When asked about the decision in Bush v. Gore, Justice Antonin Scalia — one of the best legal minds in modern American history — tells questioners to “get over it.” That’s right, the Supreme Court decided the winner of a popular presidential election, and one of the architects of that decision wants people to not care about it anymore. Is he serious? I wish Scalia could just “get over” the fact that privacy is a right now, but nobody begrudges him the right to ask questions about it.
It’s the ten-year anniversary of the Bush v. Gore decision, and everybody is talking about it, in part because the Court does not talk about it. Writing in the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin tells us that in the decade since the five “conservative” justices stopped Florida’s recount, the Supreme Court has cited Bush v. Gore exactly zero times. Think about that: it’s been ten years since the Supreme Court picked the president, and the Court is kind of hoping everybody forgets about it. Bush v. Gore is like a stripper the Court killed in Vegas when it was there for a bachelor’s party. “She’s got no friends or family, strippers die all the time in Vegas, let’s get back to the hotel and NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN.”
But this isn’t some drunk broad you can drive into the Atlantic Ocean and hope everybody covers for you. This is a presidential election! And whether or not they talk about it, the effect of Bush v. Gore is very evident today — and not just because of the five SCOTUS votes that were more important than everybody else’s….
* An inconvenient truth? A massage therapist in Oregon previously accused Al Gore, once thought to be a robot eunuch, of unwanted sexual advances. Is this why the Gores’ marriage didn’t have a happy ending? [Associated Press]
* YouTube scores a “decisive win” over Viacom in their long-running litigation over copyright infringement, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provision. [Technology & Marketing Law Blog / Eric Goldman]
* Should Judge Martin Feldman have recused himself in the deep-water drilling case? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Is Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan getting “borked” — by Bork? [The BLT via ABA Journal]
* Alleged Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke, a fugitive from justice, is captured; Manatt Phelps claims it never did lobbying work in the Coke case. [Am Law Daily]
* New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, now running for governor, has accepted millions in campaign cash from special interests (some of whom he has pursued as AG). [New York Times]
* Five Muslim men from Virginia are each sentenced by a Pakistani court to at least 10 years in prison, on terrorism charges. [Washington Post]
If you’re driving 100 miles per hour, but in a hybrid vehicle, can you still get pulled over? Unfortunately for Al Gore III, yes. From Reuters:
The 24-year-old son of former Vice President Al Gore was arrested for drug possession on Wednesday after he was stopped for speeding in his hybrid Toyota Prius, a sheriff’s official said.
Al Gore III — whose father is a leading advocate of policies to fight global warming — was driving his environmentally friendly car at about 100 miles per hour on a freeway south of Los Angeles when he was pulled over by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy at about 2:15 a.m.
Speed limits suck. Why can’t we institute a system of “speeding offsets,” like the market for carbon offsets? Grandmothers in Boca Raton, who consistently drive 10 miles under the speed limit, could supplement their incomes by selling the right to speed. Who needs Social Security?
After the traffic stop, things only got worse for young Al. From the New York Daily News:
Deputies then searched the car, and Gore faced an inconvenient truth when they allegedly found a small amount of pot and mind-altering pills – Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall.
“He does not have a prescription for any of those drugs,” [a sheriff's spokesman] said.
Finally, we loved this little detail:
Al the 3rd lives in Los Angeles and works for GOOD magazine, which describes itself as “media for people who give a damn.”
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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