Liberal 9th Circuit Court approves of Big Brother

It is almost comical, if not so very sad, how the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals almost always gets their decisions wrong.  That court is, by far, the court with the most decisions overturned by the United States Supreme Court.  Their recent invasion of privacy decision was just their latest bad decision.
 
Adam Cohen in the August 25, 2010 edition of "Time" magazine reported that with the San Francisco-based appeals court's recent bad decision on privacy, "Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go.  This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements."

So now the people in the states under this scary court's jurisdiction  --  California and 8 other Western states  --  are susceptible to having the government monitor them anytime it well pleases, without them having to get a search warrant.  If this isn't something that both liberals and conservatives can unite against, there hardly will be anything to unite the two ends of the political spectrum.

Mr. Cohen goes on to write that:  "It is a dangerous decision, one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich. This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home.

"Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.  After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand."  Conservatives and other law-abiding Americans like to see law enforcement put the criminals in jail.  However, with their decision, these appeals court judges in the majority have gone way too far in ignoring the privacy rights of all Americans.

Thankfully, as Mr. Cohen pointed out, a conservative appointed by President Ronald Reagan on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, issued a commonsense dissent which undoubtedly will provide the basis on which the United States Supreme Court will overturn this abominable decision.  Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in his dissent pointed out that this decision will not apply to all Americans evenly.  The rich will be protected because they protect their homes with security booths and electric gates inside gated communities.  However, most Americans cannot afford this kind of security and will be susceptible to Big Brother putting GPS devices on their automobiles, etc.

Judge Kozinski said in his dissent:  "There's been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there's one kind of diversity that doesn't exist.  No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter."  He charged that the judges in the majority on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals were guilty of "cultural elitism."

Mr. Cohen also reported that "The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high.  After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state — with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi."

Undoubtedly, the United States Supreme Court will take up this case, hopefully in an expedited manner.  As Mr. Cohen concludes in "Time" magazine, "Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell's totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: "Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania."  Here is hoping that the Supreme Court comes down hard, once again, on the 9th Circuit Court's reprehensible decision.

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