1. “Obama Crowned Himself on New Year’s Eve
The bill just signed into law, as sent to the President, said this:
“Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”
In other words, Congress was giving its stamp of approval to the unconstitutional outrages already claimed by the President. But then, why create a new law at all? Well, because some outrages are more equal than others, and Congress had chosen to specify some of those and in fact to expand some of them. For example:
“Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.”
“The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following: (1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”
Jon Stewart explained when those detained without trial under the law might be released: “So when the war on terror ends, and terror surrenders and is no longer available as a human emotion, you are free to go.”
2. “Time for Supreme Court to Weigh in on Forced DNA Collection
Can the government force people who are arrested – but not yet convicted of a crime – to give a DNA sample without a search warrant, or does that violate the Fourth Amendment? One arrestee is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider this important question, and this week EFF urged the court to take the case.
A federal law mandates DNA collection for those who have been arrested for felonies. The FBI analyzes the samples, and puts a profile into CODIS, a national database. Those who aren’t eventually convicted of a crime can get their information removed if they request to do so, but data from other individuals remains indefinitely. In this case from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. v. Mitchell, the defendant argues that the DNA collection violates his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Some judges have considered DNA profiles in the same light as fingerprints – a means of identification. But DNA is much more than that. It can reveal your family background, your current health, and your future propensity for disease, among other personal details. In the future, as technology advances, scientists will be able to read even more into DNA. Meanwhile, the government is collecting this information without warrants, and storing them in a database that’s freely accessed by state and federal law enforcement agents across the country without any need for a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment prohibits warrantless searches and seizures of private information, and we think its protections apply to the DNA collection at issue here.”