Friday, April 06, 2012

Video the Cops

It seems that some public servants don't like being videoed, but the courts are saying "tough". Steve Silverman reports over at Reason Magazine:
Last week the City of Boston agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit stemming from his 2007 felony arrest for videotaping police roughing up a suspect. Prior to the settlement, the First Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Glik had a “constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public.” The Boston Police Department now explicitly instructs its officers not to arrest citizens openly recording them in public.

Slowly but surely the courts are recognizing that recording on-duty police is a protected First Amendment activity. But in the meantime, police around the country continue to intimidate and arrest citizens for doing just that. So if you’re an aspiring cop watcher you must be uniquely prepared to deal with hostile cops.
There have now been a number of cases where bystander videos of police assaulting innocent people have prevented felony assault charges against the victims from going forward to slam dunk convictions.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The United States of America v. $35,131.00 in United States Currency

This looks like a court decision we should all applaud, treating Homeland Security exactly as it should be treated.

Labels: , ,

The Deficit Trials of 2017

How quaint: When this was made, the national debt was apparently a mere two trillion dollars.

The answer to the final question, by the way, is "No!"

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Maureen Dowd's New Civility

I don't read the lady often, and this seems like encouragement to continue so:
(The Supreme Court) has squandered even the semi-illusion that it is the unbiased, honest guardian of the Constitution. It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes...

Just as in the Senate’s shameful Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings...

John Roberts deceiving; he’s a crimson partisan, simply more cloaked than the ideologically rigid and often venomous Scalia.

Just as Scalia voted to bypass that little thing called democracy...

Inexplicably mute 20 years after he lied his way onto the court, Clarence Thomas didn’t ask a single question...

Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and the insufferable Samuel Alito were nurtured in the conservative Federalist Society, which asserts that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
And the duty of the judiciary to prevent the politicians from acting without Constitutional authorization, even if they they have majority opinion behind them.

Some people seem to think that good policy is automatically authorized. They seem to forget that others may have ideas on good policies which are quite different.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Constitution vs ObamaCare

Hoover Institution scholar and NYU Law Professor Richard Epstein has an interesting article on the history of the Commerce Clause which may not please some faction in the ObamaCare debate:
Before those revolutionary decisions, Supreme Court doctrine was faithful to the text and purpose of the Commerce Clause when it divided commerce into three parts. There was local commerce that led up to interstate commerce; there was commerce among the several states during any journey that crossed state lines; and there was local commerce once the interstate portion of the journey was over. In other words, Congress could not regulate the local taxi or bus service that takes people to the train station or airport for an interstate trip. It could regulate that trip, but it could not regulate the continuation of the journey once the train or plane reached its destination. By that test, the role of Obamacare in the national market would be to supply medical service for people struck ill in interstate journeys.

Thus it is no surprise that in Gibbons, Chief Justice Marshall wrote without embarrassment that “the completely interior traffic of a State” was beyond the power of commerce to regulate. A fortiori, the regulation of manufacture, agriculture, mining, or health care was far outside the scope of Congressional regulation. The great virtue of this system is that it set states in competition with each other in ways that increase the overall level of economic production.
How many Justices will support the Constitution?

Labels: , , ,

Monday, April 02, 2012

Concealed Carry Law in MD Struck Down; Hawaii to Follow?

Eugene Volokh writes about a Federal District Court case in Maryland, Woollard v. Sheridan (D. Md. Mar. 2, 2012), which may well have an effect on Hawaii's concealed carry law.

Hawaii's law seems even more constrictive than Maryland's, which requires one to have “good and substantial” reason to be armed outside the home. Hawaii's says:
§134-9 Licenses to carry. (a) In an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant's person or property, the chief of police of the appropriate county may grant a license to an applicant who is a citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or more or to a duly accredited official representative of a foreign nation of the age of twenty-one years or more to carry a pistol or revolver and ammunition therefor concealed on the person within the county where the license is granted. Where the urgency or the need has been sufficiently indicated, the respective chief of police may grant to an applicant of good moral character who is a citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or more, is engaged in the protection of life and property, and is not prohibited under section 134-7 from the ownership or possession of a firearm, a license to carry a pistol or revolver and ammunition therefor unconcealed on the person within the county where the license is granted. The chief of police of the appropriate county, or the chief's designated representative, shall perform an inquiry on an applicant by using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, to include a check of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement databases where the applicant is not a citizen of the United States, before any determination to grant a license is made. Unless renewed, the license shall expire one year from the date of issue.
For minor additions, see here. In real life, there are apparently no concealed carry permits issued in Hawaii, except possibly to retired police - and they have to jump through a lot of hoops.

The Hawaii Defense Foundation has filed a suit against the law.

Labels: , , , , , ,