Thursday, March 11, 2004

Anyhow, these men may be my beloved brothers-in-Christ but man, the laws they are putting into play, quite frankly, scare me. The new laws they are trying to get in place especially scare me. It means that if I had a cousin who came over from Hong Kong and immigrated recently, that cousin could be secretly arrested without a criminal charge and officials wouldn't have to tell me anything while they sleep-deprived him or treated him in any inhumane fashion. This could happen and it would be perfectly legal. That's scary.
I've lately been giving more and more thought about the presidential election this fall. What scares me most about Republicans was their willingness to sacrifice the individual right to privacy in order to supposedly achieve greater protection against terrorism vis-a-vis the Patriot Act (John Ashcroft pushed this passed Congress a couple weeks after 9/11). Among the things that concern me are:

-The FBI need not show probable cause, nor even reasonable grounds to believe, that the person whose records it seeks is engaged in criminal activity.
-The FBI need not have any suspicion that the subject of the investigation is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.
-The FBI can investigate United States persons based in part on their exercise of First Amendment rights, and it can investigate non-United States persons based solely on their exercise of First Amendment rights.
For example, the FBI could spy on a person because they don't like the books she reads, or because they don't like the web sites she visits. They could spy on her because she wrote a letter to the editor that criticized government policy.
-Those served with Section 215 orders are prohibited from disclosing the fact to anyone else. Those who are the subjects of the surveillance are never notified that their privacy has been compromised. If the government had been keeping track of what books a person had been reading, or what web sites she had been visiting, the person would never know.

*Basically, the FBI can put you under surveillance and under investigation because you don't like the color of George Bush's tie or for being critical of government policies. That's a pretty strong way to discourage free speech.

What really scares me is that John Ashcroft (George Bush's attorney general and fellow brother in Christ) is authoring a new Patriot Act enhancement dubbed the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act", which would allow among other things:

-government officials secret access to credit reports (YOUR credit reports) without consent and without judicial process.
-authorize secret arrests in immigration and other cases, such as those involving material witness warrants, where the detained person is not criminally charged.
- allow for the sampling and cataloguing of innocent Americans' genetic information without court order and without consent
-shelter federal agents engaged in illegal surveillance without a court order from criminal prosecution if they are following orders of high Executive Branch officials.
*So basically, if they are following the orders of Dick Cheney to have you illegally watched, there's nothing you can do about it.

So, I also got a job offer to work for the California Attorney General's office this summer, chasing after the Martha Stewarts and Bernie Ebbers of California. Not sure if I want to take it over the bankruptcy court offer I have and if I also happen to get offers from the other two judges, I will have a very difficult decision to make.
I went to the California Supreme Court today to observe trial court proceedings. Unfortunately, the bailiff threw me out of court. Apparently, you aren't supposed to wear shorts in the courtroom. What a stuffy court.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I just want to start by apologizing to everyone whose blog I've been commenting on in an argumentative fashion. These past few weeks and these upcoming weeks, I've been preparing and will be preparing for my moot court oral arguments. Today, during my oral argument practice, opposing counsel tried to establish her case using a prior case decision. When my turn came up, I distinguished her case by citing how our case at hand and her precedential case differ. When a judge tried to shoot me down with a difficult question, I came up with an answer that was so good that my professor stopped and announced to the whole class "Everyone arguing on the respondent's side (my side) should pay attention. THAT'S how you argue that point." I blushed, thanked the court, and sat down because I knew I had won. Game set match. My opponent, on rebuttal, tried to refute what I said with no success...

Better not get too far ahead of myself though. This was only practice. Next week, the judges will have much tougher questions for me I bet....

Sunday, March 07, 2004

One other thing, it's settled....

Dress Code
Federal District Court: Suit + tie
California Appellate Court: Hawaiian shirts + khakis
Sacramento: 100 degrees in the summer

Cal Appellate wins hands down. Now let's see if I get it.
After babysitting my 2 year old and 4 year old cousins today while their mom and dad went to see the Passion today, I am no officially pooped. I was their horse, playpal, punching bag, and beanie bag chair rolled into one... I don't have the energy I used to...