Contempt of Cop Activists range from hard-conservative gun rights types, who carry copies of the Constitution in their pockets, to left-leaning civil liberties advocates. In both cases, they triumphantly upload video trophies of their confrontations to the internet.
Quite a few show "checkpoint refusals" at roadblocks erected by police looking for drunken drivers, or by federal agents hunting illegal aliens. Courts here have held that police have the right to operate such stops. But the courts have also ruled that citizens are free to remain silent, and can refuse to allow searches and ignore orders to submit to "secondary inspections" unless police detain them — which requires the higher hurdle of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe an offence has been committed. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad
on Jan 20, 2014 -
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 6, 2013 -
In a 5-4 ruling on Salinas vs. Texas, the SCOTUS ruled that silence can be used in court. (PDF)
Without being placed in custody or receiving Miranda warnings, Genovevo Salinas voluntarily answered some of a police officer’s questions about a murder, but fell silent when asked whether ballistics testing would match his shotgun to shell casings found at the scene of the crime. During his trial in Texas state court, and over his objection, the prosecution used his failure to answer the question as evidence of guilt. He was convicted, and both the State Court of Appeals andCourt of Criminal Appeals affirmed, rejecting his claim that the prosecution’s use of his silence in its case in chief violated the Fifth Amendment.
Analysis on SCOTUSblog
posted by dukes909
on Jun 18, 2013 -
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 28, 2012 -
In a 32 page report to Congress [pdf]
President Obama concludes:
...the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent
with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require
further congressional authorization, because U.S. military
operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities”
contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision.
Now, the New York Times reports
that this legal opinion was reached by rejecting the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department. It is instructive to compare President Obama's actions
with those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz
on Jun 20, 2011 -
Right before the 10th anniversary
of the first same-sex marriage in Canada, Saskatchewan's highest court has ruled
that a proposed law allowing provincial marriage commissioners to refuse to wed same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
gives its thoughts on the decision and the social context surrounding it.
posted by Lemurrhea
on Jan 19, 2011 -
On August 30, 1978 a Polish airliner was hijacked
and redirected to Tempelhof airport in West Berlin. Torn between a policy of supporting defection and a recently-signed anti-hijacking treaty, the West German government ceded jurisdiction over the defendants to the United States government, which was still technically an occupying power and had an interest in the case because of the US Air Force Base at Tempelhof. The result was the one and only decision rendered by the United States Court for Berlin, United States v. Tiede
. [more inside]
posted by jedicus
on Jan 7, 2011 -
Today, on the last day of this year's term, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion
, the latest in the Court's line of decisions on Title VII
and the role of race in employment decisions. The famous case centers on white firefighters' claims of race discrimination
following the town of New Haven's decision to scuttle a promotion exam
after white test takers performed disproportionately better than black firefighters. [more inside]
posted by Law Talkin' Guy
on Jun 29, 2009 -
The Obama Justice Department has released
nine legal memos
from the Bush administration that assert broad extra-Constitutional powers for the president. The memos assert that both the First and Fourth Amendments may be subordinated to the needs of wartime. [more inside]
posted by EarBucket
on Mar 2, 2009 -
When Judges Make Foreign Policy.
"In a globalized, post-9/11 age, decisions made by the Supreme Court are increasingly shaping America's international relations. When the next justice is appointed, our place in the world may well hang in the balance."
posted by homunculus
on Sep 29, 2008 -
A very special 'This American Life
' about an administration with the endemic belief that laws only apply to the little people, and a limitless refusal to concede on even petty issues, no matter the costs. The highlight is about immigrant widows of US citizens (30:50). The program also discusses the constitutional beliefs of the presidential candidates. [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94
on Apr 2, 2008 -
A Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court in Vermont has ruled that a man allegedly caught with child pornography on his laptop need not reveal his PGP password (yes, authorities shut down the laptop and now can't get at the alleged porn) pursuant to the Fifth Amendment's protections against self incrimination. The decision is here
[PDF]. A decent write-up (from CNET of all places) is here
. This appears to be the first decision ever to directly address this issue, and many commentators had thought it would come out differently. The major question is whether revealing one's PGP key is "testimonial" or not. According to the Supreme Court
, giving up fingerprints or blood samples isn't, nor is standing for a lineup, nor is handing over the key to a safe, but if it's combination
safe, well maybe that's different
. Never let it be said that your Fifth Amendment rights are easy.
posted by The Bellman
on Dec 15, 2007 -
to gather information about Americans' phone records
--... the NSA had approached the company (Qwest) about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records.
...Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts. ...
