Supreme Court Refuses to Limit Warrantless Surveillance

According to the Supreme Court, the legality of NSA mass surveillance can’t even be legally challenged.

This was the message the Court sent when it refused to take up Jewel v. NSA, allowing an appellate court decision to stand.

The high court’s decision further underscores the futility of depending on federal courts to challenge federal surveillance power. Tenth Amendment Center executive director Micheal Boldin called it “a really bad strategy.”

“We don’t expect it to ever get the job done.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the NSA in 2008 on behalf of Carolyn Jewel and several other AT&T customers in an effort to end dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary people. The EFF based its case on declarations from three NSA whistleblowers, along with other evidence that included documents published by the Washington Post and the Guardian. The evidence showed that the NSA collected communication directly from fiber optic cables. It also revealed a domestic telephone record collection program that the government confirmed in 2013.  Mark Klein worked as an AT&T tech who claimed the communications giant routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA.

In 2015, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White denied the plaintiffs’ challenge saying that it would require “impermissible disclosure of state secret information” The Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the district court opinion, affirming that “state secret privilege” blocked the plaintiff’s efforts to tp prove that their data was intercepted. Unable to prove that, they had no standing to sue.

As EFF put it, the Supreme Court allowed the case to be dismissed because the surveillance program that everybody has known about since Edward Snowden released a trove of documents in 2013 is a “secret.”

 “Yes, you read that right: something we all know is a still officially a “secret” and so cannot be the subject to litigation.”

As the EFF explains, the U.S. government contends that “even if all of the allegations of serious law-breaking and Constitutional violations are true, surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans is exempt from judicial review.”

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Transgender Activist Who Created ‘Gender Unicorn’ Calls for ‘Supreme Court Assassination Challenge’

A transgender activist who creates widely distributed educational resources for nonbinary students called for a “Supreme Court assassination challenge” on the same day Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Eli Erlick, a founder of Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER) and creator of a popular “Gender Unicorn” graphic for “gender fluidity,” tweeted and later deleted the remark on Friday, when the High Court delivered its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Since 2011, Erlick and the “youth-led” organization have helped implement transgender policies in dozens of school districts, including WisconsinNew York, and Texas. The group backs sweeping “structural change” as opposed to “equality,” which according to its website, “reinforces systems of white supremacy, transphobia, and injustice.”

Following the leaked Dobbs decision in May, pro-abortion activists have targeted pro-life offices and crisis pregnancy centers across the country. Vandals firebombed pro-life buildings in Wisconsin and New York and defaced four pro-life churches in Washington State. Fears heightened in June when an armed California man was arrested outside the home of Brett Kavanaugh and later confessed to plans to assassinate the justice.

Assassination threats, sometimes from accounts with thousands of followers, erupted on social media on the day the Court ended constitutional protection for abortion.

“Can someone kill Clarence Thomas??” an account with more than 14,000 followers tweeted. The post hadn’t been taken down as of this article’s publication.

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Socialist Reddit group posts home addresses of Supreme Court justices, discusses hunting them down at their churches. TikTok user hint at using pipe bombs in retaliation to Roe v. Wade reversal.

One of the top posts in a socialist subreddit featured the addresses of Supreme Court justices that voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Reddit users in the anti-capitalist group discussed hunting down Supreme Court justices at their churches and possibly sending them mail bombs.

The alarming threats were made in r/WorkersStrikeBack – a self-described “leftist, anti-capitalist, socialist subreddit that is dedicated to support worker strikes, protests and unions all over the world, address the obvious problems related to an average worker’s workplace, offer advice to a fellow worker struggling with their workplace problems and mock or satirize any kind of anti-worker sentiment.”

The post broadcasted the home addresses of Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch.

At the time of publication, the post doxxing the Supreme Court justices had been allowed up in the subreddit for more than 22 hours. What is most concerning is the post received nearly 27,000 upvotes in the online socialist community of 97,000 users.

There were over 2,000 comments to the doxxing post – some suggested violence in retaliation for overturning Roe v. Wade.

A Reddit user urged people to hunt Supreme Court justices at their churches.

“Find their churches. The area they live in is super wealthy and they all definitely are part of local bloated churches. Find their churches, they can never be free, because you can track when they’re home by when they they go to their local church.”

One Reddit user asks, “Where are the 2nd homes?”

A mail carrier appears to request that domestic terrorists don’t use the mail service to deliver bombs to Supreme Court justices, but instead called for “more direct action.”

