As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the biggest stories of the year.
#5 Asset forfeiture halted!?
At the beginning of the year, Eric Holder made headlines when he announced a new policy prohibiting state and local governments from using federal civil asset forfeiture laws for most cases. The DOJ’s Equitable Sharing program has allowed thousands of local and state police agencies to have seized nearly $3 billion in cash and property since 2008. Using Equitable Sharing, a state or local police department or drug task force would seize property and then have that property adopted by a federal agency. The agency making the seizure would then be allowed to keep up to 80 percent of the value of the items confiscated. see more…
In a departure from other federal courts, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that governments must have a warrant in order to obtain cellphone data. The Court, in a 2-1 split decision, ruled that “the government’s warrantless procurement of the [cell site location information] was an unreasonable search in violation of Appellants’ Fourth Amendment rights.” Adding, “society recognizes an individual’s privacy interest in her movements over an extended time period as well as her movements in private spaces. The fact that a provider captures this information in its account records, without the subscriber’s involvement, does not extinguish the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy.” see more…
State Attorneys General issue orders; Probate judges step up; Alabama Clerks quit en mass; Wild polygamists appear; Libertarians decry more rules
When the Supreme Court recently ruled that marriage was a fundamental right that could not be denied, I doubt the five Justice majority imagined the fall-out that it would incur.
Just three days after the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion stating “the Court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live.”
Adding, “County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”
Paxton also warned clerks that refusing to issue marriage licenses may be sued. see more…
Senator Lindsey Graham recently told reporters today that his colleagues in Congress need to get behind Obama’s targeted killing program, and protect the president from “libertarians and the left.”
Graham said, “Every member of Congress needs to get on board. It’s not fair to the president to let him, leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.
I think the middle of America understands why you would want a drone program…
The process of being targeted I think is legal, quite frankly laborious and should reside in the commander in chief to determine who an enemy combatant is and what kind of force to use.”
A leaked Department Of Justice white paper explicitly says, “[T]here exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional questions.”
Davi Barker reported on SilverUnderground.com, “The Drone memo lays out three vague, easily-met conditions that allegedly justify the murder of Americans without a trial.
- The target must be an ‘imminent threat’ in the broadest sense requiring no evidence or intelligence.
- Capture of the target must be ‘unfeasible’ meaning U.S. officials consider attempted capture an ‘undue risk.’
- The strike must be conducted according to ‘law of war principles’ which are not defined.
The Drone Memo redefines ‘imminent’ to mean its opposite. The ACLU calls it ‘vague,’ ‘elastic,’ and ‘easy to manipulate.’ According to the memo ‘the condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.’ In other words, classifying a threat as ‘imminent’ does not require any indication that it is actually ‘imminent.’”
We already know that several government officials think liberty-activists and other peaceful people are “potential terrorists” or some other kind of threat. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer called activists from Food Not Bombs “dangerous food terrorists.” NH State Representative Cynthia Chase said “Free Staters are the single biggest threat the state is facing today.” And just one year ago, Congress authorized government use of unmanned spy planes in U.S. Airspace. The FAA projects there will be as many as 30,000 unmanned drones in American airspace by 2020.
Andrew Napolitano asked, “Would we live in a safer society if the government could cut down every law and abrogate every freedom and break down every door and arrest everybody it wanted? We’d be safe from the bad guys, but we wouldn’t be safe from the government. Who would want to live in such a society?” I certainly don’t want to live in that society!