Susan Estrich - Life experience matters on the Supreme Court

Since the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court went up in flames back in 1987, every appointee to the court has understood that when asked at confirmation hearings about how your personal experiences might affect your decisions, the right answer is "balls and strikes." Just an umpire, they all say, and even though no one — on the left or the right — believes this to be true, we all understand the necessity of the charade.

Consciously and unconsciously, what seems to be objectively "right" is inevitably influenced by the experiences of the person judging.

Years ago, a friend was writing a brief seeking to convince the court to exclude the contents of a locked trunk chock full of marijuana. Much to everyone's surprise, at a time when virtually every search-and-seizure case to go to the court resulted in approval of police conduct, the court in this case found that the officers had gone too far.

The brilliance of the brief, if you ask me, was that she never called it a footlocker. It was a valise, more like a briefcase, more like the kind of thing justices use to carry draft opinions than the things drug dealers use to transport drugs. Who would want their briefcase — full of personal papers, much less draft opinions — searched without a warrant? Certainly not a majority of the court.

And who would want to see their daughters suffer as the victims of discrimination? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted years ago that the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, in what she termed a "delightful surprise," had written an opinion criticizing "stereotypes about women's domestic roles" and speculated that his "life experience" — one of his daughters was a recently divorced working mother — might have played a role.

A new study conducted by professors Maya Sen of the University of Rochester and Adam Glynn of Harvard found that having at least one daughter "corresponds to a 7 percent increase in the proportion of cases in which a judge will vote in a feminist direction." To quote Sen, "Things like having daughters can actually fundamentally change how people view the world, and this, in turn, affects how they decide cases."

If having a daughter affects how you see the world and carrying a briefcase affects how you view searches of "valises," then we should not be surprised that having a cellphone, which I think it's fair to assume all nine justices do, might lead you to think carefully before declaring open season on cellphone records. And so the court ruled, notwithstanding that the defendant in the case was a gang member — as we used to say, "not exactly a sympathetic defendant."
Real-world experience matters. If only one of the justices had run for office in his or her life, or been in charge of raising money for a campaign, we might have some common sense on the subject of campaign finance regulations, instead of the court's naive view that somehow money that doesn't go directly to the candidate can't possibly corrupt the process. Where is Chief Justice (and former governor) Earl Warren when we need him? The court desperately needs a real-world politician.

In the meantime, cellphone users can be assured that absent extraordinary circumstances, police must secure a warrant to view your records. But the privacy debate is not likely to end with this ruling.

I've never understood why people get so outraged that the government might be reviewing data in its effort to fight terrorism (or stop gangs), but even greater intrusions by private companies raise no hackles. Of course, criminals know when their records have been seized, because the evidence is used against them in court, which is where and how the challenge gets raised. You and I probably have no idea who knows what about us, or how they are using that information, or how to find out, let alone how to challenge its use. But I have no doubt that there are lawyers and hackers figuring that out right now.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

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Please check out & send them some money if you can

To The Daily Sun,

Thanks to the Supreme Court's unanimous 9-0 decision of rebuke against our currently elected tyrant's lawless power grabbing, the Fourth Amendment lives to protect for another day. The police still need a warrant before they can search someones' cell phone with a few extreme exceptions.

Wednesday's ruling in Riley v. California gives us hope that Lady Liberty still can shine brightly on this very special and exceptional nation. However, many still believe the Fourth Amendment remains supine and on life support. But, now comes the also-unanimous Supreme Court slap- down of President Obama's unlawful NLRB "recess" appointments and rulings, perhaps enough dictatorial nonsense really is finally, quite enough.

So, just why would folks believe that the Fourth Amendment is in such dire straits? Could it be because of the smart, shrewd and calculating maneuvers of Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Valeria Jarrett and the rest of this maniacal administration? Could it be that the hordes of progressive Democrats who roam this great nation are laser-focused on the stealing away of our liberties in myriad and clandestine ways? What we do know is that their relentless and cunning, ideologically driven mania will not let this setback deter them on their destructive road to serfdom for the citizens of this country.

Those who share their socialist ideology will stay the course no matter what. Those sucking on the teat of nanny government will have no incentive to protest the bureaucratic bullying of those who pay federal taxes. The low-information voters will believe whatever is told to them by their liberal friends and the Obama-adoring media. Those of us who understand the tipping point tsunami that is upon us are rightfully apoplectic with apprehension and fear.

Many of my friends and family continue to query me as to what they can possibly do to make a difference. Well, here is one thing they can do. Something that I have already done more than once. Please check out The American Center for Law and Justice fought this Fourth Amendment battle to a magnificent conclusion as they have many other battles for our precious freedoms. Jay Sekulow, who is the head of this terrific non-profit organization, is a true "warrior for liberty." Please sign their petitions if you agree with the tenets of them. And if you can afford to, please send them some money. Whatever you can afford will be money well spent in defense of this nation of incomparable liberties.

Russ Wiles


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Prediction of 4% annual population growth for county is in error

To The Daily Sun,

David Bennett made some surprising statements in his assessment of the county criminal justice system. As an example: "there is no correlation between crime and the number of those incarcerated." According to Bennett, only two factors are at work in determining inmate population: Overall population and the policies adopted by the criminal justice system.

