To mark the end of this year’s Mid-August meals, here is a news roundup:
Justice Elena Kagan said yesterday in Providence that the Supreme Court justices, rather than emailing each other, write memos, which are printed on ivory paper and then carried by chambers aides to their recipients. She remarked that “the justices are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people…the court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email.” She acknowledged, as Chief Justice Roberts has, that the court is “going to have to be doing a lot of thinking” about privacy, technology, and surveillance. One hopes that their clerisy will judge privacy issues with better sucess than the Roman Catholic clergy has handled sexual ethics. Lack of (open) practice does not usually make perfect.
Justice Scalia said in Bozeman that “it’s not up to the courts to invent new minorities that get special protections.” He meant “don’t tread on my right as a member of an ethnic group formerly despised as anarchists but now accepted as more or less white folk to tread all over other folks who disgust me and don’t tread on my prerogative to say I am not a bigot if I redefine equal protection as special protection.”
The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, disclosed that the newspaper was compelled to destroy hard drives with some of the classified government documents Edward Snowden gave to their reporters. Rusbridger noted that there are other copies of the documents outside London, so he “was happy to destroy a copy in London.” The Guardian, and the Daily Mail (which in the fullness of time may raise its gaze above celebrity rehab) have U.S. websites, correspondents, and offices, so the barbaric lack of First Amendment protections in Britain is so far not a crippling constraint for them.
White House deputy spokesman Josh (no kidding) Earnest said Tuesday “it’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which (it) would be appropriate” to just tear up the First and Fourth, among other Amendments, and smash a newspaper’s computers. Why would anyone be concerned that that position might “evolve”?