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Supreme Court Issues Ruling, Gutting Miranda Rights And Threatening The Fifth Amendment

On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Vega V Tekoh, a case involving the administration of Miranda rights, with the court ruling that a suspect’s words or statements can be used in court regardless of their Miranda rights

For background, these are the facts of the case in question:

Terence Tekoh worked as a patient transporter in a hospital in Los Angeles. After a patient accused him of sexual assault, hospital staff reported the allegation to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Carlos Vega went to the hospital to ask Tekoh questions and take Tekoh’s statement. Although the parties described vastly different accounts of the nature of the interaction between Tekoh and Vega, it is undisputed that Vega did not advise Tekoh of his Miranda rights before questioning him or taking his statement.

Tekoh was arrested and charged in California state court, but a jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Following the acquittal on the criminal charge, Tekoh sued Vega, alleging that Vega violated Tekoh’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by taking his statement without first advising him of his Miranda rights.

Justice Samuel Alito issued his ruling, a count of 6-3, deciding that using such statements outside of Miranda rights is not a violation of a defendant’s rights and does not give them the right to sue the court for such use. 

Miranda prescribed a specific and protective set of warnings to ensure that criminally accused suspects were made aware of the Fifth Amendment’s decree that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”  

Miranda is also one of the court’s most culturally famous decisions. Americans know Miranda. More accurately: Americans know their Miranda warnings. Even if they cannot recite the lyrics to the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, they likely can recite Miranda’s warnings: 

  • You have the right to remain silent;
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law;
  • You have the right to a lawyer;
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.

Generally, if the police obtain a suspect’s statement violating Miranda, the government cannot use that statement against the defendant in court. 

But can the defendant later sue the police for violating the defendant’s constitutional rights? 

The Supreme Court now says, No. 

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Supreme Court Strikes Down New York’s Unconstitutional Concealed-Carry Gun Law

The Supreme Court voted 6–3 on June 23 to strike down New York state’s draconian concealed-carry gun permitting system on constitutional grounds.

The Supreme Court has been strengthening Second Amendment protections in recent years and observers have said the court’s 6–3 conservative supermajority could help expand gun ownership protections. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,” and in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), it held that this right “is fully applicable to the States.”

The ruling comes amid rising crime rates, activist demands to defund police departments, and a Biden administration push to strengthen gun control policies. A gun control package, introduced in the wake of a series of high-profile mass shootings, is moving forward in Congress.

The Empire State’s gun permit law, like laws in seven other states, generally requires an applicant to demonstrate “proper cause” in order to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun in public.

New York makes it a crime to possess a firearm without a license, whether inside or outside the home. An individual who wants to carry a firearm outside his home may obtain an unrestricted license to “have and carry” a concealed “pistol or revolver” if he can prove that “proper cause exists” for doing so, according to state law. An applicant satisfies the “proper cause” requirement only if he can “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community,” according to a 1980 ruling by the Supreme Court of New York in Klenosky v. New York City Police Department.

The specific issue before the court was whether the state’s denial of the petitioning individuals’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violates the U.S. Constitution.

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‘Jane’s Revenge’ group appears to threaten violence if Supreme Court overturns Roe

The militant abortion rights organisation Jane’s Revenge appears to be calling for an “night of rage” in the nation’s capital should the Supreme Court, as is expected, overturn Roe v. Wade later this month.

A flyer signed with the group’s name circulating in Washington, DC reads, “THE NIGHT SCOTUS OVERTURNS ROE V. WADE HIT THE STREETS YOU SAID YOU’D RIOT.”

It continues, “TO OUR OPPRESSORS: IF ABORTIONS AREN’T SAFE, YOU’RE NOT EITHER.’ JANE’S REVENGE.”

Those threats may not be idle. Jane’s Revenge has taken responsibility for the firebombing of multiple anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers since a draft of the high court’s looming Roe v Wade opinion was leaked to Politico in May, claiming attacks in Madison, Wisconsin, Des Moines, Iowa, and other locations.

Very little is concretely known about the group, which operates a website and has spread its messages with graffiti and flyers, but has said that it is comprised of multiple other unidentified groups and does not have any known core members. Some have expressed skepticism that the group is in fact a left-wing militant organisation and postulated that it may instead be a right-wing organisation maneuvering to turn people against the group’s goal of abortion rights for all.

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Supreme Court Tortures the Constitution Again

The Supreme Court ruled in March that Americans have no right to learn the grisly details of CIA torture because the CIA has never formally confessed its crimes. The case symbolizes how the rule of law has become little more than legal mumbo-jumbo to shroud official crimes. And it is another grim reminder that Americans cannot rely on politically approved lawyers wearing bat suits to save their freedoms.

In 2002, the CIA captured Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian radical, in Pakistan and falsely believed he was a kingpin with al Qaeda. The CIA tortured him for years in Thailand and Poland. As Justice Neal Gorsuch noted, the CIA “waterboarded Zubaydah at least 80 times, simulated live burials in coffins for hundreds of hours,” and brutalized him to keep him awake for six days in a row. The CIA has admitted some of the details of the torture, and Zubaydah’s name was mentioned more than a thousand times in a 683-page Senate report released in 2014 on the CIA torture regime. But the Supreme Court permitted the CIA to pretend that the case is still secret.

