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Obamas Supreme Court Nominee Revealed

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Obamas Supreme Court Nominee Revealed
Mar 192016
 

UPDATE 11:43 a.m. ET: President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, citing bipartisan respect in the past, to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the death to Justice Antonin Scalia.

Garland, 63, is the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he has served since 1997.

I said I would take this process seriously and I did. I chose a serious man and an exemplary judge, Obama said standing next to Garland in the Rose Garden Wednesday morning. To find someone who just about everyone not only respects, but genuinely likesthat is rare.

Judge Merrick B. Garland speaks after being nominated to the US Supreme Court as U.S. President Barack Obama looks on, in the Rose Garden at the White House, March 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Garland currently serves as the chief judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and if confirmed by the US Senate, would replace Antonin Scalia who died suddenly last month. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Republicans have vowed to block any nominee Obama puts forward, preferring to let voters choose the kind of justice who will replace Scalia through the 2016 presidential elections.

Garland comes in with a mixed record and will likely face scrutiny from Republicans about his stance on the Second Amendment.

As a Justice Department attorney in the 1990s, he assisted in the high profile prosecutions of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

President Bill Clinton named Garland to the D.C. Circuit Court in 1997 and he was confirmed by a bipartisan vote in the Senate.

Fidelity to the constitution and the law has been the cornerstone of my professional life and it is the hallmark of the kind of judge I have tried to be for the past 18 years, Garland said Tuesday in the Rose Garden. If the Senate sees fit to confirm me to the position for which I have been nominated today, I promise to continue on that course. Mr. president, its a great privilege to be nominated by a fellow Chicagoan.

In the D.C. vs. Heller gun case, which eventually made it to the Supreme Court, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit struck down most of the Washington, D.C., handgun ban. However, Garland joined Judge David Tatel in voting to have the full court reconsider the decision. Garland and Tatel were on the losing side when the Supreme Court recognized the individual right to bear arms in the Heller case and struck down the districts ban.

There is no freedom more fundamental than the right to defend ones life and family, said Erich Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America. The Heller and McDonald decisions are hanging by a thread, as both were decided by 5-4 majorities. If Garland were confirmed, we can expect to see more gun registration, more gun bans, more limitations on ammunition, and all of it would be approved by the Supreme Court.

In a National Review piece, Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, also wrote about Garland voting to uphold an executive action by President Clinton to establish what some considered a de facto gun registration requirement.

But Garland has a long record, and, among other things, it leads to the conclusion that he would vote to reverse one of Justice Scalias most important opinions, D.C. vs. Heller, which affirmed that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms. Back in 2007, Judge Garland voted to undo a D.C. Circuit court decision striking down one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. The liberal District of Columbia government had passed a ban on individual handgun possession, which even prohibited guns kept in ones own house for self-defense. A three-judge panel struck down the ban, but Judge Garland wanted to reconsider that ruling. He voted with Judge David Tatel, one of the most liberal judges on that court. As Dave Kopel observed at the time, the [t]he Tatel and Garland votes were no surprise, since they had earlier signaled their strong hostility to gun owner rights in a previous case. Had Garland and Tatel won that vote, theres a good chance that the Supreme Court wouldnt have had a chance to protect the individual right to bear arms for several more years

Garland thought all of these regulations were legal, which tells us two things. First, it tells us that he has a very liberal view of gun rights, since he apparently wanted to undo a key court victory protecting them. Second, it tells us that hes willing to uphold executive actions that violate the rights of gun owners. Thats not so moderate, is it?

Garland does have a somewhat centrist record, siding with the Bush administration in a key terror case. In 2003, he joined an opinion on the D.C. Circuit prohibiting Guantanamo Bay prisoners from challenging their detention from appealing in civilian courts. The Supreme Court, in 2008, overturned this ruling in the case of Rasul v. Bush.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the choice should be up to the voters, and without speaking no ill of Garland, said: This is not about the person. It is about the principle.

Obama said he is doing his job in nominating a justice and called on the Senate and insisted that Republicans in the Senate give Garland a hearing and a vote.

Presidents dont stop working in the final year of their term, Obama said. Neither should a Senator.

