Doug Kendall, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal legal advocacy group, said the error was mystifying and very unusual for a Supreme Court justice. "It is a mind-blowing misstatement of a basic fact of the American Trucking Association ruling which Justice Scalia himself wrote. And it's not just a stray passage -- it's the basis for an entire section of the dissent," Kendall said. "It is very unusual to see a passage that so clearly misstates the fundamental facts of a prior ruling, especially one written by the justice himself."
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Constitutional Accountability Center Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra, who was in the Court for the morning proceedings, noted that, "Most of the Justices recognized that the vast troves of deeply personal information that Americans carry around on their cell phones raise new concerns regarding police searches incident to arrest. As Justice Kagan in particular noted, such a vast intrusion of privacy could be triggered by an arrest for as minor an infraction as failing to buckle your seatbelt."
Liberals and libertarians have united against the searches, and “a lot of people were looking for that right-left alliance to be mirrored on the court as well,” said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel at the left-leaning Constitutional Accountability Center. “Scalia, in criminal cases, is often the one who will join with the liberals,” she said.
It won't surprise anyone that Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a scathing dissent in a Supreme Court case that came down last week. But it might surprise some people that three members of the court's so-called liberal wing joined him.
CAC's Elizabeth Wydra appeared in this piece by AJAM's Lisa Stark discussing the implications of the cellphone privacy cases being heard this morning at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Private information used to be kept at home on paper, including your photos," said Elizabeth Wydra, counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center. "Now they're in your pocket on a phone. With a smartphone, you can literally look into a person's home."
In light of this new reality, argue Doug Kendall and Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center in their amicus brief, today's warrantless cellphone searches incident to arrest closely resemble the reviled "general warrants" and "writs of assistance" that British authorities carried out during colonial times—the precise evil the Framers of the Constitution sought to bar by enacting the Fourth Amendment.
“I don’t know whether Justice Scalia uses an iPhone,” [CAC Chief Counsel Elizabeth] Wydra said, “but he certainly understands the Fourth Amendment.”
“I think the Riley case, in particular, is incredibly important,” Elizabeth B. Wydra, chief counsel of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, said Friday, “and it should be important for everyone who has a smartphone. You’re talking about a treasure trove of personal information,” Wydra said, “the kind of information that we think of as deeply private.”
George Will tries to offer a civics lesson about how progressives miss the essence of the Constitution. But Will's basic problem is his own partial reading of the document, cherry-picking the parts he likes and ignoring the rest. Will should go back and read the whole thing. He'll find that the Constitution does not force us to choose between liberty and democracy. It guarantees both.
Cato’s brief in the Virginia case was written by Ilya Shapiro, with Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center. Filed this past Friday, it takes a conservative approach. It stresses the actual text and original intent of the Constitution, with special emphasis on the 14th Amendment.
CAC's Elizabeth Wydra joined Bill Press in-studio to talk about the week's major Supreme Court decisions and arguments.