I received a forwarded email about a horrific incursion on our freedoms, property rights and liberty. And the repercussions one web site, The Libertarian Enterprise, suffered when they tried to expose this unconstitutional activity by our government.
First, here is how the email described the unconstitutional activity:
Last August, _TLE_ ran a piece by our frequent contributor Jim Davidson about the hypocrisy of the federal judiciary. Three federal judges had just authorized a practice in which armed government agents
could feel free to trespass on a citizen’s property without a warrant or probable cause, in order to affix a GPS tracker to that citizen’s car.
Without knowing the exact case for sure, I suspect the email and post were referring to the California case where agents, without a warrant and (obviously) with neither the owner’s knowledge nor his permission, crept onto a suspected drug manufacturer’s property, placed a GPS device on his car, and (apparently) crept back onto the property to grab the data and, eventually, the device.
They used the GPS data to locate a marijuana crop being grown by the owner of the vehicle in a secluded location, used the GPS data as evidence in court and convicted the man, who is serving a 51 month jail sentence.
On appeal, the uber-liberal 9th Circuit Court upheld the conviction. It should be noted that the 9th Circuit has the dubious distinction of being the most often overturned court in the land. Which is no surprise when you consider that the 9th is located in the liberal la-la land of the Western States.
A similar case was heard in Washington DC and a Federal Court ruled the GPS placements unconstitutional without a warrant.
This case will ultimately be decided in the US Supreme Court.
Now, to The Libertarian Enterprise contributor Jim Davidson,the 9th Circuit Court had made an egregious error, ignoring the US Constitution, and overstepping the bounds of sanity by upholding the conviction.
I agree 100% with Davidson’s assessment. The DC Court got this one right, and I believe that ruling will prevail, eventually, in the Supreme Court.
But the main issue the email had was the Government Censorship that came next.
As the email describes it:
Our columnist’s natural and logical response was to deprive these judges of privacy the same way they were allowing the privacy of the individuals who pay their salaries (however involuntarily) to be violated. Using only publicly available sources, he published their names, addresses, and other information. Let me state that again, so there can be no mistake: he published their names, addresses, and other such information which he had obtained from purely public sources.
And what happened next is where the Censorship and First Amendment violations come in to play:
This week — six months later — we have been notified, first by our domain registrar GoDaddy.com, then in an e-mail from the U.S. Marshals’ “service” that we must remove the offending article from _TLE_’s website, in order to assure the safety of the judges and their families. (This, of course, begs the question, why in the hell their information is publicly available if it constitutes a threat to their safety.) GoDaddy.com has refused to answer reasonable questions about this affair — such as precisely what Terms of Service we were in violation of — instead simply repeating the order to remove the material.
We have complied.
So, the intent was to deprive the justices of their privacy as payback for their ruling, which is most likely unconstitutional. That will teach them, right?
Well, no. Depriving justices of their privacy, no matter the source of the information, and no matter how bad the ruling happens to be (and this ruling is a real stinker), is simply wrong.
We are a country of laws and processes. When a lower court errs, there is an appeals process. The final authority is the Supreme Court. And even then, the Legislative branch has the power to create new law, and we also have a process to amend the Constitution if all else fails.
What this group did was to take matters into their own hands, deprive the Justices of their due process (the appeals process) and publish personal information on them to deprive them of their privacy.
No matter how wrong the ruling is, these Judges were doing their job.
I do not agree with their ruling, but I agree even less with the publishing of their names, addresses and “other personal information”.
Releasing the names of the Judges is fair game. It is on the ruling itself. Researching their other rulings, shining light on this horrible ruling, drumming up support for an appeal to the Supreme Court and other activist measures is how our Democracy works. Even working to have them impeached is a legal and worthy enterprise.
But making it personal, involving their families and going after the judges is simply wrong, and dangerous. The proper course of action is to attack the ruling with all possible vigor and all legal means at our disposal. Not the person making the ruling.
Sorry, my brothers at The Libertarian Enterprise.
I hear you, I agree with your assessment, I share your outrage.
But I implore you to work within the system and leave the personal attacks to the liberals on the left. That is all they have. We have the Constitution and all that is right and just on our side.
We don’t need personal attacks to win this one.