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Obamas Supreme Court Nominee Revealed

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First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

 Misc  Comments Off on First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times
Mar 192016
 

Latest Articles

Arguments in the jury trial start Monday in a case the celebrity wrestler says is about privacy, but the defendant, Gawker, argues is about the First Amendment.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

The state is one of eight that are considering blanket legal protection for discrimination on religious grounds. Its bill is one of the most alarming.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The company, in its fight with the F.B.I., is defending its phones on grounds that its code represents free speech, and there is some precedent.

By STEVE LOHR

Crisis pregnancy centers in California are in a battle with the state over a new law requiring them to post a notice that free or low-cost abortion care is available.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A judges order to release secret documents raises questions about how much involvement courts should have over settlements related to corporate wrongdoing.

By PETER J. HENNING

Mr. Kennedy defended John Gotti Sr., Huey P. Newton and Timothy Leary and won freedom for Jean S. Harris, who killed the Scarsdale Diet doctor.

By SAM ROBERTS

In recent years, the Supreme Court has waved the First Amendment banner ever higher to undermine long-accepted governmental regulatory authority.

By LINDA GREENHOUSE

In a California case, the justices are considering whether government workers who choose not to join a union may still be required to pay for collective bargaining.

By ADAM LIPTAK

A federal judge has warned that prosecutors may be going too far when they ask witnesses to keep quiet about receiving a subpoena.

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Some legal scholars are asking whether it is time to reconsider the clear and present danger standard for curbing the freedom of speech.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A federal appeals court, in a case involving an Asian-American dance-rock band, struck down part of a law that let the government reject trademarks it deemed offensive or disparaging to others.

By RICHARD SANDOMIR

An array of leading hip-hop artists, including T.I., Big Boi and Killer Mike, filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a high school student punished for posting a rap song that drew attention to complaints about sexual harassment.

The Alabama lawyer opposed The New York Times in a case that resulted in a Supreme Court decision establishing greater leeway for criticism of government officials and other public figures.

By BRUCE WEBER

On university campuses, First Amendment rights are colliding with inclusivity.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Religious Arbitration Used for Secular Disputes | Soros Withdraws $490 Million From Janus Capital

A University of Michigan professor writes that many see this as yet another way the First Amendment is being hijacked.

A new class-action lawsuit says that New York City has a policy and a history of violating protesters constitutional rights.

Congressional Republicans are pushing a bill that would deliberately warp the bedrock principle of religious freedom under the Constitution.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

As a county clerk, Kim Davis is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married, which includes same-sex couples.

By JESSE WEGMAN

An appeals court upheld restrictions on protesters First Amendment rights to gather and wave signs on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court.

By JACKIE CALMES

Arguments in the jury trial start Monday in a case the celebrity wrestler says is about privacy, but the defendant, Gawker, argues is about the First Amendment.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

The state is one of eight that are considering blanket legal protection for discrimination on religious grounds. Its bill is one of the most alarming.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The company, in its fight with the F.B.I., is defending its phones on grounds that its code represents free speech, and there is some precedent.

By STEVE LOHR

Crisis pregnancy centers in California are in a battle with the state over a new law requiring them to post a notice that free or low-cost abortion care is available.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A judges order to release secret documents raises questions about how much involvement courts should have over settlements related to corporate wrongdoing.

By PETER J. HENNING

Mr. Kennedy defended John Gotti Sr., Huey P. Newton and Timothy Leary and won freedom for Jean S. Harris, who killed the Scarsdale Diet doctor.

By SAM ROBERTS

In recent years, the Supreme Court has waved the First Amendment banner ever higher to undermine long-accepted governmental regulatory authority.

By LINDA GREENHOUSE

In a California case, the justices are considering whether government workers who choose not to join a union may still be required to pay for collective bargaining.

By ADAM LIPTAK

A federal judge has warned that prosecutors may be going too far when they ask witnesses to keep quiet about receiving a subpoena.

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Some legal scholars are asking whether it is time to reconsider the clear and present danger standard for curbing the freedom of speech.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A federal appeals court, in a case involving an Asian-American dance-rock band, struck down part of a law that let the government reject trademarks it deemed offensive or disparaging to others.

By RICHARD SANDOMIR

An array of leading hip-hop artists, including T.I., Big Boi and Killer Mike, filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a high school student punished for posting a rap song that drew attention to complaints about sexual harassment.

