The Supremes Get One Right

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that authorities generally need a search warrant before they can obtain broad access to data that shows the location of cellphone users, a decision that sets privacy boundaries in the digital age.
The court, in a 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, cited the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee to be free from unreasonable government searches.

And

We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier’s database of physical location information[.]

Yewbetcha.

The Pope

…gets another one wrong.  If he was accurately quoted by ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, an Italian news agency) and by the SIR agency of the Italian bishops’ conference—or by CRUX, which claims the quotes—that is.  They quoted him as

denouncing the pre-natal tests that can result in parents choosing to terminate a pregnancy if the fetus is malformed or suffering other problems.

The Pope is aiming his fire at the wrong target.  Families intending to have the baby rather than abort it could benefit from pre-natal tests that find that the “fetus is malformed or suffering other problems.”  Such foreknowledge would give the family months in which to prepare financially, emotionally, physically, to join/generate support groups, all to increase the family’s ability to receive and nurture the baby.

Privacy!?

You ain’t got no privacy.  You don’t need any stinking privacy!

Using facial recognition software in combination with image storage houses like drivers license databases can be highly useful in tracking down criminal suspects.

But the combination can be highly dangerous, too, as this attitude by Joseph Michael, Washington County Deputy State’s Attorney in Maryland, demonstrates:

the expectation of privacy ends when you sit down and smile at the government desk.

Pinellas County (FL) Sheriff Bob Gualtieri argued

Cynical Union

Recall President Donald Trump’s Executive Order limiting the amount of time public union employees can spend doing union business during their work day.

The American Federation of Government Employees has demurred and gone into court to seek an injunction blocking enforcement of the EO.  AFGE General Counsel David Borer insisted

We will not allow this or any other administration to trample on the Constitutional rights of federal workers[.]

This cynical claim is based on Borer’s insistence that his members’ freedom of association right is violated by the EO.

This, of course, is nonsense.

Most of What They Wanted

Recall that, in a breathtaking attack on Italy’s democracy, the nation’s President Sergio Mattarella vetoed formation of the coalition government that hard-Left 5Star Movement and hard-Right League, as the two winners of Italy’s elections, had formed because Mattarella didn’t like the coalition’s choice for Economics Minister, Paolo Savona.  Mattarella held Savona personally unacceptable over the latter’s disdain for the euro and for the European Union.

A Concept of Privacy

Personal privacy and protections against warrantless searches got a boost from the Supreme Court earlier this week.

The Supreme Court said Tuesday that police need a warrant to search vehicles parked at private homes, the second time this month the justices rejected government arguments for expanding the “automobile exception” to Fourth Amendment rules against unreasonable searches.

The case at hand involved a stolen motorcycle parked in the driveway of a private residence and protected from the elements (and perhaps (even probably) from being seen by police) by a tarp.  A police officer recognized from Facebook postings the residence, saw the fact of a motorcycle under the tarp, entered the property, lifted the tarp, and looked over the motorcycle—all without a warrant.

Free Speech

…British style.  There is a trial in progress in Leeds (northern England, a bit up the road northeast of Manchester) concerning a

Muslim gang on trial for raping and grooming hundreds of victims, some as young as eleven.

Tommy Robinson, a British activist-journalist, was arrested and hauled off to prison for the heinous crime of reporting information about the defendants—public information, mind you.

British media are forbidden from reporting on certain trials….

The rationalization is that reporting might taint the jury.  Because some juries are more easily tainted than other juries on other trials.  Cue Bill the Cat.

A Tenth Circuit Speculator

The Institute for Justice summarized a 10th Circuit case regarding a car involved in an immediately prior weapons case, its driver, and a weapon thusly:

Aurora, CO, police run tags on car with broken tail light, discover the car was seized three weeks earlier in weapons-possession case and a man (a known gang member) associated with the car was arrested. They pull it over; the man is in it; they frisk him and find a gun. He’s charged with being a felon in possession. Suppress the evidence? No need, says the 10th Circuit. Though he was calm and compliant, officers were justified in patting him down to ensure their safety.
Dissent: The gov’t is going to use this decision to justify frisks in a much broader variety of circumstances than the ones here.

Felons and Voting

In general, felons have no voting rights—it’s part of their punishment for having committed their crimes.  There also are growing movements to restore voting rights to felons—they are, after all, US citizens.  (I’m eliding here felons who aren’t citizens; they have no voting rights to restore.)

It’s a debate worth having, but a couple of misunderstandings need to be cleared up first.  These misunderstandings are illustrated in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

As the midterm elections draw closer, Dameon Stackhouse is eager to cast a ballot, but he can’t under New Jersey law because he remains on parole after more than a decade behind bars for second-degree robbery.

Free Speech of the Left

Recall Kanye West’s remarks supporting President Donald Trump, even though he disagrees with Trump on a number of questions, and West’s further remarks saying that 400 years of slavery was a choice—and his follow-on statement that the latter remark was “just an idea.”  Just an idea that Americans who happen to be black don’t all have to think alike—they’re as free to think and speak their own minds rather than engaging in Left-approved group think as any other American.

In a clear demonstration of West’s point, we get this from a pair of denizens of the Left: