The Supreme Court of the United States said Wednesday that police officers must have a warrant before searching the cell phone contents of an individual under arrest.
In a unanimous ruling announced early Wednesday, the high court settled two cases surrounding instances in which law enforcement officials scoured the mobile phones of suspects in custody and then used information contained therein to pursue further charges.
“The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested,” the Supreme Court ruled.
“Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience,” the court continued. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.”
Orin Kerr, a Georgetown University law professor who focuses primarily on computer cases, wrote Wednesday morning on his Washington Post-hosted blog that the court’s decision was “a big win for digital privacy.” Continue reading »
- Steve Marsh GM Contamination Case Fails in Australian Supreme Court (Global GMO Free Coalition, May 29, 2014):
Global GMO Free Coalition Media Comment: 28/05/2014
Western Australian farmer Steve Marsh (#IamSteveMarsh) has lost a landmark case which could have protected his organic status, after his property was contaminated by GM canola from a neighbouring farm.
The verdict was handed down Wednesday and can be found here: http://www.supremecourt.wa.gov.au/_files/Judgment%20Summary%20-%20Marsh%20v%20Baxter%20(CIV%201561%20of%202012)%2028%20May%202014.pdf
Marsh, an organic farmer from Kojonup, south of Perth, Western Australia, lost organic certification for most of his farm when GM canola contaminated his crop. He took action by suing his neighbour Michael Baxter in the Supreme Court of WA, in a landmark world’s first trial which started earlier this year. Continue reading »
- Supreme Court refuses to stop indefinite detention of Americans under NDAA (RT, May 1, 2014):
The United States Supreme Court this week effectively ended all efforts to overturn a controversial 2012 law that grants the government the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without due process.
On Monday, the high court said it won’t weigh in on challenge filed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and a bevy of co-plaintiffs against US President Barack Obama, ending for now a two-and-a-half-year debate concerning part of an annual Pentagon spending bill that since 2012 has granted the White House the ability to indefinitely detain people “who are part of or substantially support Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States.”
The Obama administration has long maintained that the provision — Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 — merely reaffirmed verbiage contained within the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, signed by then-President George W. Bush in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Refuses to Hear Hedges v. Obama Case
The US Supreme Court has further enhanced the administration’s ability to detain anyone, at any time, on any pretext today, when it refused to hear the Hedges v. Obama case, meaning an Appeals Court ruling on the matter will stand.
The case stems from a 2012 lawsuit brought by Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky and others, and sought to block the enforcement of a 2012 National Defense Authorization Act statute that allows the president to unilaterally impose indefinite detention on anyone, without access to courts, if he personally believes something they did “aided” the Taliban or al-Qaeda.
- Feds Beg Supreme Court to Let Them Search Phones Without a Warrant (Wired, April 23, 2014):
American law enforcement has long advocated for universal “kill switches” in cellphones to cut down on mobile device thefts. Now the Department of Justice argues that the same remote locking and data-wiping technology represents a threat to police investigations–one that means they should be free to search phones without a warrant.
In a brief filed to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in the case of alleged Boston drug dealer Brima Wurie, the Justice Department argues that police should be free to warrantlessly search cellphones taken from suspects immediately at the time of arrest, rather than risk letting the suspect or his associates lock or remotely wipe the phone before it can be searched.
- Obama’s First-Amendment Defense of Political Liars (Washington’s Blog, April 18, 2014):
By Eric Zuesse
President Obama, through his U.S. Solicitor General, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court, has now stated that lying in political campaigns isn’t merely protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, but that it is an especially protected form of speech, which must not be hindered by any state government, such as by the state of Ohio. Ohio has outlawed such intentional deception of voters, and has established heavy criminal penalties against it, when it can be proven. The idea behind this law is that any democracy in which lying in political campaigns isn’t penalized by severe penalties, won’t remain a democracy much longer, but will instead descend into a kleptocracy: theft of elections themselves (via lies), so that they become just nominal “elections,” which are controlled by whatever aristocrats can put up the most money, to lie the most effectively, to the biggest number of voters: lying-contests.