The Alabama lawyer opposed The New York Times in a case that resulted in a Supreme Court decision establishing greater leeway for criticism of government officials and other public figures.

By BRUCE WEBER

On university campuses, First Amendment rights are colliding with inclusivity.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Religious Arbitration Used for Secular Disputes | Soros Withdraws $490 Million From Janus Capital

A University of Michigan professor writes that many see this as yet another way the First Amendment is being hijacked.

A new class-action lawsuit says that New York City has a policy and a history of violating protesters constitutional rights.

Congressional Republicans are pushing a bill that would deliberately warp the bedrock principle of religious freedom under the Constitution.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

As a county clerk, Kim Davis is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married, which includes same-sex couples.

By JESSE WEGMAN

An appeals court upheld restrictions on protesters First Amendment rights to gather and wave signs on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court.

By JACKIE CALMES

See more here:
First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

Internet Free Speech – American Civil Liberties Union

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Internet Free Speech – American Civil Liberties Union
Feb 212016
 

The digital revolution has produced the most diverse, participatory, and amplified communications medium humans have ever had: the Internet. The ACLU believes in an uncensored Internet, a vast free-speech zone deserving at least as much First Amendment protection as that afforded to traditional media such as books, newspapers, and magazines.

The ACLU has been at the forefront of protecting online freedom of expression in its myriad forms. We brought the first case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared speech on the Internet equally worthy of the First Amendments historical protections. In that case, Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, the Supreme Court held that the government can no more restrict a persons access to words or images on the Internet than it can snatch a book out of someones hands or cover up a nude statue in a museum.

But that principle has not prevented constant new threats to Internet free speech. The ACLU remains vigilant against laws or policies that create new decency restrictions for online content, limit minors access to information, or allow the unmasking of anonymous speakers without careful court scrutiny.

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Internet Free Speech – American Civil Liberties Union

Fourth Amendment Body Search Home Search You rights …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Fourth Amendment Body Search Home Search You rights …
Aug 302015
 

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” was adopted as a protection against the widespread invasions of privacy experienced by American colonists at the hands of the British Government. So-called “writs of assistance” gave royal officers broad discretion to conduct searches of the homes of private citizens, primarily as a way of discovering violations of strict British customs laws. This practice led to a unique awareness among our Founding Fathers of the threat to individual liberty and privacy that is created by unchecked government search powers.

Today, the Fourth Amendment has lost its preferred status among our cherished Bill of Rights Protections. In recent decades, growing concerns regarding crime and public safety in America have forced our Courts to balance the privacy rights contained in the Constitution with the ever-expanding needs of law-enforcement officers whose duty it is to investigate and arrest dangerous criminals. The Supreme Court’s rulings in Fourth Amendment cases demonstrate the challenge involved in reconciling these competing ideals.

Ultimately, the Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures has been trimmed-down in recent years and tailored to suit the needs of modern law enforcement as we wage war against drugs and terrorism. For this reason, it is important for conscientious citizens to be familiar with the lawful parameters of police authority to conduct searches, as well as the legal doctrines by which that authority is limited.

The Fifth Amendment: Self-incrimination Clause

“…No person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law…”

* The Supreme Court has made a new ruling that you must tell the police officer that you will NOT talk to him, you request a lawyer and then keep your mouth shut.

The right against self-incrimination has ancient roots in common law dating back to biblical times. While most provisions of the Fifth Amendment, such as the right to a jury trial and the right against double jeopardy, impose restrictions upon our courthouses, the right against self-incrimination has a profound effect upon the behavior of law-enforcement officers as they investigate crimes. For this reason, the meaning of the self-incrimination clause has remained one of the most controversial issues in criminal procedure since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona.

At this time, it is required by the Supreme Court that police inform all criminal suspects of their right to remain silent prior to interrogation. This right extends from the point of arrest throughout the suspect’s involvement in the criminal justice system. While many in the law-enforcement community feel that this restriction unfairly limits the ability of police and prosecutors to obtain convictions, studies have shown that conviction rates have not changed significantly since the Court first required police to inform those arrested of their right against self-incrimination.

