David Bernstein says Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “has an independence and authority that frees her to be outspoken without getting alienated. She can embarrass the Barack Obama administration for failing to send bankers to jail without fear. She can also react with righteous outrage when I asked about Obama’s recent support of ‘chained Consumer Price Index (CPI),’ which liberals view as a cut to Social Security benefits. When I suggest that most brand-new senators would not undercut their own party’s president that way, she responds: ‘Better I should say this now, than wait to have anybody surprised about it later on.’”
Just to preempt certain criticisms, yes this policy was started by GW Bush. However that has little relevance so many years later. The Obama administration continued and now owns the policy. Fortunately the judges saw the light of civil liberty being protected from search without cause. Now the administration should accept the decision in good grace and change policy accordingly. I for one am not holding my breath. I expect Holder will appeal at his bosses insistence.
A federal appeals court for the first time ruled Friday that U.S. border agents do not have carte blanche authority to search the cellphones, tablets and laptops of travelers entering the country — a “watershed” decision in the court’s own terms and one at odds with the policies of the President Barack Obama administration.
The ruling by a divided 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the most significant privacy decision in the digital age following the Supreme Court’s ruling last year requiring authorities to get warrants to place GPS tracking devices on suspects’ vehicles. Under Friday’s ruling, for the first time digital devices are granted limited relief from the so-called “border search exception” of U.S. law that allows international travelers — including U.S. citizens and their luggage and vehicles — to be searched for any reason as they enter the country.
“A person’s digital life ought not be hijacked simply by crossing a border. When packing traditional luggage, one is accustomed to deciding what papers to take and what to leave behind,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote (.pdf) for the 8-3 court. “When carrying a laptop, tablet or other device, however, removing files unnecessary to an impending trip is an impractical solution given the volume and often intermingled nature of the files. It is also a time-consuming task that may not even effectively erase the files.”
Citing week-old Supreme Court precedent, the President Barack Obama administration told a federal judge Wednesday that it should quash a federal lawsuit accusing the government of secretly siphoning Americans’ electronic communications to the National Security Agency without warrants.
The San Francisco federal court legal filing was in response to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White’s written question (.pdf) to the government asking what to make of the high court’s Feb. 26 decision halting a legal challenge to a once-secret warrantless surveillance project that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications — a program that Congress eventually legalized in 2008 and again in 2012.
In that case, known as Clapper, the justices ruled 5-4 that the American Civil Liberties Union, journalists and human-rights groups that sued to nullify the FISA Amendments Act had no legal standing to sue. The justices ruled (.pdf) the plaintiffs submitted no evidence they were being targeted by that law.
The FISA Amendments Act authorizes the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
IMHO this is a sad day. Clearly this administration has no more regard for civil protections and limits to surveillance than George Bush on a bad day. For all that has gone better with this administration, this rather large wart on his legacy will remain regardless of the outcome of medical reform or the economy.
A divided Supreme Court halted a legal challenge Tuesday to a once-secret warrantless surveillance project that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications, a program that Congress eventually legalized in 2008 and again in 2012.
The 5-4 decision (.pdf) by Justice Samuel Alito was a clear victory for the President Barack Obama administration, which like its predecessor, argued that government wiretapping laws cannot be challenged in court. What’s more, the outcome marks the first time the Supreme Court decided any case touching on the eavesdropping program that was secretly employed in the wake of 9/11 by the President George W. Bush administration, and eventually codified into law twice by Congress.
A high court majority concluded that, because the eavesdropping is done secretly, the American Civil Liberties Union, journalists and human-rights groups that sued to nullify the law have no legal standing to sue — because they have no evidence they are being targeted by the FISA Amendments Act. Some of the plaintiffs, which the court labeled “respondents,” are also journalists and among other things claimed the 2008 legislation has chilled their speech and violated their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said standing should have been granted. He said that the spying, “Indeed it is a s likely to take place as are most future events that commonsense inference and ordinary knowledge of human nature tell us will happen.”