Category Archives: Supreme Court
via Washington Times
Almost exactly 24 hours after Mr. Paul began his information-seeking filibuster against John O. Brennan, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham took to the Senate floor to denounce his demands and say he was doing a “disservice” to the debate on drones.
“The country needs more senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about,” said Mr. McCain, Republicans’ presidential nominee in 2008 — who topped Mr. Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, in that year’s primary.
And where Democrats praised Mr. Paul for using Senate rules properly to launch a filibuster, Mr. McCain said it was an abuse of rules that could hurt the GOP in the long run.
“What we saw yesterday is going to give ammunition to those who say the rules of the Senate are being abused,” the Arizona Republican said.
Mr. Paul said he was filibustering to get the administration to affirm it won’t kill non-combatant Americans in the U.S. — and his effort was joined by more than a dozen other senators who said they, too, supported his effort to get answers.
Mr. Graham said asking whether the president has the power to kill Americans here at home is a ludicrous question.
“I do not believe that question deserves an answer,” Mr. Graham said.
Mr. Graham and Mr. McCain led a Republican delegation that held a private dinner with President Obama on Wednesday, as Mr. Paul was holding the floor with help from other GOP colleagues.
Mr. McCain even joked about Mr. Graham’s “behavior” at the dinner.
“He was on his best manners and everyone was impressed,” Mr. McCain said.
- McCain And Graham’s @SenRandPaul Temper Tantrum (thecampofthesaints.org)
- IT’S WAR: John McCain And Lindsey Graham Are Tearing Into Rand Paul Right Now On The Senate Floor (businessinsider.com)
- Rush to Rand: ‘You’re a hero’ (wnd.com)
- McCain, Graham blast Paul filibuster (politico.com)
- Moronic: Sen. McCain blasts Sen. Paul’s filibuster as ‘political stunt,’ ‘ridiculous’ (twitchy.com)
- Rand Paul’s Drone Filibuster Sparks GOP Civil War (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
Sierra Adamson interviews Chris Hedges at the hearing for the second court of appeals in the Hedges v Obama NDAA lawsuit. Hedges explains what has happened in the lawsuit to date, the next steps and what he sees in America’s upcoming future.
How the FISA Amendments Act Allows for Warrantless Wiretapping, As Described By Supreme Court Justices
On [October 29, 2012] … the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Clapper v. Amnesty, an important case that will decide if the ACLU’s challenge to the FISA Amendments Act—the law passed in the wake of the NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal—can go forward. The Court will essentially determine whether any court, short of a government admission, can rule on whether the NSA’s targeted warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international communications violates the Constitution.1
In Clapper, the plaintiffs — journalists, human rights workers, and lawyers — filed the lawsuit because the statute prevents them from doing their job without taking substantial measures when communicating to overseas witnesses, sources and clients. EFF has previously explained how the FISA Amendments Act gives the government an unconstitutional license to read any emails or other electronic communications coming into and out of the United States. So let’s hear the Supreme Court Justices, in their own words, explain how invasive the law really is.
Here is how Justice Ginsburg, with an assist from ACLU deputy director Jameel Jaffer, explained how the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) gutted the traditional warrant requirements in FISA, along with the Fourth Amendment:
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Mr. Jaffer, could you be clear on the expanded authority under the FAA? As I understood it, it’s not like in [FISA], where a target was identified and…the court decided whether there was probable cause. Under this new statute, the Government doesn’t say who is the particular person or the particular location. So, there isn’t that check. There isn’t that check.
MR. JAFFER: That’s absolutely right, Justice Ginsburg…The whole point of the statute was to remove those tests, to remove the probable cause requirement, and to remove the facilities requirement, the requirement that the Government identify to the court the facilities to be monitored. So those are gone.
That’s why we use the phrase “dragnet surveillance.” I know the Government doesn’t accept that label, but it concedes that the statute allows what it calls categorical surveillance, which…is essentially the surveillance that the plaintiffs here are concerned about.
As Justice Kagan stated succinctly, “this statute greatly expands the government’s surveillance power. Nobody denies that.”
MORE . . .