The Sixth Amendment: Right to Counsel Clause

“In all criminal proceedings, the accused shall enjoy the right to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is a critical component of the Bill of Rights in that it provides the accused with an advocate who is trained in the legal process and can provide a safeguard against violations of the suspect’s other Bill of Rights protections. Interestingly, it was not until 1963 that the Supreme Court held that states must provide a lawyer for all felony suspects, ending disparities in legal representation based on economic class.

Today, all person charged with a serious crime in the United States enjoy the assistance of a defense attorney regardless of economic status. State-employed public defenders represent clients who cannot afford their own attorneys, and contrary to popular belief, achieve roughly equal outcomes for their clients as do the more expensive privately-hired lawyers.

The Relationship Between Self-incrimination and the Right to Counsel

Many Americans, particularly young people, have become cynical about police practices and our legal system. It is not uncommon to lose hope when arrested or even become angry at the officer or the law he is enforcing. It is an important reality however, that our legal system does provide services for the accused. It cannot be overstated how important it is to wait for legal advice before attempting to discuss a criminal charge with police. The subtleties of the legal process require careful decisions about what to say and how to say it. A lawyer will help you prepare for tough questions and can emphasize your positive qualities to the judge, including qualities you didn’t know you had.

The constitution includes protections for criminal suspects because the legal system is incredibly complex, involving rules and regulations that everyday people would not understand. If you are charged with a crime, take advantage of the protections the constitution gives you. Don’t talk to police about what happened until you have spoken with a lawyer and discussed how to present your side of the story.

News and Information at:

PoliceCrimes.com

This Site Has Been Online Since 2004

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Fourth Amendment Body Search Home Search You rights …

 Posted by at 6:44 am  Tagged with:

Eugenics in Virginia: Buck v. Bell and Forced …

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics in Virginia: Buck v. Bell and Forced …
Aug 042015
 

Photograph of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. [1.1] Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Buck v. Bell

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind Three generations of imbeciles are enough. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Writing for the majority in the Supreme Courts affirmative decision of the Buck v. Bell landmark case, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. described Charlottesville native Carrie Buck as the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted stating that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.

Current scholarship shows that Carrie Bucks sterilization relied on a false diagnosis premised on the now discredited science of eugenics. It is likely that Carries mother, Emma Buck, was committed to a state institution because she was considered sexually promiscuous, that the same diagnosis was made about Carrie when she became an unwed mother at the age of 17 due to being raped, and that her daughter Vivian was diagnosed as not quite normal at the age of six months largely in support of the legal effort to sterilize Carrie.

2004 Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

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Eugenics in Virginia: Buck v. Bell and Forced …

Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds
Apr 112015
 

April 10, 2015|4:46 pm

Protesters against U.S. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 28, 2012. The Supreme Court is set to deliver on Thursday its ruling on President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul, his signature domestic policy achievement, in a historic case that could hand him a huge triumph or a stinging rebuke just over four months before he seeks re-election.

When Evangelicals are exposed to arguments defending their own free speech and religious freedom, they become more accepting of extending similar rights to their political foes, a new study found.

“Rights, Reflection, and Reciprocity: How Rights Talk Affects the Political Process,” by political scientists Paul Djupe, Denison University; Andrew Lewis, University of Cincinnati; and Ted Jelen, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, will be presented this month at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

The researchers sought to understand if the recent culture war battles between sexual freedom and religious freedom (see, for example, here, hereand here) would lead to greater or lesser division and intolerance among the combatants. (This paper focuses on the conservative side but they suggest they will also be studying the liberal side.)

In an article for the political science blog The Monkey Cage, the authors explain that their research “has identified a fascinating silver lining [to those culture war battles]. We find that evangelical Christians who are exposed to claims about religious rights actually become more willing to extend First Amendment rights to their ideological opponents. That is, the campaign to reinforce religious liberty might actually increase political tolerance in the long run.”

(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)

Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, presenting “The Choice That Matters: Politics in the Role of Leaving Congregations,” at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Aug. 30, 2014.

The study used a survey experiment. A sample of 2,141 respondents, including 274 Evangelicals and 1,867 non-Evangelicals, were divided into groups exposed to different messages from hypothetical political candidates and clergy. These messages were about pro-life protestors, the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, teaching creationism, and a photographer declining to work at a same-sex wedding. Each group had messages based upon either morality, free speech, religious liberty, and a less specific message that was used as the control group. The study also used a number of control measures that are common in studies of tolerance education, ideology, political interest, gender, age, and democratic norms.

