October 2, 2011
In the term that begins Monday, the Supreme Court will address issues as diverse as the limits of copyright law, the appeals process for owners of wetlands regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and whether the government of California can order reductions in Medi-Cal reimbursements. It is also likely that the court will rule on challenges to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derided by its critics as "Obamacare. " As is often the case, however, some of the most important cases on the court's docket involve individual rights.
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...
June 8, 2013
Re "Court goes too far on DNA," Editorial, June 4 The U.S. Supreme Court got it absolutely right in finding that it is constitutional for DNA to be collected at the time of arrest and checked against a national database of unsolved cases. The Times' claim that doing so violates an arrestee's 4th Amendment rights is off base. The 4th Amendment prohibits only unreasonable searches, and case law through the years has found it reasonable for law enforcement to collect a number of identifying traits at the time of arrest.
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.
June 9, 2013
Re "Feds tracking all U.S. calls," June 7 In her defense of the government's collection of data from nearly every phone call in the U.S., Senate Intelligence Committee head Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, "It's called protecting America. " I have always believed that the foremost duty of elected officials is to support and defend the Constitution. In this instance, the rights that need protection are guaranteed by the 4th Amendment: "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.
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.
February 16, 2014
Re "Obama's undiplomatic picks," Editorial, Feb. 13 It has been a crushing disappointment to this reader, who voted twice for Barack Obama, to follow instance after instance of our president's lack of insight, foresight or hindsight. But it isn't only his poor ambassador picks that trouble me. It started with the outrageous selection of two men - Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, who were instrumental in bringing about the changes that led to the financial meltdown - to manage our monetary policies.
December 30, 2012
If a law enforcement agency wants to examine your snail mail or the contents of your computer hard drive, it must obtain a search warrant, which means it must convince a judge that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed. But no warrant is required to obtain email or documents you have stored in a computer "cloud" so long as they are 180 days old. That would have changed under legislation recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee at the behest of its chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.)
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.