Added: Apr 8, 2014
The Supreme Court declined to take a case challenging the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of metadata. Plaintiff Larry Klayman won his case challenging the NSA in a lower court, but wanted the Supreme Court to hear the government’s appeal of the decision. This would have avoided the normal but more lengthy appeals process in lower courts. The decision by the high court does not mean that they won’t hear the case in the future. RT’s Ameera David examines this decision and other challenges to the NSA working their way through the courts.
- Supreme Court Rules Police May Search A Home Without Obtaining A Warrant (ZeroHedge, Feb 27, 2014):
If the most disturbing, if underreported, news from yesterday, was Obama’s “modification” of NSA capabilities, which contrary to his earlier promises, was just granted even greater powers as phone recording will now be stored for even longer than previously, then this latest development from the Supreme Court – one which some could argue just voided the Fourth amendment – is even more shocking. RT reports that the US Supreme Court has ruled that police may search a home without obtaining a warrant despite the objection of one occupant if that occupant has been removed from the premises. With its 6 to 3 decision in Fernandez v. California on Tuesday, the Court sided with law enforcement’s ability to conduct warrantless searches after restricting police powers with its 2006 decision on a similar case.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Police Department sought suspect Walter Fernandez, believed to have stabbed someone in a violent gang robbery. When police first arrived at the suspect’s home, they heard yelling and screaming before Fernandez’s live-in girlfriend Roxanne Rojas answered the door, appearing “freshly bruised and bloody,” and with an infant in hand, according to argument recap by SCOTUSblog.
- Supreme Court Makes Big Decision On When Cops Can Enter Your Home (Huffington Post, Feb 25, 2014):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police may search a home without a warrant when two occupants disagree about allowing officers to enter, and the resident who refuses access is then arrested.
The justices declined to extend an earlier ruling denying entry to police when the occupants disagree and both are present.
- Former Supreme Court Justice Wants to Change the Second Amendment for Our “safety and wellbeing” (The Daily Sheeple, Feb 23, 2014):
In his new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, former (thankfully) Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens outlines the six Constitutional Amendments that he would like to see changed.
According to the book’s description on his website, Stevens outlines “six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens.”
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.
- Supreme Court To Decide If Warrant Needed To Search Cellphone (NPR, Jan 17, 2014):
The U.S. Supreme Court is delving into the technology-versus-privacy debate, agreeing to hear two cases that test whether police making an arrest may search cellphones without a warrant.
The court’s announcement Friday that it would take the cases came just hours after President Obama outlined his proposals to address government retention of citizen phone data as outlining reforms at the National Security Agency.
The court said it would hear arguments, likely in April, in two cases with conflicting decisions from the lower courts.
- Supreme Court May Move To Rein In President Obama’s Trampling Of The Constitution (ZeroHedge, Jan 13, 2014):
It would appear that there is even a limit for the Supreme Court as to what they will allow President Obama to get away with:
- *OBAMA’S RECESS APPOINTMENTS QUESTIONED BY U.S. SUPREME COURT
As Bloomberg reports, justices across the ideological spectrum questioned whether President Barack Obama complied with the Constitution when he appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board during a Senate break.
U.S. Supreme Court justices suggested they may curb the president’s power to make temporary appointments without Senate approval, as the court took up a constitutional standoff between the White House and congressional Republicans.
YouTube Added: Nov 14, 2013
Obamacare Will Be Going Back To Supreme Court!
Obama Unconstitutional Obamacare Fix – Insurance Industry Group: Fix Could Destabilize Market Judge Napolitano
- Same-Sex Marriages in New Jersey Can Begin, Court Rules (New York Times, Oct 18, 2013):
Same-sex couples can start marrying on Monday across New Jersey, after the state’s Supreme Court denied Gov. Chris Christie’s attempt to block the weddings and suggested that he will have a difficult time winning an appeal of a lower-court ruling that allowed them.A state Superior Court judge ruled last month that the state had to allow same-sex marriage to comply with two decisions: the United States Supreme Court ruling in June that same-sex married couples have the same rights to federal benefits as heterosexual married couples, and a 2006 ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court that same-sex couples were entitled to all of the rights and benefits of marriage. Continue reading »
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
- Americans Have Lost VIRTUALLY ALL of Our Constitutional Rights (ZeroHedge, Oct 17, 2013):
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right. (This is an updated version of an essay we wrote in February. Unfortunately, a lot of information has come out since then.)
The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press: Continue reading »
Tags: 1984, Big Brother, Bill of Rights, Civil liberties, Civil rights, Constitution, Dictatorship, Eighth Amendment, Fascism, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom, George Orwell, Global News, Guns, Indefinite Detention, Japan, Law, NDAA, New World Order, Ninth Amendment, NRA, NSA, Second Amendment, Seventh Amendment, Sixth Amendment, Society, Supreme Court, Surveillance, Tenth Amendment, Terrorism, Third Amendment, U.S.
- This is What Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Thinks About Your Privacy Rights… (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Sep 26, 2013):
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke yesterday at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) Titans breakfast gathering in McLean, Virginia. He discussed the fact that prior to a Supreme Court decision in 1967, there were no constitutional prohibitions on wiretaps because conversations were not explicitly granted privacy protection under the Fourth Amendment. He goes on to imply that he thinks it was better before such privacy rights existed. According to the AP:
Scalia said that before the court’s 1967 opinion on wiretapping, the high court held the view that there were no constitutional prohibitions on wiretaps because conversations were not explicitly granted privacy protection under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against Americans against unreasonable search and seizure of “their persons, houses, papers, and effects.”
But he said then the Warren court stepped in and found that “there’s a generalized right of privacy that comes from penumbras and emanations, blah blah blah, garbage.”
Blah, blah, blah garbage is how a Supreme Court Justice describes privacy protections. Protections that may have prevented FBI surveillance against Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon and countless other activists. Remember that: All My Heroes Have FBI Files. Continue reading »
- Obama administration asks Supreme Court to allow warrantless cellphone searches (Washington Post, Aug 19, 2013):
If the police arrest you, do they need a warrant to rifle through your cellphone? Courts have been split on the question. Last week the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue and rule that the Fourth Amendment allows warrantless cellphone searches.
- Generic drug companies granted total immunity against all lawsuits from patients harmed by side effects (Natural News, July 10, 2013):
You may want to think twice before taking any more generic copies of brand-name pharmaceutical drugs, thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling that effectively eliminates manufacturer liability in injury cases resulting from negative side effects. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court recently overturned a $21 million judgment awarded to a New Hampshire woman injured by a generic pain drug, declaring in the process that generic drug manufacturers cannot be sued when the drugs they produce injure patients.
Since generic drugs are mere replicas of brand-name drugs that, at one time, were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “safe,” generic drug manufacturers are exempt from being held liable in the event of injuries caused by harmful side effects. This is the opinion of the majority of the Supreme Court anyway, which has now made it that much harder for members of the public to seek remedy for injuries caused by pharmaceutical drugs.
According to Reuters, the ruling affects lawsuits filed under state law, which allegedly conflict with federal regulatory guidelines as they pertain to safety approval for brand-name drugs. When it comes to federal versus state law, federal always tends to win these days, which means the big boys in the drug industry basically get to call all the shots. And if you are injured by a drug, in this case a generic drug, well then tough luck for you.
- Meet the Secret Supreme Court of the United States (Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 7, 2013):
This program, by the way, is fully overseen not just by Congress, but by the FISA Court — a court specially put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch, or government generally, is not abusing them, and that it’s being carried out consistent with the Constitution and rule of law.
- President Barack Obama on June 7, 2013 (transcript here)
Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case — the government — and its findings are almost never made public. A Court of Review is empaneled to hear appeals, but that is known to have happened only a handful of times in the court’s history, and no case has ever been taken to the Supreme Court. In fact, it is not clear in all circumstances whether Internet and phone companies that are turning over the reams of data even have the right to appear before the FISA court.
- From the July 6, 2013 New York Times article: In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.
One of the most incredible things that has occurred in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks has been President Barack Obama’s laughable attempt to justify the spying by claiming the process has judicial oversight, as he did in the quote above. What he fails to mention of course is the fact that the FISA court that signs off on all these activities is a secret court, the opinions of which are never made public. Does he think the American public is so brain-dead it is incapable of recognizing the difference between a regular court of law and a secret one? Apparently he does. For those of you that have yet to get up to speed on America’s “parallel Supreme Court,” which also disturbingly happens to constructs its own laws, please read the article below from The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.