The respondents were also asked to identify which groups they either “like the least” or “disagree with the most” from among these options: immigrants, Tea Party members, Muslims, homosexuals, Christian fundamentalists, or atheists. For the full sample, the non-Evangelicals chose Christian fundamentalists as their least liked group, followed by the Tea Party. Evangelicals chose atheists as their least liked group, followed by Muslims and the Tea Party.

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Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Posted by at 6:41 am  Tagged with:

Backlash against religious freedom laws helps gay rights in Indiana, Arkansas

 Freedom  Comments Off on Backlash against religious freedom laws helps gay rights in Indiana, Arkansas
Apr 052015
 

What began 20 years ago as a bipartisan drive to protect the rights of people to follow their faith against an overbearing government erupted this week into a divisive dispute over gay rights and religious freedom.

And the fracture can be traced back to two recent moves by the Supreme Court that set up an unusual legal crosscurrent between liberals and conservatives.

By overturning a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, the court set in motion a string of rulings across the nation that voided state laws banning same-sex marriage. By this June, a majority of justices is widely expected to legalize gay marriage nationwide.

At the same time, the Supreme Court ruled in another case last year that the family owners of the Hobby Lobby craft-store chain had a religious-liberty right to refuse to offer contraception coverage for its employees.

So while the marriage ruling opened the door for expanded protections for gays and lesbians, the Hobby Lobby decision offered new tools for those opposed to such moves.

Conservatives applauded the 5-4 Hobby Lobby ruling, which was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Clinton in 1993. The law originally aimed to protect the Amish, Native Americans and others whose religious practices ran afoul of local or state laws says the “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

But the court’s conservative majority defined “person” to include profit-making companies. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking for the liberal dissenters, called it a “decision of startling breadth” that gives “commercial enterprises, including corporations” a right to ignore laws that conflict with their owners’ religious views.

Armed with the Hobby Lobby ruling and concerned that their statewide bans against same-sex marriage were in danger, conservative lawmakers in Indiana, Arkansas and other states adopted their own versions of the federal religious-freedom law.

Some conservatives hoped the 1993 law would protect religious-minded individuals and businesses from legal mandates on gay marriage that they said would violate their faith. The most commonly cited example was a religious baker who did not want to be forced to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Using the Hobby Lobby precedent, some states broadened the scope of the federal religious-liberty law which dealt with conflicts between the government and individuals and defined a protected person to include a business, company or corporation. That small change created a large concern.

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Backlash against religious freedom laws helps gay rights in Indiana, Arkansas

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U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure
Apr 022015
 

When the government places a location monitor on you or your stuff, it could be violating the Fourth Amendment.

If the government puts a GPS tracker on you, your car, or any of your personal effects, it counts as a searchand is therefore protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court clarified and affirmed that law on Monday, when it ruled on Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, before sending the case back to that states high court. The Courts short but unanimous opinion helps make sense of how the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, interacts with the expanding technological powers of the U.S. government.

It doesnt matter what the context is, and it doesnt matter whether its a car or a person. Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search, said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF).

In this case, that context was punishment. Grady was twice convicted as a sex offender. In 2013, North Carolina ordered that, as a recidivist, he had to wear a GPS monitor at all times so that his location could be monitored. He challenged the court, saying that the tracking device qualified as an unreasonable search.

North Carolinas highest court at first ruled that the tracker was no search at all. Its that decision that the Supreme Court took aim at today, quoting the states rationale and snarking:

The only theory we discern [] is that the States system of nonconsensual satellite-based monitoring does not entail a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. That theory is inconsistent with this Courts precedents.

Then it lists a series of Supreme Court precedents.

And there are a few, as the Court has considered the Fourth Amendment quite a bit recently. In 2012, it ruled that placing a GPS tracker on a suspects car, without a warrant, counted as an unreasonable search. The following year, it said that using drug-sniffing dogs around a suspects front porchwithout a warrant and without their consentwas also unreasonable, as it trespassed onto a persons property to gain information about them.

Both of those cases involved suspects, but the ruling Monday made clear that it extends to those convicted of crimes, too.

