Score another one for democracy…
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the enforcement of an Illinois eavesdropping law. The broadly written law — the most stringent in the country — makes it a felony to make an audio recording of someone without their permission, punishable by four to 15 years in prison.
Many states have similar “all-party consent” law, which mean one must get the permission of all parties to a conversation before recording it. But in all of those states — except for Massachusetts and Illinois — the laws include a provision that the parties being recorded must have a reasonable expectation of privacy for it to be a crime to record them.
The Illinois law once included such a provision, but it was removed by the state legislature in response to an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that threw out the conviction of a man accused of recording police from the back of a squad car. That ruling found that police on the job have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
The Illinois and Massachusetts laws have been used to arrest people who attempt to record on-duty police officers and other public officials. In one of the more notorious cases, Chicago resident Tiawanda Moore was arrested in 2010 when she attempted to use her cell phone to record officers in a Chicago police station.
Moore had come to the station to report an alleged sexual assault by a Chicago cop, and says she became frustrated when internal affairs officers allegedly bullied her and attempted to talk her out of filing the report. Moore was eventually acquitted.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is planning a police accountability project in Chicago that will involve recording police while they’re on duty. The organization wanted to be sure its employees and volunteers wouldn’t be charged with felonies.
The 7th Circuit Court found a specific First Amendment right to record police officers. It’s the second federal appeals court to strike down a conviction for recording police. In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a man wrongly arrested for recording cops could sue the arresting officers for violating his First Amendment rights.
Continue reading here…
As usual, Oliver Willis makes a great point here…
Conservatives seem pathologically incapable of attacking President Obama on real issues, even when they have legitimate gripes about him or his policies. Today’s example is the GOP bitchfest over the AttackWatch website.
The site is designed for Obama supporters to send in various pieces of misinformation, lies, etc. and then have them debunked. Obama ran a similar site in the 2008 campaign called Fight The Smears.
Nooooo. Conservatives are now pretending as if this is an example of Big Brother. They now claim that a web form is on par with egregious violations of civil liberties. I mean, how dare Obama solicit links via e-mail????
Obama has been president for over 2.5 years now, and conservatives/Republicans have yet to attack him with anything that is actually real. Instead we’ve got one made-up thing after another, from “apology tour” to “death panel” to a supposed lack of exceptionalism from a President who regularly extols the exceptional values of America.
It’s all very childish and nonsensical of the right, but it is just what they do.
Well, it’s widely known that Michael Steele steadily drinks the Kool-aid that the GOP serves him on a daily basis. There is no shame or remorse in Michael Steele’s character. He has become the “water boy” (pun intended) for the GOP. Steele started the attack on the late Justice Thurgood Marshall last month, per the instruction of the GOP, no doubt. The GOP strategy was to continue the attacks on Marshall, started by Steele because they couldn’t find anything “liberal or progressive” about Elena Kagan to attack. After all, they had to give their base some red meat, so the Marshall attacks began en masse at the start of the hearings.
Mother Jones – David Corn & Suzy Khimm
During confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, it almost seemed as if the late and legendary Justice Thurgood Marshall was the one being vetted—rather than Kagan, who once clerked for him. Republicans on the Senate judiciary committee have tried to turn the civil rights icon into ammo for their assault on Kagan, attacking Marshall as a “judicial activist” and suggesting that the same could be expected of Kagan. This wasn’t a surprise. Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, kick-started this bash-Marshall campaign last month by pouncing on Kagan for praising a 1987 Marshall speech in which the ex-justice said the Constitution, “as originally drafted and conceived,” was “defective.” Marshall had been referring to the Constitution’s definition of slaves as three-fifths of “free persons.” But Steele’s oppo gang at the RNC seized on this and zapped out a memo hammering Kagan: “Does Kagan Still View Constitution ‘As Originally Drafted And Conceived’ As ‘Defective’?”
Choosing to go after the country’s first black Supreme Court justice is an iffy strategy for the GOPers. But it’s an especially strange line of attack for Steele—formerly Maryland’s first black lieutenant governor—who used to laud Marshall as a hero.
For instance, in July 2004, Steele honored Marshall as a barrier-shattering champion on the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Standing in front of a memorial statue of Marshall near the Governor’s Mansion in Baltimore , Steele declared: “Without the ’64 act, I do not stand in the shadow of this giant.” Also in attendance was Arthur Fletcher, one of the original plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education. As the NAACP’s chief counsel, Marshall had represented Fletcher in that landmark case, which ended legalized segregation in schools. During the ceremony, Fletcher told then-Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, “Thank you for making that young man [Steele] lieutenant governor.” Continue reading…