Friday, June 11

Judge limits DHS laptop border searches | Politics and Law - CNET News

"A federal judge has ruled that border agents cannot seize a traveler's laptop, keep it locked up for months, and examine it for contraband files without a warrant half a year later."

Half a year? You think?
But wait... there's more.

"U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in the Northern District of California rejected the Obama administration's argument that no warrant was necessary to look through the electronic files of an American citizen who was returning home from a trip to South Korea."

"The Justice Department invoked a novel argument--which White dubbed "unpersuasive"--claiming that while Hanson was able to enter the country, his laptop remained in a kind of legal limbo where the Bill of Rights did not apply. (The Fourth Amendment generally requires a warrant for searches.)" (empahsis mine) "Until merchandise has cleared customs, it may not enter the United States," assistant U.S. attorney Owen Martikan argued. "The laptop never cleared customs and was maintained in government custody until it was searched...""

Someone at DoJ could do with a reread of the plain language of the 4th Amendment.

Thursday, June 10

EPA Climate Fight: Senate to Vote on Who Should Regulate Greenhouse Gases - ABC News

"The Senate today votes on a bill by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would overturn an EPA finding last year on the dangers of greenhouse gases, which in turn gave the agency the authority to regulate those pollutants (sic)."

Always nice when an agency can give authority to itself.

"The legislation could also affect the Obama administration's standards for the auto industry, which were based on the EPA's findings."

As well as to other agencies.
"Democrats said they expected a very close vote today. The bill, supported unanimously by Republicans, is unlikely to pass -- President Obama has threatened to veto it and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is unlikely to bring it up for a vote in the House -- but it has exposed frays among Democrats. Most importantly, it could threaten climate change legislation that proponents were hoping would gain steam after the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico."
A close vote expected on usurpation. How nice.

Watch the video. One reason we aren't successful in rolling back the 'soft tyrannies' is because we don't oppose them on principle. We continue to debate them on the "merits" which gives, in the instant case, SEN Boxer the leeway she needs to equate oil spill to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and generally cedes rhetorical ground on all fronts.

I want to Nominate this Town for an Award

Or at least their fire chief.  About the 1:13 mark he makes a statement about only relying on his own people.  Once upon a time, self-sufficiency was a valued quality in Americans.  Somewhere along the way we've become too used to surrendering to government, especially the Federal government, sitting back on our haunches and waiting to be rescued.

h/t:  Darleen at Protein Wisdom

Wednesday, June 9

Supreme Court Blocks Arizona Election Funding -

This is interesting.

"The Supreme Court, in an unusual move, came to the aid Tuesday of well-funded candidates in Arizona and blocked the state from giving extra public money to
those candidates who had agreed to forego private financing."
Essentially the law says that if a candidate agrees to public financing of their campaign and does not raise their own money, they can be given additional public funds to match what is spent by their opponent. A real world example:

"Gov. Jan Brewer was among those who were surprised by the high court's order. She called it "terribly troubling." A Republican, she is being challenged in the
Republican primary by Buz Mills, a wealthy businessman, who has already spent more than $2 million on his race.

Brewer had agreed to public funding and was to receive $707,000 for her campaign. She was also eligible to receive up to $1.4 million in extra matching funds because Mills, her opponent, had vastly outspent her. The Supreme Court's order means she will not receive the extra money later this month."
So the timing is troubling--the Court decision having an immeidate impact on a pending election.

Also troubling, I think, is the reasons given by the Court:

"It is the latest sign the high court's conservative bloc is skeptical of legal rules to limit election spending or to equalize the spending between wealthy and
not-so-wealthy candidates.
Two years ago, the court in a 5-4 decision intervened on a behalf of a wealthy candidate for Congress from upstate New York and struck down the so-called 'Millionaire's Amendment.' That measure, part of the McCain-Feingold Act, allowed a candidate to raise more money through larger donations if his opponent was spending lavishly. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. called it a 'drag' on the free-speech rights of the millionaire candidate because he was penalized for spending more on his race."
The Court has ruled here on similar First Amendment grounds.

But I don't think this is a free speech issue. I think we have a jurisdictional problem. This case should never have come before a Federal court. Arizona should be free to conduct its elections as it sees fit, to include financing issues. This underscores what's wrong with Incorporation Doctrine as a new example of Federal control over what was supposed to be the domain of the States.

H/T: Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom

Tuesday, June 8

This Cat Doesn't Mumble

I'll tell some tales, in time.