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U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

Supreme Court Rules Government GPS Trackers Can Break Fourth Amendment

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Supreme Court Rules Government GPS Trackers Can Break Fourth Amendment
Mar 312015
 

The Supreme Court has confirmed in a ruling that if the government places a GPS tracker on someone’s person or their belongings, the act counts as a searchsomething that remains protected by the Fourth Amendment.

As part of a case referred to as Grady v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court heard about how Torrey Dale Gradytwice-convicted as a sex offenderwas made to wear a GPS monitor at all times by North Carolina officials. In court, Grady challenged this, claiming it qualified as an unreasonable search. The Supreme Court agreed, explaining:

The only theory we discern [] is that the State’s system of nonconsensual satellite-based monitoring does not entail a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. That theory is inconsistent with this Court’s precedents.

It also listed some Supreme Court precedents to make its case, including a case where a tracker placed on a car without a warrant counted as unreasonable search. “It doesn’t matter what the context is, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a car or a person,” Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation, told The Atlantic. “Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search.”

Still, the Fourth Amendment takes poor account of digital technology generally, and courts have only ruled on a small number of cases involving GPS data. At some point, as Lynch points out to The Atlantic, the justice system will need to establish how geo-location datanow prolific in phones, cars, watches and moreis governed and protected. In the meantime, though, North Carolina better rethink its policy on issuing GPS trackers to sex offenders. [The Atlantic, Washington Post]

Image by Canned Muffins under Creative Commons license

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Supreme Court Rules Government GPS Trackers Can Break Fourth Amendment

 Posted by at 7:49 am  Tagged with:

Supreme Court strikes down S. 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 – Video

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Supreme Court strikes down S. 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 – Video
Mar 282015
 



Supreme Court strikes down S. 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000
In a landmark judgment delivered on March 24, 2015 the Supreme Court struck down section 66(a) of the IT Act holding that the same infringed on the rights of free speech protected by our Constituti…

By: NewsClickin

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Supreme Court strikes down S. 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 – Video

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Religious Freedom Bill Might Rile 2016 Race

 Freedom  Comments Off on Religious Freedom Bill Might Rile 2016 Race
Mar 272015
 

World News Videos | US News VideosCopy

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stirred fierce backlash from critics by signing a “religious freedom” law on Thursday, and he might have also shaken up the 2016 presidential race in the process.

The former congressman and potential 2016 presidential candidate signed into law a controversial state Senate bill that simply states the government can’t interfere with people and businesses exercising their religious beliefs. Religious freedom is already protected under the U.S. Constitution, and Pence posed the new law as an innocuous affirmation of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, against the mandate for employer-provided birth-control coverage under Obamacare.

Known as a social conservative, Pence has said he’s considering a White House run and will reportedly decide sometime this spring.

The bill has sparked intense backlash online, but it’s won a very important fan for Pence: Bob Vander Plaats, the noted Iowa-caucus kingmaker who heads up the FAMiLY Leader, a socially conservative group that exercises notable political influence in the critical primary-campaign state.

“I think it definitely boosts his credibility, not just with a group like ours, but for any freedom-loving American who wants to have a full-spectrum conservative in the White House,” Vander Plaats told ABC News.

Since Pence signed the bill, critics have lashed out at the governor online. Miley Cyrus posted a photo of Pence on Instagram, calling the governor an “a**hole.” Businesses reportedly lobbied against the bill, and Yelp’s CEO said it sets a “terrible precedent.”

Pence defended the law at a press conference on Friday after he signed it, saying it is “not about discrimination” and pointing to similar laws in other states, and to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law by president Bill Clinton. Pence said he thinks there has been a lot of “misunderstanding” surrounding the bill.

Critics see it differently. The bill “absolutely does” give a green light to discrimination, according to Jenny Pizer, national director of law and policy at Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal-defense and advocacy group.

“Many people take these bills as a message that the usual rules to not apply, and that other people should endure mistreatment if that is based on a religious motive,” Pizer said.

