CIA accused of spying on Senate Intel Committee, breaking law

(Photo: Senate Television via AP)

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the CIA searched the panel’s computers and that the search may have violated the Constitution.

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via nbcnews High-res

CIA accused of spying on Senate Intel Committee, breaking law

(Photo: Senate Television via AP)

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the CIA searched the panel’s computers and that the search may have violated the Constitution.

Continue reading

via nbcnews

The proposed amendment, known as the “shadow” 13th Amendment, was part of an effort to compromise with slave states to avert the war. The 36th Congress passed the measure just days before it adjourned, after seven Southern states had seceded from the Union and less than a week before President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State,” read the proposal, first sponsored by Rep. Thomas Corwin of Ohio and Sen. William Seward of New York, both Republicans.

150 years later, Maryland will try to rescind slavery amendment

[Roberts’] knowledge of the posts only becomes relevant if the court finds the activity of liking a Facebook page to be constitutionally protected. It is the court’s conclusion that merely “liking” a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. In cases where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements existed within the record.

Facebook “likes” aren’t speech protected by the First Amendment, rules judge

This law, though, does not restrict the free speech protected by the First Amendment, because lies are inherently fraudulent. Fraud, alongside obscenity and incitement, is among the categories of speech recognized by the Supreme Court whose “prevention and punishment … have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem.” A statute that punishes fraud therefore comports with First Amendment freedoms. As the name of the Act implies, every lie about a military honor defrauds true heroes and American society, polluting the very meaning of heroism and causing harms that Congress can constitutionally criminalize.

Why It’s Criminal to Lie About Military Honors - Lindsay Windsor & Arthur Rizer - National - The Atlantic

Domain Seizures Do Not Violate Free Speech, U.S. Court Rules

A U.S. federal court has ruled that the domain seizure of sports streaming site Rojadirecta does not violate the First Amendment, and has refused to hand the domain back to its Spanish owner. The order stands in conflict with previous Supreme Court rulings and doesn’t deliver much hope to other website owners who operate under U.S. controlled domain names.

» via TorrentFreak

'Digital inspections' at U.S. Border Raise Constitutional Questions

Digital inspections raise constitutional questions about how robust the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee “against unreasonable searches and seizures” should be on the border, especially in a time of terrorism. A total of 6,671 travelers, 2,995 of them American citizens, had electronic gear searched from Oct. 1, 2008, through June 2, 2010, just a tiny percentage of arrivals.

“But the government’s obligation is to obey the Constitution all the time,” said Catherine Crump, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Moreover, controversial government programs often start small and then grow,” after which “the government argues that it is merely carrying out the same policies it has been carrying out for years.”

» via The New York Times

Appeals court: warrant required before Feds can read e-mail

The government must obtain a valid search warrant before infiltrating your e-mail in a criminal investigation, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The appeals court ruled Tuesday on US v. Warshak, noting that e-mail “requires strong protection under the Fourth Amendment,” and that law enforcement can’t demand for an ISP to give up e-mail with just a court order.

» via ars technica

Does the Constitution really protect a right to "academic freedom"?

Last week the University of Virginia decided to fight a sweeping subpoena served upon the institution in late April. State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli subpoenaed documents in connection with five grants awarded to Michael Mann—a former UVA climate-change scientist who now teaches at Penn State. Cuccinelli is using a state fraud statute to demand thousands of e-mails between Mann and climate-change scientists around the world. The request was both broad and unprecedented. So the university filed a petition to quash the subpoena on various grounds. Academics across the country have raised alarms, signing petitions and urging Cuccinelli to back off, claiming that this novel use of prosecutorial power to investigate climate science in the academy constitutes a threat to free inquiry. (Disclosure: Richard Schragger was the principal author of such a letter from the UVA law faculty.) These letters and petitions often invoke the First Amendment and quote the U.S. Supreme Court to assert that the Constitution protects “academic freedom.”

Does it? What precisely is “academic freedom,” and why would the Constitution protect it? Who can assert “academic freedom”—individual faculty members or the university as a whole? What is the scope of the right, and does it apply to faculty at state universities or those who receive government grants? The Supreme Court has never really answered these questions. UVA v. Cuccinelli would be a good time to do so—if the case ever gets that far.

» via Slate

Anti-counterfeiting agreement raises constitutional concerns

If the president proceeds unilaterally here, ACTA will be challenged in court. But the best route to constitutional fidelity is for Congress or the Senate to protect its constitutional prerogatives. When the George W. Bush administration suggested it might reach a deal with Russia on nuclear arms reduction by sole executive agreement, then-Sen. Joe Biden wrote to Secretary of State Colin Powell insisting that the Constitution required Senate consent and implicitly threatening inter-branch retaliation if it was not given. The Bush administration complied.

Congress should follow Biden’s lead. If the president succeeds in expanding his power of sole executive agreement here, he will have established a precedent to bypass Congress on other international matters related to trade, intellectual property and communications policy.

These mostly secret negotiations have already violated the Obama administration’s pledge for greater transparency. Embracing this deal by sole executive agreement would repudiate its pledge to moderate assertions of executive power. Congress should resist this attempt to evade the checks established by our Framers.

» via The Washington Post