The Government and Privacy

The government is continuing to misunderstand the import of the 4th Amendment’s stricture regarding searches, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects and especially Warrants…particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, and of the major purpose of our Constitution generally.

Even accepting things like Edward Snowden’s leaks and the NSA’s overbroad and non-particular descriptions of things for which to be “searched” in our cell phone metadata as being aberrations, the existence of the aberration demonstrates the fragility of government handling of that much searching capacity.

Privacy and the Government

This time, as represented by the FBI.

The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation urged Silicon Valley Thursday to reverse course on encrypting phone data, suggesting the pendulum on privacy issues “has swung too far” against the government in the wake of revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

No. It hasn’t swung far enough, as too many judges’ attitudes illustrate.

FBI Director James Comey added,

We also need a legislative and regulatory fix.

In Which the Florida Supreme Court Gets One Right

Police in Florida aren’t allowed to use a cellphone to track someone’s movements according to a sweeping new ruling from the Florida Supreme Court.

The court by a 5-2 vote ruled Thursday that authorities in Broward County had no right to stop and arrest Shawn Tracey for possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine.

The police had a warrant to tap his cell phone calls, but that warrant didn’t include authorization to use his cell phone to track him.

Another Excessive

…and a community responds.

An employee of a Mom and Pop hardware store in Cape Coral, FL, placed a half-dozen American flags where they could be seen on the hardware store’s property; the flags were to honor the man’s six relatives who were veterans of the United States military.

Foul. It turns out that the location was on city property—the right of way to the hardware store—and Cape Coral has an ordinance against planting signs and banners, including the American flag, on the city’s rights of way. The city ordered the man to move the flags.

Excessive

The Dearborn Heights District 7 Board of Education chose a less severe punishment for the honor student who was initially expelled after a pocketknife was found in her purse at a football game.

On Monday, after two hours of deliberation, the board voted 6-0 to allow [the high school senior] to take online classes. She then will be able to graduate with her class in 2015.

A lesser punishment than originally imposed? She still was punished, severely. Because zero tolerance. Because, the Board of Education persons claim, state law.

Another Reason for Smaller Government

Even with lives at stake—lives in the middle of a budding pandemic—Big Government bureaucracies are more interested in protecting turf and responsibility ducking than they are in their fundamental task of protecting American citizens’ safety from foreign problems.

Worse, one of the bureaucracies involved in this cynical ego-based Federal road block has nothing to do with the medical questions involved. First, the experts, at least by training and experience, if not by smooth performance:

The Left and “Free” Speech

On the matter of Common Core,

Employees of at least one school have been directed not to express opinions in public or by texts, email, social media or traditional media, according to notes taken at a faculty meeting last week that were obtained by The Town Talk.

[Rapides Superintendent Nason "Tony"] Authement said there is not a district policy about social media.

“We are not communicating any procedures, policies or expectations about posting on social networks,” he said.

Of course. Instead,

A Thought on Disparate Impact

Disparate impact is the theory that a policy, or standard, or… is inherently racist if it has an outcome that impacts one group of Americans more than it does other groups of Americans, regardless of any racist intent. If the standard simply affects one group more than another, it must be racist (sexist). Let’s take as an example for this article student discipline in our grade schools. Disparate impact says that discipline standards that result in more black students being disciplined than white students must be racist, even if the discipline is meted out to members of both groups for the same misbehavior, with either no exceptions or identical exceptions allowed.

Born in Jerusalem Means Born in Israel?

There is a case on the Supreme Court’s docket this session (which began Monday) that can be summarized thusly:

Born in Jerusalem: The case of an American born in Jerusalem who wants his passport to list his birthplace as Israel underlies a major dispute between Congress and the president, with Middle Eastern politics as the backdrop. The United States has never recognized any nation’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, believing the city’s status should be resolved in peace negotiations. The administration says a 2002 law passed by Congress allowing Israel to be listed as the birthplace of Jerusalem-born Americans would in essence be seen as a US endorsement of Israeli control of the city.

A Thought on Gerrymandering Congressional Districts

This is triggered by a summary of a case that’s before the Supreme Court in the just-started Court session.

Alabama redistricting: Democrats and black lawmakers contend that Republican leaders in Alabama drew a new legislative map that illegally packed black voters into too few voting districts to limit minority political power. Republicans say they complied with the law by keeping the same number of districts in which black voters could elect candidates of their choice.

This question should be irrelevant today.