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Religious Freedom Bill Might Rile 2016 Race

The SACEUR responds as NATO readiness and speed of response is being questioned. – Video

 NATO  Comments Off on The SACEUR responds as NATO readiness and speed of response is being questioned. – Video
Mar 262015
 



The SACEUR responds as NATO readiness and speed of response is being questioned.
Gen. Phil Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, answers two questions about what NATO does to speed up its decision making processand to adapt to new forms of future conflicts, …

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The SACEUR responds as NATO readiness and speed of response is being questioned. – Video

Supreme Court upholds free speech on the net – Video

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Mar 262015
 



Supreme Court upholds free speech on the net
In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court strikes down the draconian Section 66(A) of the IT Act. It is a huge win for free speech in India, but ironically, the political parties that supported…

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Supreme Court upholds free speech on the net – Video

Yugoslav Army going to war against US/NATO imperialists, 1999. – Video

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Mar 252015
 



Yugoslav Army going to war against US/NATO imperialists, 1999.
In 23rd March of 1999, one day before US/NATO aggression against FR Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), after the order of Supreme Commander Slobodan Miloevi, Yugoslav Army started …

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Yugoslav Army going to war against US/NATO imperialists, 1999. – Video

Volokh Conspiracy: Federal court rejects Third Amendment claim against police officers

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Volokh Conspiracy: Federal court rejects Third Amendment claim against police officers
Mar 242015
 

Back in 2013, a lot of attention focused on a Third Amendment claim against Henderson, Nevada police officers. I wrote about the case here. The Third Amendment, which forbids the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owners consent, is often the butt of jokes because it is so rarely litigated. But in this case, a Nevada family claimed that local police had violated the Amendment by forcibly occupying their home in order to gain a tactical advantage against suspected criminals in the neighboring house.

In this recent ruling, federal district court Judge Andrew Gordon dismissed the Third Amendment claim [HT: VC reader Sean Flaim]. Although it occurred several weeks ago, the ruling seems to have gotten very little attention from either the media or legal commentators outside Nevada. That is unfortunate, because the ruling raises important issues about the scope of the Third Amendment, and its applicability against state and local governments. A Here are the key passages from the opinion:

In the present case, various officers of the HPD and NLVPD entered into and occupied Lindas and Michaels home for an unspecified amount of time (seemingly nine hours), but certainly for less than twenty-four hours. The relevant questions are thus whether municipal police should be considered soldiers, and whether the time they spent in the house could be considered quartering. To both questions, the answer must be no.

I hold that a municipal police officer is not a soldier for purposes of the Third Amendment. This squares with the purpose of the Third Amendment because this was not a military intrusion into a private home, and thus the intrusion is more effectively protected by the Fourth Amendment. Because I hold that municipal officers are not soldiers for the purposes of this question, I need not reach the question of whether the occupation at issue in this case constitutes quartering, though I suspect it would not.

This reasoning is very plausible and quite possibly correct. But it may too readily conclude that municipal police can never be considered soldiers for purposes of the Amendment. When the Amendment was enacted in 1791, there were virtually no professional police of the sort we have today. The distinction between military and law enforcement officials was far less clear than in the world of 2015. Moreover, many parts of the Bill of Rights were in part of inspired by abuses committed by British troops attempting to enforce various unpopular laws enacted by Parliament.

A second complicating factor is the increasing militarization of police forces in many parts of the country, which has resulted in cops using weapons and tactics normally associated with military forces. If a state or local government decides to quarter a SWAT team in a private home, it is not clear whether that is meaningfully different from placing a National Guard unit there.

In sum, Judge Gordon may well be right that the officers involved in this case are not plausibly considered soldiers under the Third Amendment. But he is too quick to conclude that no municipal police officer could ever qualify as such.

The issue of how long the soldiers (or militarized police) have to stay in a private home before their occupation of it qualifies as quartering is also a tough question. Without actually resolving the issue, Judge Gordon suspects that a 9 to 24 hour period is too short. I am not convinced. It seems to me that spending one night in the house does qualify as quartering, albeit for only a brief period. Just as the First Amendment covers even brief restrictions on freedom of speech and the Fifth Amendment requires compensation for the taking of even small amounts of private property, so the Third Amendment forbids even brief involuntary quartering of troops in private homes.

It is also worth noting that the Third Amendment is (along with the Seventh Amendment) one of the few parts of the Bill of Rights that has not yet been incorporated against state governments by the Supreme Court. Judge Gordon follows a 1982 Second Circuit decision in concluding that the Amendment does apply to state governments. I think that is almost certainly the right conclusion. Over the last few decades, leading scholars on different sides of the political spectrum have converged on the conclusion that the Fourteenth Amendment was originally understood to incorporate all of the individual rights protected by the Bill of Rights. It would be anomalous for courts to refuse to apply the Third Amendment to the states when almost all of the rest of the Bill of Rights does apply to them. A future Supreme Court decision on the subject would need to address the issue in more detail than Judge Gordon gives it here.

