January 21, 2002
Re "High Court Backs Agent Who Stopped Motorist," Jan. 16: The Supreme Court's decision holding that in policing the drug war, cops can stop drivers for such vague, ambiguous and common behavior as slowing down when they see a police car, not making eye contact or letting their children wave at a passing police car ought to be a warning siren to all Americans that the war on drugs is having a devastating impact on the rights and freedoms of everyone--not just...
April 2, 2012 |
The Supreme Court refused Monday to limit strip searches of new jail inmates, even those arrested for minor traffic offenses. Dividing 5-4 along ideological lines, the high court said jail guards needed the full authority to closely search everyone who is entering a jail in order to maintain safety and security. It would be “unworkable,” said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, to make an exception for persons who are arrested for minor offenses. County jails often must process hundreds of new inmates a day, he said.
December 15, 2009 |
The Supreme Court said Monday it would rule for the first time on whether employees had a right to privacy when they sent text messages on electronic devices supplied by their employers. The justices agreed to hear an appeal from the city of Ontario, which was successfully sued by police Sgt. Jeff Quon and three other officers after their text messages -- some of which were sexually explicit -- were read by the police chief. At issue is whether the chief violated their rights under the 4th Amendment, which forbids "unreasonable searches" by the government.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2001
According to "Justices Back Arrest for Not Using Seat Belt" (April 25), Justice David Souter opined that the history and tradition of the 4th Amendment show it was intended to shield the privacy of homes. Isn't it one of the benchmark premises of conservative judges that justices are not to legislate from the bench? That a literal reading of the printed word is their job? Well, a literal reading of the 4th Amendment is: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.
August 23, 2012
Re "A 21st century test: What's a 'search'?," Editorial, Aug. 20 Six months after Congress passed a law requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to ease restrictions on commercial drone use in U.S. airspace and two weeks after The Times published an article noting that the Department of Homeland Security is trying to accelerate the use of unmanned aircraft, an editorial points out the 4th Amendment dangers of cellphones and GPS technology....
April 9, 2009 |
John Yoo is a professor of law at UC Berkeley. This semester, he is my colleague -- as a visiting professor -- at Chapman University's School of Law. Yoo is also under investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general for his role in producing a number of controversial memorandums during his service in the department during the Bush administration. The memos include one stating that the president may authorize the torture of suspected terrorists. I am a former federal prosecutor.
January 25, 2012
By a surprisingly unanimous vote, the Supreme Court this week ruled that police must obtain a warrant before attaching a tracking device to a car or other vehicle. The decision is a welcome affirmation of the constitutional right to privacy in an era of advanced technology. But the majority opinion's rationale was needlessly narrow. Whether there is a broad right to freedom from new kinds of intrusive electronic surveillance remains to be answered. The case involved the conviction of Antoine Jones, a suspected drug dealer in the District of Columbia who was arrested after being monitored for 28 days by a global positioning system device surreptitiously attached to his Jeep by law enforcement agents without a warrant.
December 15, 2006
Re "Eyes on the ears," editorial, Dec. 12 Privacy is something given to us by the 4th Amendment. Yet the president himself confirmed that the National Security Agency has monitored many Americans without court order. So why is our government, whose job it is to uphold our Bill of Rights, violating this right? There needs to be stronger monitoring of NSA operations. The FBI, White House and all others involved admit to eavesdropping without court order, yet they cannot give us any type of report on how it is aiding their anti-terrorist efforts.
March 15, 2013 |
Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a tea party darling, evidently is so proud of his exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) during the Senate Judiciary Committee's session Thursday, he posted a video of it on YouTube. At issue was the constitutionality of S 150 , Feinstein's proposal to ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. As political theatrics go, it's pretty good: Cruz did that old courtroom-lawyer trick of asking a loaded question based on a false analogy and then challenging Feinstein to answer it. And he achieved the intended result: She came across as flustered and evasive, when she needed to point out how wrong Cruz's premise was. In fact, Cruz's query helps illustrate why Feinstein's approach is consistent with the Bill of Rights.
November 17, 2009
A man's home may be his castle, but few of us -- even celebrities -- have moats these days to protect our privacy. That was true long before the "bling ring" allegedly used the Internet to case the cribs of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Nor did thieves have to wait for the invention of Google maps to reconnoiter neighborhoods in search of easily accessible homes. That's worth remembering if, as we fear, some legislator decides that a law should be passed to prevent Internet surfers from looking at houses they easily could scope out from the sidewalk.