In what is likely to cause a storm of controversy, the Supreme Court ruled against the 17-year-old anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act:
- *DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT PROVISION STRUCK DOWN BY TOP U.S. COURT
- *SUPREME COURT VOTES 5-4 ON U.S. DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT
- *COURT SAYS MARRIAGE LAW VIOLATES EQUAL PROTECTION GUARANTEE
Kennedy: DOMA “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples”
Scalia: “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition,”
“DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”
Full Timeline of Gay Marriage (via Global Post):
Following is a timeline of important events in the history of gay marriage in the United States. Continue reading »
- Sanity prevails: US Supreme Court rules that human genes are not eligible for patent protection (Natural News, June 13, 2013):
In a unanimous ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that human genes cannot be patented. The ruling invalidates the thousands of patents that have already been granted on human genes, including the patent by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA breast cancer genes which the company says no one else can research or even detect without paying it a royalty. Click here to read the complete ruling.
“Myriad did not create anything,” said Justice Clarence Thomas. “To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.”
Well, exactly. This point should have been obvious to the lower courts, too, but in today’s world of corporate domination over seemingly everything, gene industry lawyers were able to argue that patent protection would somehow inspire more innovation and research. “The biotechnology industry had warned that an expansive ruling against Myriad could threaten billions of dollars of investment,” wrote Reuters.
- Supreme Court Standoff Next? ACLU Sues Obama Over Constitutionality Of NSA Surveillance (ZeroHedge, June 11, 2013):
If the constitutional scholar was hoping he would quietly avoid a major showdown over the constitutionality of the biggest spying scandal since Nixon (whether legal or not remains to be determined) and which would likely have led to an early POTUS retirement if current president was republican, the ACLU just slammed the door shut on the possibility. Moments ago, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its “dragnet” collection of logs of domestic phone calls, contending that the once-secret program is illegal and asking a judge to both stop it and order the records purged. And, as the NYT reports, “the lawsuit, filed in New York, could set up an eventual Supreme Court test.” Only once that happens it will be too bad that InTrade is no longer available, to take the other side of a trade that believes the SCOTUS will for once do the right thing and preserve the constitution when everyone knows the decision to formally enact a Big Brother state will pass along political party lines and America will officially become the country that for 5 decades, at least superficially, it was waging “cold war” against.
The program began as part of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 programs of surveillance without warrants, and, it is now known, it has continued since 2006 with the blessing of a national security court, which has ruled in still-secret legal opinions that such bulk surveillance was authorized by a section of the Patriot Act that allows the F.B.I. to obtain “business records” if they are relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.
- GMO and the Corporate Patenting of Living Organisms: Monsanto’s Patents on Life (Global Research, March 1, 2013):
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a seed patent infringement case that pits a small farmer from Indiana, 75-year old Vernon Hugh Bowman, against biotech goliath Monsanto. Reporters from the New York Times to the Sacramento Bee dissected the legal arguments. They speculated on the odds. They opined on the impact a Monsanto loss might have, not only on genetically modified crops, but on medical research and software.
What most of them didn’t report on is the absurdity – and the danger – of allowing companies to patent living organisms in the first place, and then use those patents to attempt to monopolize world seed and food production.
The case boils down to this. Monsanto sells its patented genetically engineered (GE) “Roundup Ready” soybean seeds to farmers under a contract that prohibits the farmers from saving the next-generation seeds and replanting them. Farmers like Mr. Bowman who buy Monsanto’s GE seeds are required to buy new seeds every year. For years, Mr. Bowman played by Monsanto’s rules. Then in 2007, he bought an unmarked mix of soybeans from a grain elevator and planted them. Some of the soybeans turned out to have been grown from Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready soybean seeds. Monsanto sued Mr. Bowman, won, and the court ordered the farmer to pay the company $84,000. Mr. Bowman appealed, arguing that he unknowingly bought soybeans grown from Monsanto’s seeds, not the seeds themselves, and that therefore the law of “patent exhaustion” applies.
The press and public have fixated on the sticky legal details of the case, and the classic David vs. Goliath nature of the fight. But win or lose, Mr. Bowman’s predicament is part of a much bigger problem.