The difficult issues raised by the militarization of police forces suggest that it may be time to stop treating the Third Amendment as just a punchline for clever legal humor. Contrary to popular belief, there have been some egregious violations of the Amendment in the past, and we should not be too quick to assume such things wont recur.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Federal court rejects Third Amendment claim against police officers

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Madison’s Music – Video

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Mar 242015
 



Madison's Music
What if most of what we think we know about reading the text of the First Amendment is just wrong? For years, the Supreme Court has treated the First Amendment like a laundry list of isolated…

By: Tom McIntyre

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How the First Amendment affects your specialty license plate

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Mar 242015
 

GWEN IFILL: It was a busy day at the Supreme Court. The justices decided not to take up a voter I.D. case out of Wisconsin, and they heard arguments over the right to issue license plates in Texas that feature a Confederate Flag.

NewsHour contributor Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal was there again and joins me now.

Lets start by talking about this Wisconsin case. In 2011, it was a big deal, this idea that voters had to present photo I.D.s at the polls. And this was considered by Democrats to be voter suppression and by Republicans a chance to beat back voter fraud.

So now this gets to the Supreme Court, and they decided to end it?

MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: Not really.

They decided not to hear the Wisconsin case, so that leaves in place the lower court decision upholding Wisconsins law. But the court said nothing about the merits of the challenge to Wisconsins law. And, Gwen, right now, there are a number of other cases pending and moving up the pipeline that challenge other states voter I.D. laws, and, in particular, Texas and North Carolina.

Texas, there was a full-blown trial and the judge in that case found intentional racial discrimination by the state of Texas, unlike in Wisconsin. That case is now on appeal in the Fifth Circuit, and it is expected whoever loses will take it to the Supreme Court. So as of today, we really dont know how the justices think about some of these laws.

GWEN IFILL: But we know that, originally, this was put on hold not because of the merits of the case, but because it was too close to an election.

MARCIA COYLE: Exactly. Theres a court doctrine. The court doesnt like to see changes to election law shortly before elections.

The Wisconsin law was going to go in effect right before midterm elections. Now, today, the ACLU and other groups that have challenged Wisconsins law immediately went to the lower court to ask again that it be put on hold temporarily, because there is an April 6, I believe, election. And, again, they havent had time to implement the changes.

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How the First Amendment affects your specialty license plate

Justices struggle with free speech case over license plates

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Justices struggle with free speech case over license plates
Mar 242015
 

By MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a dispute over a proposed Confederate battle flag license plate, the Supreme Court struggled Monday to balance worries about government censorship and concerns that offensive messages could, at worst, incite violence.

Nearly 150 years after the end of the Civil War, the justices heard arguments in a case over Texas’ refusal to issue a license plate bearing the battle flag. Nine other states allow drivers to display plates with the flag, which remains both a potent image of heritage and a racially charged symbol of repression.

Specialty license plates are big business in Texas. They brought in $17.6 million last year and state officials said there are now nearly 450 messages to choose from, from “Choose Life” to the Boy Scouts and hamburger chains.

The state rarely rejects a specialty plate, but it did turn down a request by the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans for a license plate with its logo bearing the battle flag. The group’s lawsuit led to Monday’s hearing.

The justices seemed uncomfortable with arguments advanced by both sides – the state in defense of its actions, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans in their appeal for the symbol.

If the court finds the state must permit the battle flag on license plates, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked in a series of questions, would it be forced also to allow plates with a swastika, the word “jihad,” and a call to make marijuana legal?

Yes, lawyer R. James George Jr., a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall 45 years ago, responded each time on behalf of the veterans group.

“That’s okay? And ‘Bong hits for Jesus?'” Ginsburg said, reaching back to an earlier case involving students’ speech rights.

Again, George said yes, and remained firm even when Justice Elena Kagan added in “the most offensive racial epithet you can imagine.”

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Justices struggle with free speech case over license plates

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism