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.
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 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.
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 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?
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.)
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.