Supremes give police access to your DNA

It takes a warrant for the police to search your house or tap your phone.  But not to record and keep track of your DNA.  So ruled the Supreme Court yesterday.  The Constitution’s protections against “unreasonable search and seizure” do not apply to your genetic code. [Read more...]

What is a dog worth?

If a dog is killed through someone’s negligence, is the owner entitled to compensation for just the monetary value of the animal (usually not much) or also for the “sentimental value” that come from the owner’s emotional attachment to the pet?  After all, family heirlooms–such as your grandfather’s watch or a piece of jewelry that has been handed down from generation to generation–can have a claimed value greater than the material cost.  Why not a family pet?

The Texas Supreme Court just ruled on this matter.  What do you think it ruled?  What do you think it should have ruled?  Think about that, then after the jump read about the court’s decision and George Will’s account of the case.  Do you agree with what he says about it? [Read more...]

Immigration deal reached

The Senate reached a bipartisan deal on immigration reform.  The measure must now go to the House, where we will see if the Republican agreement holds.  Details after the jump. [Read more...]

Should you be able to buy a car online?

It’s illegal to buy a car direct from the factory or over the internet.  You have to go through a local dealer.  The electric car company Tesla is trying to change that.  But state and local governments are resisting.  That, arguably, goes against the free market and against the trends of the new technology.  But do we really want online commerce to kill off small businesses that are the backbone of many small town economies? [Read more...]

Court rules against German homeschoolers

The German government threatened to take away the children of a couple on the grounds that they were being homeschooled.  So the family fled to the United States and applied for asylum, claiming that they faced persecution for their beliefs.  Their application was first accepted, but later overturned, leading to a series of court battles, with the Obama administration arguing for deportation.  Yesterday, an appeals court ruled against the family.

I thought the Obama administration wants amnesty for immigrants.  Why not these immigrants, who–like many of the first settlers–came here specifically in search of religious, political,  and personal liberty?

[Read more...]

“A dagger at the heart” of a free press

Maybe we need to start worrying about those black helicopters after all.  The Obama administration keeps confirming the alarms over intrusive government and the violation of civil liberties.  In an effort to track down the source of leaks, the justice department has secretly subpoened and seized two months of phone records of the Associated Press.  David Schultz, lawyer for the AP, calls this crackdown on confidential sources a “dagger at the heart” of reporters’ ability to get the news.

Whether or not you are sympathetic to the plight of journalists here (and we must not let our dislike of the media distract from the First Amendment issues), this possible government overreach may have an unintended consequence:  What if it turns the press against the Obama administration?  Who knows what else they may dig up? [Read more...]


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