- GMO fail: Monsanto foiled by feds, Supreme Court, and science (Grist, Feb 15, 2013):
It’s been a good week if you enjoy a little GMO schadenfreude. The FDA has reportedly bowed to public pressure to extend the comment period on its approval of genetically engineered salmon, and Illinois, Maryland, and Iowa are the latest states to buck GMOs by introducing labeling bills into state legislature.
Even the Supreme Court has an opportunity to take Monsanto down a peg. On Feb. 19, the court will hear arguments in a patent infringement case between an Indiana farmer and Monsanto (I covered it in detail here). If Monsanto prevails, it’ll move a few more paces towards agricultural monopoly; if it loses, the company will take a couple steps back. It’s encouraging that the Supreme Court chose to hear the case over the solicitor general’s urging to dismiss it, but Monsanto could have an inside man: As in other Monsanto-related cases, former Monsanto-lawyer-turned-Supreme-Court-Justice Clarence Thomas has no plans to recuse himself.
But GMOs took the biggest punch this week from academia: Tom Philpott highlights a USDA-funded study [PDF] by University of Wisconsin scientists who found that several types of GMO seeds (including Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready varieties) actually produce a lower yield than conventional seeds. Only one seed — a corn that produces its own pesticide to combat the corn borer — offers any significant yield benefit. In other words, planting most genetically modified seeds results in less harvest per acre than planting non-genetically modified seeds.
The researchers looked at 20 years of data from test plots in Wisconsin from 1990-2010, both on research plots and on plots in participating farmers’ fields. Philpott flags a key point from the study: Continue reading »
- Indiana soybean farmer sees Monsanto lawsuit reach US supreme court (Guardian, Feb 9, 2013):
Who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground? A 75-year-old farmer takes the agricultural giant to court to find out
As David versus Goliath battles go it is hard to imagine a more uneven fight than the one about to play out in front of the US supreme court between Vernon Hugh Bowman and Monsanto.
On the one side is Bowman, a single 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who is still tending the same acres of land as his father before him in rural south-western Indiana. On the other is a gigantic multibillion dollar agricultural business famed for its zealous protection of its commercial rights.
Not that Bowman sees it that way. “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong,” Bowman told The Guardian in an interview.
- Must Watch Video: Is the NDAA Lawsuit Headed to the Supreme Court? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 7, 2013):
The NDAA lawsuit is one of the key topics I have written about over the past year or so. For those of you that aren’t up to speed, one of the most popular posts I ever wrote was NDAA: The Most Important Lawsuit in American History that No One is Talking About. Basically, Section 1021 of the NDAA allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charges or a trial. Journalist Chris Hedges and several others sued Obama on the grounds of it being unconstitutional. Judge Katherine Forrest agreed and issued an injunction on it. This was immediately appealed by the Obama Administration to a higher court, which promptly issued a temporary stay on the injunction.
Yesterday, oral arguments began in front of this aforementioned higher court; the 2nd Circuit. As Chris Hedges states in the interview below, if they win the case then it will likely be brought in front of the Supreme Court within weeks. On the other hand, if the Obama Administration wins and the Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, Hedges states: “at that point we’ve just become a military dictatorship.”
To get a full update on the progress of the NDAA lawsuit make sure to watch this video.
Tags: Barack Obama, Bush administration, Chris Hedges, Constitution, Dictatorship, Exxon, Fascism, George Bush, Global News, Goldman Sachs, Government, Law, Middle East, Military, NDAA, New World Order, Obama administration, Politics, Raytheon, Society, Supreme Court, U.S., War
- Pakistani Supreme Court orders arrest of prime minister in corruption case (CNN, Jan 15, 2013):
Islamabad — The Pakistani government came under attack from two angles Tuesday as the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the country’s prime minister and a rowdy anti-government rally took place near the national parliament.
Even by the standards of Pakistan’s often turbulent politics, it was a stormy day that ratcheted tensions ahead of national elections later this year.
The Supreme Court, which has clashed repeatedly with Pakistan’s political leaders in recent years, issued the arrest order for Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and a number of other officials over allegations of illegal payments for electricity generating projects when Ashraf was minister for water and power.