Fake news, libel, and press protections against executive power
The press serves an important role in checking executive power in the American system. The first article in this series deals with libel suits against newspapers; the second will cover the publication of leaked materials (the so-called “Pentagon Papers”).
Justice Scalia on the Constitution, privacy, and criminality
Justice Scalia once noted that “the Constitution sometimes
insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all.”
Franz Neumann on the importance of history to freedom
Freedom, argues Franz Neumann, requires several kinds of knowledge (historical, for example), not simply the absence of state (or private) coercion — though that too is a necessary and critical element.
Surveillance and Sodomy in 1918 Sacramento
A “cleanup” of 1918 Sacramento resulted in an intensified “[p]olice surveillance of boardinghouses, brothels, pubs, and gambling houses” and effectively turned these areas — none of which were traditional domestic homes — into “semipublic” spaces.
Haverty v. Bass: protecting the public health in 1876
In 1873 a Bangor police officer and a physician forcibly pulled Martin Haverty’s child “out of the arms of the mother” in order “to remove it to the city hospital” for quarantine due to suspected smallpox infection.
Salus populi suprema lex: law and public health
It is unquestionable, that the legislature can confer police powers upon public officers, for the protection of the public health. The maxim salus populi suprema lex is the law of all courts and countries. The individual right sinks in the necessity to provide for the public good.
Privacy, liberty, dignity: Kennedy in Obergefell
Kennedy took a fascinating approach to discussing fundamental rights in Obergefell, making an argument that combined substantive due process with equal protection. To do this, he moved away from “privacy,” used in many of the cases he cited, to “dignity” and “liberty.” Using the term “liberty” instead of “privacy” (as in Griswold and Roe v. Wade) when discussing issues of […]
The “third-party problem”: one reason telegrams were not constitutionally protected
Unlike postal mail or, later, the telephone, telegrams never received constitutional protection. Yet they were the quintessential nineteenth-century technology of communication, used extensively for business, government, and personal communication, much of which both senders and receivers would have wished to keep to themselves.
NSA spying is not clearly unconstitutional
I’ve been noticing a trend to call the activities of the NSA — as revealed by Edward Snowden — “clearly unconstitutional.” I disagree.