants when they affix GPS devices to a vehicle. And earlier this year, the Supreme Court said that the authorities need warrants to peek into the mobile phones of suspects they arrest.

In the latest case,Los Angeles motel owners sued, claiming that the law was a violation of their rights. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the motel owners in December and said the only documentsthey must disclose include a hotel’s proprietary pricing and occupancy information.

Businesses do not ordinarily disclose, and are not expected to disclose, the kind of commercially sensitive information contained in the records, Judge Paul Watford wrote for the majority. He said a hotel has “the right to exclude others from prying into the contents of its records.”

In dissent, Judge Richard Clifton wrote that neither the hotel nor the guest has an expectation of privacy.”A guest’s information is even less personal to the hotel than it is to the guest,” Clifton said.

In arguing to the justices that they should review the majority’s conclusion, Los Angeles city officials wrote(PDF), “These laws expressly help police investigate crimes such as prostitution and gambling, capture dangerous fugitives and even authorize federal law enforcement to examine these registers, an authorization which can be vital in the immediate aftermath of a homeland terrorist attack.”

Thehigh court did not set a hearing date.

More here:
Supreme Court to decide if cops can access hotel registries without warrants

Oct 202014



Gun Sense
It's time for gun control reform. Carrying guns into public restaurants and bars only lays ground work for potential trouble. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment does not…

By: gmagic911X

More here:
Gun Sense – Video



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