Constitution ‘exemption’ zone spans 100 miles inland of US border – judge

Published on Russia Today RT, Dec 31, 2013.

A US federal judge has reaffirmed an Obama administration policy granting officials the authority to search Americans’ laptops, citing a controversial premise that makes citizens within 100 miles of the border eligible for a police check.  

District Judge Edward Korman made his ruling in New York on Tuesday, more than three years after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit. The ACLU claimed that – since Americans put so much of their lives on their computers, cell phones, and other devices – border officials should have reasonable suspicion before sifting through someone’s personal files.

Attorneys argued that searches conducted without reasonable suspicion are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

Not so, according to Judge Korman. In his decision Tuesday he argued that the area 100 miles inland falls under a “border exemption.”

“Laptops have only come into widespread use in the twenty-first century. Prior to that time, lawyers, photographers, and scholars managed to travel overseas and consult with clients, take photographs, and conduct scholarly research,” wrote Korman.

“No one ever suggested the possibility of a border search had a chilling effect on his or her First Amendment rights. While it is true that laptops make overseas work more convenient, the precaution plaintiffs may choose to take to ‘mitigate’ the alleged harm associated with the remote possibility of a border search are simply among the many inconveniences associated with international travel.”

The federal government has long conducted searches on travelers entering and leaving the US, but Congress expanded that policy by creating the Department of Homeland Security and setting up at least 33 checkpoints inside the country where people are stopped and asked to prove their citizenship.

The trouble is, the ACLU noted, that almost two-thirds of the population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US border. New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and dozens of other major metropolitan areas fall under the so-called “exemption” zone … //

… (full text).

Links:

Optimistic Thought for the New Year: The Looming Battle for Real Social Security Can Spawn a New Progressive Movement,on Dissident Voice, by Dave Lindorff, December 31, 2013;

Interview With Pussy Riot Member: I Want Justice, on Spiegel Online International, by Matthias Schepp, December 30, 2013
(Photo Gallery): Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova talks about her plans following her release from prison, what she has in common with former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and her five-year-old daughter’s drawings …;

The Russian Bear steps in as the American Empire unravels in the Middle East
, on Global Research.ca, by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Dec 29, 2013;

How Switzerland can defend its independence in a changing environment: Abandoning state sovereignty means degenerating into a vassal state, on Current Concern, Interview with Professor Dr Albert Stahel, Institute for Strategic Studies, Wädenswil, by Thomas Kaiser, Dec 27, 2013;

Strengthening the ties between the generations: strengthening humanity and social connectedness, one of the comprehensive tasks of school, on Current Conceerns, by Dr Eliane Gautschi, remedial pedagogue and headmistress, Dec 27, 2013;

Picture This: reader’s pictures uploaded, on Spiegel Online International.

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