In a case out of California, two citizens were taking pictures of border crossings from public sidewalks of what they believed were environmental problems and unlawful searches. CBP [United States Customs and Border Protection] agents saw them, arrested them, seized their cameras, and deleted their pictures. The district court acknowledged that the recordings were protected by the First Amendment but found the government’s reasons for suppressing them to be so compelling that individual constitutional rights could be ignored in the name of national security.
Now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Cato has filed an amicus brief supporting the photographers’ ability to record government officials in public. Americans have a First Amendment right to record law enforcement agents because it’s a way of accurately depicting government operations. The ability to describe government operations allows citizens to criticize those actions and petition for redress of grievances—a core purpose of the First Amendment. Even a Homeland Security report on “Photographing the Exterior of Federal Facilities” recognizes “that the public has a right to photograph the exterior of federal facilities from publically accessible spaces such as streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas.”…
The Ninth Circuit will hear Askins v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security later this fall.
- Randy Barnett and Josh Blackman: yes, the confirmation process had gone wrong, but not necessarily in the way we’re told [National Affairs] A case against judicial restraint [Ilya Shapiro, same, related Cato]
- “Business and the Roberts Court without Scalia” [Jonathan Adler, related on supposed “pro-business” Court]
- SCOTUS should (again) step in to reject Obama end-run around advice/consent on appointment power [Ilya Shapiro and Thomas Berry, Cato]
- The disappointeds docket: ten cert petitions last term the Court should have granted [Mark Chenoweth, WLF] WLF’s term preview with Jay Stephens, Neal Katyal, and Daryl Joseffer;
- “Tiers” of constitutional scrutiny, without tears [Mike Rappaport, Liberty and Law]
- Prominent lawprof Mark Tushnet says with majority looming, liberals should drop their “defensive crouch constitutionalism” [Balkinization, responses at PrawfsBlawg by Paul Horwitz and Rick Garnett]
New court reforms proposed by the U.K.’s Ministry of Justice would do away with many criminal defendants’ right to cross-examine accusers before a jury. The rules provide that what are deemed “vulnerable” victims and witnesses, mostly in sex cases, will instead be allowed to undergo cross-examination recorded in advance for later play in court. [BBC] Here in the U.S., the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause might have a thing or two to say about that.
Self-recommending: Prof. Randy Barnett discusses his new book Our Republican Constitution with Trevor Burrus and Aaron Ross Powell for Cato’s Libertarianism.org (53:40).
Remember to mark your calendar for Cato’s 15th annual Constitution Day, Sept. 15, which coincides each year with the release of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Details here.
How would one go about “tyrant-proofing” the U.S. presidency, after years in which many were happy to cheer the expansion of White House power so long as the office was held by someone *they* liked? Key point in Ben Wittes’s 3-part series at Lawfare: the hardest to tyrant-proof are not the extraordinary and covert national security powers held by the chief executive, but the everyday powers over the Department of Justice and regulatory agencies [parts one, two, three].
More: Neither Donald Trump nor his progressive opponents have shown themselves loyal to the principle of the rule of law [John McGinnis, Liberty and Law] Nature of the Presidency lends itself to authoritarianism and despite retrenchment under Coolidge and Ike, that’s been the trend for a century or more [Arnold Kling] And quoting William & Mary lawprof Neal Devins: “A President Trump could say, ‘I’m going to use the Obama playbook’ and go pretty far.” [Marc Fisher, Washington Post] And: Tyler Cowen on FDR, McCarthy, the politics of the 1930s-50s, and “our authoritarians” versus “their authoritarians.”
- Ilya Shapiro on round II of Fisher v. University of Texas, the racial preferences case [Pope Center]
- “Supreme Court Endorses Tribal Courts; Bad News For Corporate Defendants?” [Daniel Fisher on Sixth Amendment case U.S. v. Bryant]
- “Is The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Unconstitutional?” [Susan Dudley]
- “Dueling perspectives on Lochner v. United States” [Andrew Hamm, SCOTUSBlog on Paul Kens vs. Randy Barnett debate, earlier]
- First Amendment and commercial speech: “Crazy Law Allows ‘Discounts’ for Cash but Not ‘Surcharges’ for Credit” [Ilya Shapiro on Expressions Hair Design case]
- Who ‘ya gonna call if you need a Third Amendment lawyer? [humor]
- Cato files amicus in “hydroponic gear + discarded tea leaves = raid their house” case [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, earlier on Harte v. Johnson County, Kansas Commissioners]
- Call off contest for most wrongheaded op-ed about SCOTUS vacancy, clear winner has emerged [Gregory Diskant]
- “If police tell you about a good body shop after an accident, beware this one thing.” [@clickbaitSCOTUS on Ocasio v. U.S.]
- “Maryland Court Suppresses Evidence Gathered By Warrantless Stingray Use” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
- Evenwel v. Abbott: “Supreme Court Leaves Meaning of ‘One-Person, One-Vote’ Unclear” [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, earlier]
- Ripeness is all: Thomas/Kennedy dissent in Arrigoni Enterprises v. Town of Durham will excite inverse taking mavens [Gideon Kanner]
- Some reactions to Donald Trump’s release of a list of 11 judges he’d consider for SCOTUS nominations [Ilya Shapiro, Volokh Conspiracy quartet of Eugene Volokh, Jonathan Adler, Orin Kerr, Ilya Somin; Justice Don Willett‘s online humor has not spared Trump]
One incidental impact of a Trump presidency: mainstream law professors would develop a sudden, strange new respect for constitutional law concepts such as separation of powers and federalism, which tend to serve as checks on the power and ambition of the President and his backers. [Paul Horwitz, PrawfsBlawg]
Administrative law judges are executive-branch as distinct from judicial officers, yet the President has no power to remove them; at the Securities and Exchange Commission and many other federal agencies, they are themselves employed by the agency on whose enforcement cases they must render quasi-judicial rulings. In recent years federal judges have expressed unease about whether assigning ALJs this particular combination of adjudicatory powers and institutional affiliations is entirely consistent with the U.S. Constitution, and now a Cato Institute amicus brief, in the D.C. Circuit case of Timbervest LLC v. Securities and Exchange Commission, urges courts to take the next logical step and rule that it is not. [Ilya Shapiro and Thaya Brook Knight; earlier here, here, here here, etc.]