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Man With Gun Arrested Near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Home; Told Police He Was There to Kill Kavanaugh

A California man was arrested overnight near the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The man reportedly told police he was there to kill Kavanaugh. After the story broke, the Supreme Court issued a statement confirming the incident.

New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz posted to Twitter, “Breaking: A man was arrested outside of Brett Kavanaugh’s residence around 1:45am last night. The man had a gun and said he was there to kill Kavanaugh. He was taken into custody without incident…I can confirm the man taken into custody outside of Brett Kavanaugh’s house last night is a 26 year old white male with a California driver’s license. Previous address in Seattle…I got it direct from a source but should be out soon.”

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Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson Applauds Taking Away Americans’ Second Amendment Rights

Future Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson praised New Zealand’s ban on semi-automatic long guns, which included a “mandatory government buyback,” during a commencement speech at Harvard University.

Brown-Jackson applauded the comments from leftist New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s commencement speech championing her government “banning military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles.”

Brown-Jackson can be seen in the video applauding the statement by Arden. It comes as an apparent approval of the removal of Second Amendment rights for Americans and a signal of support for President Biden’s anti-gun agenda. 

President Biden called for enacting more restrictions on the Second Amendment in response to the Uvalde shooting during his speech last week.

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Supreme Court Expands Government Secrecy Powers in Torture-Related Case

The US Supreme Court ruled recently on the government’s use of the state secrets doctrine in an opinion that will make it easier for intelligence agencies to evade accountability in future individual rights cases. In US v. Zubaydah, government torture policy and state secrets converge. A torture victim requested information related to his treatment at a CIA “black site,” and the government blocked that request, citing national security interests. Seven members of the Court joined parts of an opinion siding with the government, with only Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch dissenting. The case has implications for other torture-related cases and for government accountability more broadly as it expands state secrecy powers based on a doctrine that was already overbroad, and suspect in its origins.

The Zubaydah case is procedurally unusual. Abu Zubaydah is currently detained at Guantanamo, but the history of his confinement and treatment at numerous sites over the past two decades is well known. The government has admitted to waterboarding him and subjecting him to other forms of torture, and the 2014 Senate Report on Torture refers specifically to Zubaydah at numerous points. Moreover, former President Obama conceded that Zubaydah was tortured. In the course of seeking a tribunal that would hear his claims, Zubaydah asked the Polish government to investigate criminally the interrogations that took place at a CIA black site in Poland, Stare Kiejkuty. Since much of the supporting evidence was located in the United States, Zubaydah had to petition a US District Court for an order compelling its production. Federal law allows for such a petition, but when it was filed, the US government objected, citing the state secrets doctrine. The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court and the Court ruled for the first time in years on the scope and application of the doctrine.

The state secrets privilege (SSP) is an evidentiary doctrine originating in the 1953 case of US v. Reynolds, a Cold War-era dispute involving the crash of a military aircraft. In Reynolds, the victims’ families sought information about the crash, specifically survivors’ statements and an accident report. The government objected, claiming that revealing this information would endanger national security. The Supreme Court agreed, and their ruling gave birth to the SSP, which expanded in use over the ensuing seven decades. In short, the ruling says that the government is entitled to withhold information, in the course of litigation, where there is a “danger that compulsion of the evidence will expose military matters which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged.” But the potential for such a broadly stated secrecy power to be abused is self-evident and was so even in the Reynolds case itself. As Louis Fisher has shown, the information withheld in Reynolds surfaced on the Internet in the 1990s and was quite mundane, containing not military secrets but evidence of government negligence instead.

Courts have applied the SSP to thwart discovery of evidence in a case where a twelve-year-old boy came under CIA scrutiny for writing letters overseas, where government workers sought information about deadly chemicals to which they had been exposed (so they could get treatment for their illness), and where the victim in an earlier torture case sought relief. But some questions had not been settled. Could the very subject matter of a case be a state secret, so that no discovery requests could even be made? Could trial courts order production of alleged secret evidence in chambers so a judge could view it before ruling on the SSP? And most centrally relevant to Zubaydah’s case, could the SSP apply to information already in the public domain (in other words, to non-secrets)?

It is this last question – whether the SSP applies to already-known information – that the Court took on in its recent opinion. The existence of Stare Kiejkuty is well-known, described in various sources. And the witnesses whose testimony Zubaydah sought to procure had already testified in similar proceedings. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were government contractors – psychologists specializing in family therapy who developed coercive interrogation protocols and then supervised their use by the CIA on-site. One of them even wrote a book about his exploits, and both had already testified about their interrogation work in other cases, such as the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

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