Tag: Supreme Court

Feds Say Mobile-Phone location data not ‘Constitutionally Protected’

By David Kravets
Photo: Atomic Taco/Flickr

The Obama administration told a federal court Tuesday that the public has no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in cellphone location data, and hence the authorities may obtain documents detailing a person’s movements from wireless carriers without a probable-cause warrant.

The administration, citing a 1976 Supreme Court precedent, said such data, like banking records, are “third-party records,” meaning customers have no right to keep it private. The government made the argument as it prepares for a re-trial of a previously convicted drug dealer whose conviction was reversed in January by the Supreme Court, which found that the government’s use of a GPS tracker on his vehicle was an illegal search.

With the 28 days of vehicle tracking data thrown out of court, the feds now want to argue in a re-trial that it was legally in the clear to use Antoine Jones’ phone location records without a warrant. The government wants to use the records to chronicle where Jones was when he made and received mobile phone calls in 2005.

US Supreme Court opens today with decisions that could change the face of America

By Warren Richey

The 2011-2012 US Supreme Court term, set to begin today, is best described by a case that isn’t even on the docket yet.

It now seems inevitable that the justices will agree to hear the legal challenge to President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.

The case, HHS v. Florida, would instantly transform the high court’s upcoming nine-month session from an interesting and important collection of legal disputes into an historic constitutional showdown with major political implications — in a presidential election year.

The legal challenge threatens one of President Obama’s most ambitious accomplishments, the attempted wholesale reformation of the health care insurance market to extend health insurance to millions of Americans who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Usually, the Supreme Court’s term is defined on the eve of the first Monday in October by the array of cases the justices have already agreed to hear and decide.

The unusual feature of the start of this year’s term is that the “Obamacare” case isn’t the only blockbuster looming on the high court’s horizon. In the weeks ahead, the justices are set to consider taking up a string of other potential landmark cases that could further transform the new term into a clash of constitutional titans. They include disputes examining:

Whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry a gun in public places for self-defense.

Whether the use of racial preferences in university admissions programs is unconstitutional.

Whether Arizona’s tough immigration law, SB 1070, is preempted by federal statutes and the more gentle policy positions embraced by the Obama administration.

Whether large crosses erected on public roadsides in Utah and a Ten Commandments display in an elected judge’s courtroom in Ohio violate the separation of church and state.

BLEEPING DIRTY WORDS ON TV In addition to that unprecedented cluster of potential mega-cases, the high court is already set to hear a dispute involving the power of the Federal Communications Commission to punish broadcast television stations for showing brief nudity or failing to bleep dirty words during prime time programming.

The case, FCC v. Fox Television, will examine whether the FCC’s indecency enforcement procedures violate the First and Fifth Amendments. At issue is the government’s attempt to police the public air waves to prevent not only obscene material, but also indecent communications offensive to a family-oriented audience.

State eyes ‘legal’ takeover of abandoned East Jerusalem properties

Pending court approval, government could assume control over properties of people who moved to enemy states during the War of Independence, as well as structures that belong to people now residing in the territories.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein recently informed the Supreme Court that the state plans to apply the law on abandoned properties to properties in East Jerusalem. This in effect will mean that Israel can “legally” take over thousands of acres and buildings worth hundreds of millions of shekels.

The state intends to assume control over properties of people who moved to enemy states during the War of Independence, as well as structures in East Jerusalem that belong to people now residing in the territories.

The East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan

Elena Kagan ‘outed’ as lesbian by Wall Street Journal softball picture

“Personally I think the newspaper, which happens to have the largest circulation of any in the US, might as well have gone with a headline that said, ‘Lesbian or switch-hitter?’.”
An American newspaper has been accused of attempting to “out” Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a lesbian by publishing a front page photograph of her playing softball.