Sunday, 29 January 2012

Weekly news wrap-up: Fourth Amendment edition

Some of the non-craptastic events of the week:

  • Outgoing Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank announced that he and his longtime partner, Jim Ready, are getting hitched. Unfortunately, due to the Defense of Marriage Act, Mr. Ready won't get access to all the perks that comes with being the spouse of a federal employee. Mazel tov! 
  • President Obama signed into law the Fair Sentencing Act which reduces the massive disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine, from 100:1 to 18:1. The act also eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine. It's a good first step in ending the horrible racism that occurs in the sentencing of drug offenders. Bravo! 
  • A bill that would require drug testing for welfare recipients in Indiana was withdrawn by its Republican sponsor after a Democratic assemblyman amended the measure to require drug testing for lawmakers.  Score a victory for the Fourth Amendment. If it's unconstitutional to drug test political candidates (as decided by the Supreme Court in 1997), why is it OK to do so to the poor? 
  • The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the use of Global Positioning System trackers on suspects' vehicles without a search warrant is unconstitutional. Another victory for the Fourth Amendment!

In not so happy news, Ms. Etta James was laid to rest this week. I think today is a perfect day to be lazy and celebrate her life by listening to her amazing voice.

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