- How the FISA Amendments Act Allows for Warrantless Wiretapping, As Described By Supreme Court Justices (activistpost.com)
- Fight over FISA Amendments Act Moves to the Senate, as the House Passes the Broad, Warrantless Spying Bill (rubinoworld.com)
- How the FISA Amendments Act Allows for Warrantless Wiretapping, As Described By Supreme Court Justices (eff.org)
- Fact Checking Obama’s Misleading Answer About Warrantless Wiretapping on The Daily Show (eff.org)
- House approves another five years of warrantless wiretapping (rubinoworld.com)
By David Kravets via Wired.com
Supreme Court justices [met] privately Friday (11/9/12) to weigh whether they will hear a major genetic-privacy case testing whether authorities may take DNA samples from anybody arrested for a serious crime.
The case has wide-ranging implications, as at least 21 states and the federal government have regulations requiring suspects to give a DNA sample upon arrest. In all the states with such laws, DNA saliva samples are cataloged in state and federal crime-fighting databases.
The issue confronts the government’s interest in solving crime, balanced against the constitutional rights of those arrested to be free from government intrusion.
The case before the justices concerns a decision in April of Maryland’s top court, which said it was a breach of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure to take DNA samples from suspects who have not been convicted.
The Maryland Court of Appeals, that state’s highest court, said that arrestees have a “weighty and reasonable expectation of privacy against warrantless, suspicionless searches” and that expectation is not outweighed by the state’s “purported interest in assuring proper identification” of a suspect.
Maryland prosecutors argued that the mouth swab was no more intrusive than fingerprinting, (.pdf) but the state’s high court said that it “could not turn a blind eye” to what it called a “vast genetic treasure map” that exists in the DNA samples retained by the state.
The court was noting that DNA sampling is much different from compulsory fingerprinting. A fingerprint, for example, reveals nothing more than a person’s identity. But much more can be learned from a DNA sample, which codes a person’s family ties, some health risks and, according to some, can predict a propensity for violence.
- The Supreme Court Is Going To Decide If Cops Can Collect DNA Without A Warrant (businessinsider.com)
- Supreme Court to Review DNA Law (blogs.wsj.com)
- Pivotal DNA Privacy Case Gets Supreme Court Hearing (wired.com)
- Supreme Court Weighing Genetic Privacy (wired.com)
- Supreme Court Weighing Genetic Privacy (blacklistednews.com)
by Garret Ean via FreeConcord.org
An article in the Washington Post that has been widely syndicated discusses how the collection of evidence by the use of drug detector dogs will be considered by the united states supreme court. Two cases are pending on the docket, both from Florida, which question the effectiveness as well as the constitutionality of canines for drug detection use. The article cites studies from the University of California at Davis in which 18 police canine teams were sent through a facility and tasked with finding hidden drugs. Though there were no drugs in the facility, 17 of the teams reported alerts. Barry Cooper, former police officer and producer of the Never Get Busted educational film series has discussed his own manipulation of police canines while he was working as one of the most successful narcotics interdiction detectives. Anyone who has owned a dog knows that their life revolves around serving their pack leader. There are no objective standards or testing done of the animals to demonstrate their effectiveness. In a 2005 case, former supreme court judge David Souter stated that the infallible dog “is a creation of legal fiction”.
Last year, the Florida supreme court had thrown out a case from 2006 which featured questionable probable cause for a search after a police dog sniffed and acted playfully. Judge Barbara Pariente wrote:
Courts often accept the mythic dog with an almost superstitious faith…The myth so completely has dominated the judicial psyche in those cases that the courts either assume the reliability of the sniff or address the question cursorily; the dog is the clear and consistent winner.
The reliability of drug detector dogs will always be tainted by the bias of the canine’s handler. Drug interdiction officers often become personally interested in finding larger quantities of drugs. Though the dog is a simple animal, its social awareness is in some ways more attuned than that of a human. It detects the subtle body language of its handler, and its desire to please them is the likely cause of most false alerts. Bearing this in mind, it would make more sense to have the drug detector dogs handled by individuals who are not personally invested in the drug war and who seek recognition among their peers for how much contraband they can confiscate. Previous supreme court cases have held that officers do not even need reasonable suspicion of illegal drug possession to initiate a drug dog sniffing of a vehicle during a traffic stop. Thus, the dogs are used without any accountability metric aside from that officers wanted to use them.
Grants and requests for canine unit funding by police continue to be popular despite their expense and unproven track record. There should be no surprise there, as many people would jump at the chance to be employed to play with a cute animal and occasionally give it cars and purses to sniff.
- Will Supreme Court turn up its nose at dog sniffs? (news.yahoo.com)
- Supreme Court Considers Two Drug Dog Cases (huffingtonpost.com)
- Canine as a search warrant? SCOTUS to debate dogs vs Fourth Amendment (rt.com)