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.
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.
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.
May 14, 2002
Regarding "Ashcroft's Gunslinger Style," editorial, May 10: What an outrage! Our U.S. Department of Justice actually has the gall to argue that the constitutional "right of the people to keep and bear arms" means that the people have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms! What will these wild-eyed gunslingers think of next? Maybe they'll completely flip out and decide that "the people" also have a 1st Amendment right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress, a 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and 9th and 10th Amendment rights to retain any other rights and powers not enumerated in the Constitution.
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.
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.)
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.
June 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A newly published court order has confirmed what key members of Congress said they had known for years - that the government had routine access to the dialing records for hundreds of millions of phone calls in the United States. The report raised new questions about secret surveillance and unchecked government power. Q: What information is being obtained? A: The order called it "metadata" that consisted of telephone numbers and the times and duration of calls, but not the contents of the phones calls or the names and addresses of those who owned the phones.