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.
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.
March 27, 2013 |
In his opinions on abortion and gay rights, Justice Antonin Scalia has taken an offensively narrow view of the Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws. But when it comes to the 4th Amendment's more specific protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, Scalia has been a strong voice for individual rights. That was the case again Tuesday. Writing for a 5-4 majority, Scalia came down hard on police in Florida who, without having obtained a warrant, deployed a drug-sniffing dog at a homeowner's front door.
October 30, 2004
Re "Chief Justice Has Thyroid Cancer," Oct. 26: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist gave us a gift. It sounds as though he will recover speedily and well, but his sudden illness brought to the forefront the pressing issue of judicial appointments that may occur during the next presidency -- appointments that could change the rights of Americans long into the future. There are seemingly many Americans, and reportedly most of them are women, who are still undecided as to how they will vote in this election.
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, 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.
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.
May 21, 2006
Re "Forget privacy: We need to spy more," Opinion, May 17 Fair enough; Let's start with Max Boot. In his next column, Boot should publish his home address, phone number, private e-mail address, Social Security number, driver's license number and some of his credit card numbers. My guess is that he won't do it. It's easy to say we need more spying until you realize that they're getting information on you and that information can be used or sold to your detriment. As a proud American, I will not support the abandonment of the 4th Amendment, but if Boot wants to, why doesn't he start by publishing his private information?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2001 |
Ours is a country in which you are ill-advised to be a fetus. The highest court in the land has ruled that you're a parasite, disposable at will, even when you're almost out of the chute. You're just an extension of your mother's whim. She can do whatever she likes with you. Her court-instituted right to "choose" trumps your right to live. Now, taking a new leap, the courts have decided that her right to privacy trumps your right to a clean bill of health.