Privacy rights

  • August 1, 2014

    by Ellery Weil

    The New York Times Editorial Board discusses a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board general counsel which found McDonald’s jointly responsible for the treatment of its workers at all of its franchises and argues that this should spur an increase in wages for fast food workers.

    Writing for SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denniston reports that challengers of the provision of the Affordable Care Act which provides subsides to those who obtain health insurance via the federal exchange are rushing their case to the Supreme Court, after two federal appellate courts delivered opposite rulings on the issue last month..

    At Politico, Laura W. Murphy compares attempts to reform the National Security Agency in the wake of revelations about the scope of its spying to successful efforts to limit the disparities in drug sentencing born from the War on Drugs.

    Benjamin Wittes writes at Lawfare about the CIA inspector general’s report regarding alleged hacking of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) staff files and records by the CIA.

  • May 14, 2014
    At The New York Times, Charlie Savage discusses why the Obama administration is being accused of ignoring “statements it made to the Supreme Court about warrantless surveillance.”
     
    Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a stay of the execution for Robert 
    James Cambell due to his intellectual disability. Mark Berman at The Washington Post reports on what “would have been the eighth execution in Texas and the 21st execution in the country so far this year.”
     
    The Court of Justice of the European Union issued a ruling yesterday that experts say “could force Google and other search engines to delete references to old debts, long-ago arrests and other unflattering episodes.” The Associated Press addresses the implications of the court’s decision.
     
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is calling for the impeachment of Arkansas Judge Christopher Piazza who struck down the gay marriage ban that Gov. Huckabee signed into law 17 years ago. Mario Trujillo at The Hill has the story.
     
    Writing for The Daily Beast, Daniel I. Weiner discusses “the worst campaign finance ruling” since Citizens United
  • May 8, 2014

    Critics of the Roberts Court assert that its recent trend of opinions have favored increasing restrictions on minorities. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall explains why an examination of the high court’s decisions in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, Shelby County v. Holder and Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, reveals a “Supreme injustice.”
     
    As the Supreme Court prepares to address the recess appointment dispute in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, Victor Williams at The Huffington Post reminds Justice Scalia of “his former, much broader view of originalism in the context of presidential appointment authority.”
     
    The Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California and American Broadcasting Co. v. Aereo, Inc. “may significantly alter the way we capture, store, and consume information (Aereo) and the extent to which we can expect privacy with regard to, or control, that information (Riley).” Writing for the Brennan Center for Justice, Victoria Bassetti addresses whether the justices are “tech literate enough to get these cases right.”
     
    Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to amend the USA Freedom Act which “would require the National Security Agency to get case-by-case approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before collecting the telephone or business records of a U.S. resident.” Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has the story.
     
    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is facing criticism for her decision to bypass the state Supreme Court’s stay in the execution of Clayton Lockett. Jamelle Bouie at Slate  argues that “Lockett’s execution was a horrifying display—a cruel and unusual death that wouldn’t have happened without Mary Fallin.” 

     

  • April 30, 2014
    Guest Post
    by Alex Kreit, Associate Professor of Law and ACS Co-Faculty Advisor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Chair, ACS San Diego Lawyer Chapter
     
    Yesterday, the Supreme Court considered what the Fourth Amendment requires when the police want to search an arrestee’s cell phone. The outcome will depend on how the Court applies an old rule to new technology—a challenge that is likely to recur in the years to come as smartphones, cloud computing and tools like license plate readers change both the way we store information and the government’s ability to collect and analyze it.
     
    Before the police can search your home or property, they need a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement. One well-established exception is the so-called “search incident to lawful arrest” doctrine. This rule says that the police can search an arrestee without a warrant, simply on the basis of the arrest. The rationale for this exception is that an arrestee might have a weapon on them or try to destroy evidence after they’re arrested. Plus, because an arrestee is being taken into custody, she has a reduced expectation of privacy.
     
    Until recently, this exception was relatively uncontroversial. It meant that the police could look through an arrestee’s pockets, wallet or purse for weapons, drugs or other evidence—something they would be very likely to do anyway while booking the person back at the station.
     
    But how should this rule apply now that we carry our “entire lives on cell phones,” as Justice Kagan put it during oral argument? Should the government be able to rummage through the cell phone of every single person they arrest for hours or days without a warrant? Or, should a different rule apply to phones?
     
  • April 30, 2014

    Last night, the Oklahoma execution of Clayton D. Lockett was “halted when the prisoner, began to writhe and gasp” in a horrific scene, which had onlookers witnessing “agonizing suffocation and pain.” Lockett suffered a fatal heart attack after the botched lethal injection attempt which used untested compounded drugs. Erik Eckholm at The New York Times reports on this troubling story while Andrew Cohen at The Atlantic highlights its grave implications. According to Cohen, “what happened last night was the inevitable result of a breakdown in government in Oklahoma, where frustration at the continuing delay in the resolution of Lockett's case blinded state officials to the basic requirements of due process. From these officials' perspectives, the fight over this man's fate seemed to be personal, rather than a dispassionate exercise in bureaucracy.”   
     
    Peter Williams at NBC News reports on yesterday’s Supreme Court oral argument in Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, suggesting that “the court could allow police to search phones for evidence in serious crimes but not to rummage through them in minor ones.”
     
    Writing for Reuters, Lawrence Hurley explains why the high court handed “President Obama a victory on Tuesday by upholding a federal environmental regulation requiring some states to limit pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states.”
     
    At Balkinization, David Fontana discusses Bruce Ackmerman’s “We the People” trilogy and how understanding “where American constitutional change comes from” can help us “better understand many unique features of constitutional order [in] the United States.”