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Fourth Amendment

We Must Fix This Major Glitch in Constitutional Law Immediately

Seth Abramson | Posted 11.11.2015 | Crime
Seth Abramson

#BlackLivesMatter is a just and vital political tool in the fight against police brutality. The problem is that it reduces to a matter of race a series of legal scenarios that are about race but also -- in addition -- a problem with the Fourth and Fifth Amendments that prosecutors and judges have done nothing whatsoever to remedy.

Hollowing Out Civil Rights Law: Supreme Court Signs Off On 'Shoot First, Think Later' Policing

Evan Bernick | Posted 11.10.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

The question of whether ordinary Americans have any meaningful civil recourse against officers who violate their rights has taken on pressing importance. On Monday, in an appalling decision, the Supreme Court effectively answered "no."

Sotomayor Says SCOTUS Has 'Shoot First, Think Later' Approach To Cop Violence

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 11.10.2015 | Politics

The Supreme Court for a number of years has sided with cops in police brutality cases. The justices did it again Monday, issuing an unsigned summary ...

The Digital Dog Ate Our Civil-Liberties Homework: 'It's Just the Way It Is'

Norman Solomon | Posted 11.09.2015 | Media
Norman Solomon

Of all the excuses ladled out for the Obama administration's shredding of the Fourth Amendment while assaulting press freedom and prosecuting "national security" whistleblowers, none is more pernicious than the claim that technology is responsible.

FBI Agents Accused Of Torturing U.S. Citizen Abroad Can't Be Sued

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 10.23.2015 | Politics

Federal agents who illegally detain, interrogate and torture American citizens abroad can't be held accountable for violating the Constitution. A divi...

On Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties, Hillary Clinton Is Not a Progressive

Michael Shammas | Posted 10.16.2015 | Politics
Michael Shammas

If George Bush claimed he were a progressive, we would rightly laugh. Yet no one -- no one -- challenged Clinton's unequivocal claim to progressivism at the CNN Democratic debate earlier this week.

This Time Ben Carson Didn't Say He'd Violate Muslims' Civil Rights

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 09.28.2015 | Politics

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson did not back down on Sunday from controversial comments he had made a week earlier about Muslims and A...

'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death': The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11

John W. Whitehead | Posted 09.09.2015 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. Since then, we have been terrorized, traumatized, and acclimated to life in the American Surveillance State.

Roadside Strip Searches and Other Police State Indignities

John W. Whitehead | Posted 08.26.2015 | Crime
John W. Whitehead

In other words, despite our occasional bursts of outrage over abusive police practices, sporadic calls for government reform, and periodic bouts of awareness that all is not what it seems, the police state continues to march steadily onward.

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.