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All Writs Act

While the All Writs Act is not used every day, the act has been successfully invoked by the government to compel telephone companies to install wiretaps, for phone companies to hand over call records, and to obtain CCTV footage, handwriting exemplars, and DNA samples. It has even been cited to force a defendant to cough up his computer password.

What’s more, it has played a part in copyright piracy cases. In a forthcoming law journal article,Annemarie Bridy, a law professor at the University of Idaho, writes that “some courts granting broad preliminary orders against non-parties in ‘pirate site’ cases have cited the All Writs Act as a source of authority.”

The All Writs Act was originally part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the Supreme Court, the lower courts, and spelled out the basic powers of the judicial branch of government. In 1990, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor described the Judiciary Act as “probably the most important and most satisfactory Act ever passed by Congress.”

Via How Apple will fight the DOJ in iPhone backdoor crypto case @ Ars Technica.

No Duty 

Article II, Section 2 does not lay out any specific procedure by which the Senate can refuse its consent. It does not indicate whether it must do so by taking a vote, or whether it can simply refuse to consider the president’s nominee at all. However, Article I, Section 5 states that “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings.” That power includes the rules for considering judicial nominations, as well as all other Senate business. Thus, so long as the Senate has established rules that allow it

Via The Constitution does not require the Senate to give judicial nominees an up or down vote @  Washington Post Volokh Conspiracy.

New book

“For those joining the conversation mid-stream, this is the third in a series of posts introducing some themes of “The Constitution: An Introduction,” my new book co-authored with my son, Luke Paulsen. Eugene Volokh has graciously invited me to guest-blog this week to introduce the book.” Via The constitutional case for interposition and nullification @…

Film: The Newspaper Crisis of 1945

Print newspapers once dominated America’s news media and culture. Those days are long past; they’ll not return. Embedded below, though, is a short film describing a newspaper strike in 1945, told from the point-of-view of a New York newspaper and emphasizing how important newspapers once were. Posted at Daily Adams and FREE WHITEWATER.

The Only Moral System at the End of History

No one living in an established democracy should be complacent about its survival. But despite the short-term ebb and flow of world politics, the power of the democratic ideal remains immense. We see it in the mass protests that continue to erupt unexpectedly from Tunis to Kiev to Istanbul, where ordinary people demand governments that…

Understanding America Backwards

There’s a longstanding maxim of liberty that Americans inherited from England: ‘those things not prohibited by law are permitted.’ The burden is on the state: if there’s no express ban under law, then a person is free to act.  Since government has to enumerate restrictions if it wants to enforce them, a free society places…

In Defense of Partisan Journalism

Jack Shafer makes the good – and historically sound – case: Greenwald’s collaborations with source Edward Snowden, which resulted in Page One scoops in the Guardian about the National Security Agency, caused such a rip in the time-space-journalism continuum that the question soon went from whether Greenwald’s lefty style of journalism could be trusted to…

Blaming the Younger Generation

One reads now and again of unruly, uncontrolled – dare one say raucous? – young people. Consider this heartfelt lament: Furthermore, during the last thirty years customs have changed; now when young…get together, if there is not just talk about money matters, loss and gain, secrets, clothing styles, or matters of sex, there is no…