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Category Archive: Civil Liberties

Jul 25 2014

Paul, Booker Push Criminal Justice Reform

I’ve complained for years that Congress never tries to do anything to fix our unbelievably broken criminal justice system, mostly because there’s no moneyed constituency to pay them to do it. Rand Paul and Corey Booker are teaming up in the Senate with legislation that would at least be a tiny step in the right …

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Jul 16 2014

Durham Police Lie to Violate 4th Amendment

In Durham, North Carolina several police officers have been caught lying to people in order to gain illegal entry to search their homes. They’ve been telling people that they got a 911 call that never took place in order to get consent to search their homes.

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Jul 07 2014

Obama’s Terrible 4th Amendment Record

One could be forgiven for thinking, in 2008, that President Obama would be a marked improvement over President Bush when it comes to the privacy rights in the 4th Amendment. But one would be wrong. He may, in fact, be worse. He’s certainly been no better. A perfect example is the recent Supreme Court ruling …

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Jun 27 2014

The Supreme Court Got One Right!

Not only did the Supreme Court get a ruling exactly right, it did so unanimously. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Riley v United States that said police cannot search someone’s cell phone data during or after an arrest without a warrant.

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Jun 19 2014

AL Court Overturns Law SCOTUS Already Struck Down

An Alabama state appeals court has struck down that state’s ban on consensual gay sex, a law that was already overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 in Lawrence v Texas. Ala. Code 1975 says that any “deviate sexual intercourse” is illegal and that consent does not matter:

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Jun 10 2014

The Value of Edward Snowden

On the one-year anniversary of the first information reported based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, Paul Szoldra offers a handy roundup of all the things that we know about only because of his leaks to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. A few highlights:

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Jun 09 2014

Feds to Georgia: No Drug Testing Food Stamp Recipients

Several states have passed laws to drug test those who are on public assistance, but Georgia is the first to pass a law applying this to food stamp recipients. But since that is a federal program, the USDA has told Georgia that they cannot drug test as a condition for eligibility.

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Jun 04 2014

Elmira School District Gets It Right

After the American Humanist Association sent a letter to the Elmira school district in New York because a teacher berated a student for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance, the superintendent of that school district took swift action and told all teachers that students have a constitutional right not to do so.

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Jun 04 2014

The Difference Between Secular and Christian Advocacy Groups

The Center for Inquiry has been pushing for the release of Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman in Sudan who has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy for refusing to renounce her religion. They’ve started email campaigns and protests over it contacted the Sudanese embassy over it.

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Jun 03 2014

Stop and Frisk Comes to Florida

New York City is apparently not the only city in the country with a massive and racist stop and frisk program. Miami Gardens, Florida has a program that has stopped more than half that city’s residents — most of them young black men, of course — and frisked them without arresting them.

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Jun 02 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Right to Record Police

Another appeals court (I believe this is the third one) has ruled that there is a First Amendment right to video record the police when they’re on duty. This case involves a woman who started to record a traffic stop, was told to stop (and did) but then they demanded the camera to delete it.

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May 26 2014

House Passes Weak Bill to Restrain NSA

The House of Representatives passed a significantly weaker version of a bill to rein in the NSA’s blatantly unconstitutional data mining programs than was originally considered. The USA Freedom Act does contain some useful safeguards, but nothing remotely like what the 4th Amendment requires:

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May 25 2014

Feds to Record All Interrogations

In a huge and very important policy change, the Department of Justice has announced that all federal law enforcement agencies will now record their interrogations of suspects. This is a move that is crucial to making our criminal justice system more just and fair.

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May 20 2014

Ordinance Banning Sex Toys Challenged in Court

Two citizens of Sandy Springs, Georgia are challenging a local ordinance that forbids the sale of sex toys to anyone without a “medical, scientific, educational, legislative, or law enforcement” purpose. But the arguments they’re using don’t go nearly far enough, in my view.

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May 15 2014

Turek’s Absurd Conception of Rights

Christian apologist Frank Turek offers an argument we hear quite often from the Christian right. It’s in the context of same-sex marriage, but we hear it in many other contexts as well, pretty much any time someone is granted a right that they don’t think they ought to have.

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