-- The Administration's crimes and illegal spying on all of us and Quest's punishment for not going along with their plans.
posted by amberglow
on Oct 13, 2007 -
Constitutional Showdowns. Eric Posner
and Adrian Vermeule
analyze constitutional showdowns, ask what rate and level of showdowns would be socially optimal, and ask whether socially optimal showdowns will be supplied by government institutions acting to promote their policy preferences and institutional interests.
posted by dios
on Aug 10, 2007 -
A very big day for the Supreme Court. In Morse v. Fredrick
, the Court ruled that a school could suspend a child for holding up a "Bong HiTs for Jesus" banner. (Previous post here
). In Hein v. Freedom from Religion
, the Court held that taxpayers lacked standing to challenged Faith Based Initiatives (previous discussions
). In Wilke v. Robbins
, the Court held that land owners do not have Bivens claims if the federal government harasses landowners for easements. In FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life
, the Court held that the portion of the campaign finance law which had blackout periods before elections on issue advocacy advertising was an unconstitutional restriction of speech (other
). This Thursday, the Justices will deliver their last opinions of the term, including a death penalty case
and the school assignment cases
. (Opinions are .pdfs)
posted by dios
on Jun 25, 2007 -
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
Thankfully, the Supreme Court disagreed
, on June 12, 1967. Happy Loving Day
posted by caddis
on Jun 12, 2007 -
Public gatherings restricted? Check. Shutdown of independent businesses? Check. Lockdown on traffic and transportation in the area? You bet. Lawmakers in Baltimore trying to curb the city's homicide rate (already 108 this year) have come up with some "desperate measures"
of questionable constitutional legality, including heightening police presence in order to lockdown streets in "emergency areas." It has been called, "partial martial law" by some, and one has to wonder if the city of Baltimore may not do better to take a page from The Wire's Hamsterdam
for a solution to their inextricably linked drug and homicide issues.
posted by dead_
on May 17, 2007 -
The First Freedom Project
--new from the Dept of Justice, announced at the Southern Baptist Convention
along with a call for their help---specifically and only to protect the religious from discrimination against them. Many are not impressed: The administration has often ignored the importance of the no establishment principle by supporting attempts of governments to endorse a religious message, using tax dollars to fund pervasively religious organizations, allowing religious discrimination in hiring for federally funded projects, ...
Legal strategies and actions from groups like the Alliance Defense Fund
are now official DOJ policy, it appears. ...In his statement, Gonzales mentioned several cases litigated by ADF and its allies ...
posted by amberglow
on Feb 23, 2007 -
"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government."
Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms
on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans
, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
posted by Mr. Six
on Jun 26, 2006 -
...Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone ... President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. ...
Long, eyeopening article laying out what laws have been ignored and why. ...Bush has cast a cloud over 'the whole idea that there is a rule of law," because no one can be certain of which laws Bush thinks are valid and which he thinks he can ignore.
'Where you have a president who is willing to declare vast quantities of the legislation that is passed during his term unconstitutional, it implies that he also thinks a very significant amount of the other laws that were already on the books before he became president are also unconstitutional," ...
posted by amberglow
on Apr 30, 2006 -
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court held
in a 5-3 decision
(.pdf) that police may not search a home if any inhabitant of the home is present and objects to the search, even if another inhabitant consents. The Court drew what it acknowledged is a “fine line” – if a co-inhabitant is at the door and objects, the police can’t enter; but if the co-inhabitant is somewhere else – even in a nearby police car – and has no opportunity to object, then police don’t need his or her consent. Chief Justice Roberts issued his first written dissent, blasting the majority’s “random” and “arbitrary” rule and suggesting that the ability of police to respond to domestic violence threats could be compromised. The zingers in the footnotes
may reveal “strains behind the surface placidity and collegiality of the young Roberts court.”
posted by brain_drain
on Mar 23, 2006 -
The Forgotten Amendment: The story of the 27th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
Back in 1982, while doing research for a government class, UT Austin student Gregory Watson stumbled across an unratified constitutional amendment from 1789. Noticing that the amendment had had no time limit for ratification, Mr. Watson embarked upon a campaign to amend the U. S. Constitution.
Sadly, Watson only earned a "C" on his paper for government class, in which he'd argued the amendment was still viable.
posted by Dr. Zira
on Aug 27, 2005 -
So, what now?
He's an American citizen
who's spent 2½ years in custody - charged with no crime - without his lawer, access to due process, habeas corpus, etc.
He has no constitutional safeguards and can be held like that because the president says he can be held like that.
Who says the president has that power? The president does.
Could he have even made
a "dirty bomb?"
posted by Smedleyman
on Mar 2, 2005 -
A courageous decision
by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals [opinion
] finds that the President does not have the power to detain U.S. citizens captured on U.S. soil as enemy combatants (at least not until Congress tells him he can).
Normally, courts don't like to mess
with the President when it comes to national security and foreign affairs, so this is a noteworthy decision, particularly given the fact that there was even a decent legal precedent
supporting the Government's position.
posted by boltman
on Dec 18, 2003 -
AFGHAN DRAFT CONSTITUTION WORRIES CIVIL-SOCIETY ADVOCATES
Ah, the women. Again. I was unable to come up with some flash item to go with martinis so instead posted this. "The draft constitution of Afghanistan seeks stability in an ethnically diverse country whose infrastructure barely survived 22 years of constant war. It outlines a central government with a strong president and embraces principles of independent media and civil law. However, gaps in the draft worry advocates for women and for religious freedom. " And then there is the huge new opium crop.
posted by Postroad
on Nov 14, 2003 -