In a recent US v. Jones, (January 2012) decision the US Supreme Court held that “the Government’s attachment of the GPS device to the vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.” In Jones, the police obtained the warrant but didn’t quite properly execute it. While the Jones case was mostly the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution and its protections and warrant issues, the key issue in my mind was the surveillance and how far it can go without the warrant. Warrant less surveillance has been a hot topic forever. Law responds depending on political movement of what is considered the bad guy at that certain period of time.
Now, US Supreme Court is going to hear a new case. This time the question involves a post Sept. 11 government’s aggressive use of electronic surveillance. The scrutiny is over the validity of an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which is about disclosure of the “secret program to wiretap the international communications of people suspected of terrorist ties without obtaining court warrants,” according to the New York times. In other words its about the wiretapping law of 2008.
While I clearly understand the “security” reasons behind this particular legislation, it is always the current state of affairs in the country that makes up the decision of the judges. I find it fascinating how each new legislation especially of this huge caliber brings out the gray area that eventually shapes our legal history in the long run.
See below, Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Surveillance, by Adam Liptak, May 21, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/us/justices-agree-to-hear-surveillance-challenge.html?_r=1&hp
Written by Margarita Smirnova, Esq.
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