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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Protecting Our Bill of Rights

For John, BLUFJustice Sotomayor protecting our Fourth Amendment Rights.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I just completed a survey in which I said I didn't much watch MSNBC, but here is a report from that station which I found interesting and informative.  It is from the Associated Press, by Craig Ruttle, titled "How Sotomayor undermined Obama’s NSA".
If Edward Snowden gave federal courts the means to declare the National Security Agency’s data-gathering unconstitutional, Sonia Sotomayor showed them how.

It was Sotomayor’s lonely concurrence in U.S. v Jones, a case involving warrantless use of a GPS tracker on a suspect’s car, that the George W. Bush-appointed Judge Richard Leon relied on when he ruled that the program was likely unconstitutional last week.  It was that same concurrence the White House appointed review board on surveillance policy cited when it concluded government surveillance should be scaled back.

“It may be necessary to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties,” Sotomayor wrote in 2012.  “This approach is ill suited to the digital age, in which people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third parties in the course of carrying out mundane tasks.”

Not a single other member of the high court signed onto Sotomayor’s concurrence; her three Democratic appointed colleagues sided with a narrower one written by Justice Samuel Alito.  Though all nine justices agreed that police would likely need to get a warrant to place a GPS device on a suspect’s car, it was Sotomayor who was willing to argue that modern technology had essentially changed the meaning of what privacy means when so much of our personal information and history is preserved online, and can be easily collected by the government in mass quantities.  When the Framers of the Constitution wrote of “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” they could not have imagined cloud storage or cell phone location tracking.

I have no idea if the NSA issues will reach the US Supreme Court, and how the Justices will vote, but I think Ms Sotomayor has made a very interesting and intelligent point.

As for the rest of the MSNBC article, it is typical MSNBC Progressive diatribe, but for sure, Justice Sotomayor is someone who has been doing some thinking about privacy in the Internet age.

Regards  —  Cliff

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