President Obama held a press conference on Sunday and promised to make reforms that would bring greater transparency to the government’s blatantly illegal surveillance and data mining programs. Those promises were as empty as every other promise he’s made on the subject.
Category Archive: Civil Liberties
Aug 13 2013
Aug 09 2013
Sen. Patrick Leahy was hoping to get a vote on a bill he proposed that would require a warrant instead of a mere subpoena before law enforcement could access our online communications, but an anonymous Republican senator put a hold on the bill to prevent that from happening.
Aug 07 2013
Though the Patriot Act and the FISA amendments were justified as necessary to stop terrorism, the reality is that they are more often used for mundane criminal investigations. Here’s a perfect example. The DEA is using massive amounts of surveillance data to launch drug investigations, but teaching local police to cover up where the information …
Aug 02 2013
Ten years ago the Supreme Court struck down state laws against sodomy in Lawrence v Texas, but word of that ruling seems not to have reached Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The sheriff there is still arresting people under that law even though the local prosecutor won’t press charges.
Jul 30 2013
Finally, a legal blow to our blatantly unconstitutional asset forfeiture laws. A federal judge has ordered the Nebraska State Police to return $1 million they seized from a couple on the grounds that it was drug-related, without ever charging, much less convicting them, of any crime.
Jul 30 2013
Glenn Greenwald reports on the behind-the-scene battle over an amendment that would have confined NSA data mining only to those who are actually under investigation rather than allowing them to collect massive amounts of data on all of us in the name of stopping terrorism. That amendment failed in the House, but the vote was …
Jul 29 2013
Rep. Justin Amash, a Tea Party Republican from Michigan but one that actually does care about civil liberties, tried to add an amendment to this year’s defense appropriations bill to prevent the NSA from using the Patriot Act to seize phone records of those who are not under investigation. The White House, a sizable number …
Jul 24 2013
Here’s another one of those situations that is absolutely appalling to pretty much everyone, regardless of political ideology, and yet government officials do it without a moment’s hesitation and can’t imagine why anyone would be upset by it. A prosecutor in Oklahoma hired a private company to seize hundreds of thousands of dollars during traffic …
Jul 23 2013
In the state of Pennsylvania, there is a ban on many forms of hunting on Sundays and a group of hunters are now challenging that law in federal court. They argue that the law violates the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution as well as the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Jul 22 2013
Jerome Corsi has a new book out that looks to be little more than yet another rehash of the whole litany of lies about the ACLU that we’ve been hearing from the right for decades. Faced with that lack of serious content, the Worldnutdaily is forced to make arguments like this to promote it. This …
Jul 15 2013
Rick Herzberg has an essay in the New Yorker discussing the most recent revelations on the NSA’s data mining programs. To say he shows an astonishing naivete for a guy who has been covering Washington politics, and writing intelligently about it, for as long as he has.
Jul 11 2013
- guest-blogged by W. Kevin Vicklund Judge John E. Jones III, made famous for his 2005 decision striking down Intelligent Design in the Dover, PA school district, is making the headlines again. He has been assigned a case, brought by ten couples and a widow, challenging Pennsylvania’s law banning marriage equality. The case is Whitewood …
Jul 10 2013
I do not recite the pledge of allegiance, ever. I don’t think you should either. And it isn’t just because it says “under God” or because it has clear fascist overtones to it. It’s also because it’s completely dishonest, as Bill Moyers explains far more eloquently than I ever could.
Jul 09 2013
I was not aware until recently how the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were chosen for that job, but as Ezra Klein points out they are appointed entirely by the Chief Justice, with no input from either the executive or legislative branches.
Jul 08 2013
Wait, a Third Amendment lawsuit? Yep. They’re pretty rare. The Third Amendment forbids the quartering of troops in the homes of citizens, something the British did when we were a colony. And a family in Nevada is suing the police for occupying his home.