This matter of policy is why it was stressed by him that an assessment of county resources and of the various parts of the criminal justice system be effected before planning a new jail.

Bennett's report was made when Belknap County demographics were in transition. Thus, his prediction of 4 percent annual growth in county population is in error which, in turn, skews his projection of future growth in our inmate population. His assessment of the disparity between Belknap and other jurisdictions for length of stay, rearrests for minor violations of probation and parole, percentage of sentences which include jail time and length of time from arraignment to trial or case disposition are worthy of close attention.

A few examples of how policy controls jail population are as follows: 1) Seventy-five percent of probation holds do not involve a new crime. 2) Half of misdemeanor arrests are not released pretrial. 3) Violators of probation average 178 days in jail.

These statistics help explain why Belknap County is anomalous when compared to other jurisdictions either in New Hampshire or nationally.

A quick computer search of the number of states and counties which are closing jails rather than building new ones produces direct corroboration of Bennett's comments and makes it the more imperative that a comprehensive study of county criminal justice policy be effected. The report by Ricci Greene/ASA fails to do that assessment. The only option given by Ricci Greene is the facility to which the jail planning facility is wed which makes participation in that committee a charade designed to give cover to predetermined conclusions.

Of course I did not advocate that Belknap County be sued for the condition of its jail, but merely relayed the comments made in a public forum by a defense attorney at a meeting of the county delegation. It would be fair to say that the commissioners' misfeasance of not making a report to the State Attorney General on jail conditions, as required by statute, for the four years when consideration of a new jail was under way is a telling commentary on their subterfuge and contempt for due process.

Rep. Richard B. Burchell

Belknap County District 5



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Blame Republicans, they won't vote for new immigration laws

To The Daily Sun,

While using this latest "refuse to vote on it" (immigration reform legislation) cause to raise more cash as usual, everybody wants to

blame Obama for it. There are numerous articles with the blame on both sides for one reason or another.

We can also put some blame on Bush, as his policy was to deport adults and minors to Mexico. The problem is these kids are not from Mexico, but the rest of Central America. They are held for 72 hours while searching for relatives, and the blacklog continues to grow. We will invest in excess of $225 million to the Central American countries to fight the problem. We now have more than 700 miles of fencing, 21,000 border agents, cameras and more to secure the border.

Central American countries advertise Obama as tough on immigration, which means there is no open invitation to come to the USA. But because of the conditions at home, the young and female are so are easy to manipulate. Translation problems can make them think they are welcome and wanted here. Our border agents are overworked. Most or all of our immigration policies deal with Mexico but not the other countries. Mexico hasn't had much of an increase in illegals but the rest of Central America has.

Of course, those in D.C. could vote on this, but it does mean working. Last I heard, which was this morning, they only talk about an only door policy inviting these kids here and infected kids spreading diseases on purpose. But since the GOP refuses to vote on any new immigration laws, we might want to shift your blame to them. What I have seen is the Border Patrol and other organizations setting up medical areas wherever they can to fight these medical problems. Yes, these kids have medical problems and those on the border are overwhelmed by the onslaught of immigrants.

Mr. Wiles, you are right about the GOP and cheap labor. Only yesterday, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) was offering jobs to rebuild a bridge if the workers would work at less pay. And Mr. Ewing, what exactly what are our president's personal objectives that he would sacrifice the health of the American people?

Jon Hoyt


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An outrage that major news media care so little about our vets

To The Daily Sun,

So, you like being made a fool of? Or is it that you are just too busy to care? If not, let's put an end to the censorship on America's major news networks!
Here are some facts you can choose to ignore or wake up and demand to be told the truth about what is really going on in our government! This is the censorship that goes on daily within our totally biased major news stations; it is the same type of reporting that goes on in many communist countries. But, not here in the USA, right? Sorry, we once had, years ago, news we could trust and believe in. Now, the major news stations choose to broadcast only what is best for their own personal political agenda!
This is how much time they spent covering major news events, which affect every American citizen's right to the truth of how our country is being run!
This is the total combined coverage that ABC, CBS and NBC gave these latest scandals:
— "BRIDGEGATE" — the scandal involving a Republican governor which, they didn't hesitate to air for 112 mins and 23 seconds in the first 4 1/2 days!
— THE IRS SCANDAL — a total of 3 minutes and 14 seconds in the first week!
It is an outrage that our major news media cares so little about our veterans who have fought and died to defend our civil liberties, that they would hush this story up for two solid weeks. It seems they wait, hoping that each scandal will blow over, so they don't have to report it! See the pattern, here?
Do our citizens care so little about how are government is run, that they will refuse to demand the truth be told, no matter which political side it offends?
Are you willing to be manipulated by biased news coverage?
I know some will come back with: "well you must believe Fox News." To that I can say yes, I watch Fox News at 6 p.m., hosted by Brett Baier. To those of you who care about the truth give it a try and you will see unbiased coverage with a panel that consists of guests from the right and the left.

Linda Dupere

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