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Fourth Amendment

Supreme Court to Los Angeles: No, Business Owners Don't Forfeit Their Fourth Amendment Rights

Evan Bernick | Posted 06.23.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

In upholding the rights of the challengers in City of Los Angeles v. Patel, the Supreme Court sent an unmistakable message: You don't forfeit your Fourth Amendment rights when you go into business.

Freedom from the PATRIOT Act

Ivan Eland | Posted 06.01.2015 | World
Ivan Eland

Many Americans have been heard to mimic the media's disdain for partisan gridlock in Washington, but because Congress and the president often do the wrong thing, it's often better when nothing is done.

An Error-Riddled Tirade

Bruce Fein | Posted 05.26.2015 | Politics
Bruce Fein

There may be more uninformed or misleading detractors of Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) and the impending expiration of section 215 of the Patriot Act than Andrew C. McCarthy, but if there are, they do not readily come to mind.

Is the Fourth Amendment Irrelevant to Law Enforcement? Three Ways Courts Can Make It Matter

Evan Bernick | Posted 05.18.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

What can be done to ensure that police officers are held accountable for Fourth Amendment violations? The only way to ensure police officers are appropriately sanctioned for violating people's rights and victims are made whole is consistent judicial engagement.

Federal Appeals Court to Police Officer: No, You Can't Slap Cuffs on Peaceful Gun Owners

Evan Bernick | Posted 05.14.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

Every part of Shawn Northrup's midsummer evening walk with his wife, daughter, grandson, and dog was legal -- including the holstered handgun he openly carried on his hip. But that was not enough to keep Northrup from being disarmed, handcuffed, and threatened with arrest by a police officer.

Unprecedented, Unwarranted, Unlawful: Federal Appeals Court Holds NSA Data Collection Illegal

Evan Bernick | Posted 05.08.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

What does it mean for "tangible things" to be "relevant" to an "authorized investigation"? The government argued that this language authorized the NSA to collect metadata if at any future time the records might become "relevant" to an "authorized" criminal investigation.

Friday Talking Points -- Free Ponies Getting Into the Weeds

Chris Weigant | Posted 06.24.2015 | Politics
Chris Weigant

The obvious choice for this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week is none other than America's new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. Lynch was finally confirmed by the Senate in a 56-43 vote.

Supreme Court to Justice Department: No, the Fourth Amendment Is Not a 'Useless Piece of Paper'

Evan Bernick | Posted 06.21.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

Monday's decision, with its insistence upon individualized suspicion, is a welcome return to first principles. Public officials are our servants, not our masters, and they must be held accountable for the responsible exercise of the limited authority delegated to them.

Kick Open the Doorway to Liberty: What Are We Waiting For?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 06.08.2015 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

I'm having a hard time reconciling the America I know and love with the America being depicted in the daily news headlines, where corruption, cronyism and abuse have taken precedence over the rights of the citizenry and the rule of law.

How DNA Is Turning Us Into a Nation of Suspects

John W. Whitehead | Posted 05.09.2015 | Crime
John W. Whitehead

With such a powerful tool at their disposal, it was inevitable that the government's collection of DNA would become a slippery slope toward government intrusion.

Private Police: Mercenaries for the American Police State

John W. Whitehead | Posted 05.05.2015 | Crime
John W. Whitehead

Whatever scant protection the weakened Fourth Amendment provides us dissipates in the face of privatized police, who are paid by corporations working in partnership with the government.

Supreme Court Upholds Auto Stop With No Traffic Violation

Marjorie Cohn | Posted 04.01.2015 | Politics
Marjorie Cohn

The court, in Heien v. North Carolina, continued its steady erosion of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Indeed, since 2000, the court has decided 13 cases that significantly weaken the Fourth Amendment's guarantee.

Justice Sotomayor: Stop Bending the Constitution to Favor Cops

Evan Bernick | Posted 03.28.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

Americans expect and deserve a level playing field every time they seek justice in our courts. Our nation was founded on the principle that public officials possess only delegated (and therefore limited) powers, and they must be held accountable for the responsible exercise of those powers.

Police Can Basically 'See' Inside Your Home With Radar

The Huffington Post | Simon McCormack | Posted 01.20.2015 | Crime

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have quietly acquired technology that allows them to essentially "see" inside people's houses, and they're d...

Remembering 'The Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment'

The Marshall Project | Ken Armstrong | Posted 12.10.2014 | Politics

By Ken Armstrong for The Marshall Project, a non-profit news organization that covers the U.S. criminal justice system. For more information --- and a...

How We Are Clicking Away Our Constitutional Rights

Burke E. Strunsky | Posted 02.01.2015 | Politics
Burke E. Strunsky

You may assume that some evidence of lawlessness is a prerequisite for a government official getting ahold of a gift-wrapped package containing the digital "you," but the reality is that the law is not there yet.

Voiceprints: Time to Be Afraid Again

Peter Van Buren | Posted 01.17.2015 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

What can be accessed can be collected. What can be collected can be stored. What can be stored can be leaked, hacked, shared and used. What can be used, well, can be used. Now, next Sunday, be a nice son or daughter and call your mom to say hello. Just be sure to speak slowly and clearly.

Google's Eric Schmidt: Robin Hood or the Big Bad Wolf?

Mark Weinstein | Posted 01.11.2015 | Technology
Mark Weinstein

Google has it all, which is way too much. Actually, it's downright frightening just how much. Do we want to live in a society where everything we do, 24/7, is monitored by corporations like Google?

Citizenfour and the Need for Judicial Engagement in Protecting Our Privacy

Evan Bernick | Posted 12.30.2014 | Politics
Evan Bernick

There is a remarkable moment in the new Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour that shows why we need judges to take their duty to uphold the Constitution seriously.

Apple and Google Are Right. The FBI Is Wrong.

Chris Weigant | Posted 12.27.2014 | Politics
Chris Weigant

Does this mean some criminals will be able to hide from the cops? Yes. Yes, it will. But it will also mean that cops can't just root around in your data and trample any citizen's rights for no reason -- which is precisely what the Constitution intended.

Local Law Enforcement Chipping Away at the Fourth Amendment

Peter Van Buren | Posted 12.24.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the People from their government. That's quite literally becoming history today as new challenges, now from local law enforcement, chip away at the Fourth Amendment's protections of privacy.

Posse Comitatus and the Fourth Amendment

Peter Van Buren | Posted 11.26.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

In perhaps a tiny but significant decision, an appeals court ruled federal authorities had shown "a profound lack of regard for the important limitations on the role of the military in our civilian society" when they allowed the U.S. Navy to scan the computers of every citizen in the state of Washington fishing for evidence.

Watch Lists and the First and Fourth Amendments

Peter Van Buren | Posted 11.25.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

Ray McGovern was put on the State Department's Diplomatic Security Be On the Look Out list-- one of a series of proliferating government watch lists. What he did to end up on Diplomatic Security's dangerous persons list and how he got off the list are a tale of our era, Post-Constitutional America.

E.O. 12333: End-Running the Fourth Amendment

Peter Van Buren | Posted 11.23.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

In Post-Constitutional America (2001-Present), the government has taken a bloody box cutter to the original copy of the Constitution and thrown the Fourth Amendment in the garbage.

David Lohr

Cops Deliberately Shot Woman's Dog 15 Times: Lawsuit

HuffingtonPost.com | David Lohr | Posted 07.23.2014 | Crime

The Michigan attorney representing a woman whose dog was fatally shot by police officers late last year said he believes the shooting was premeditated...