SCOTUS – Formidable Lineup of cases

supreme court 2017

The highest court in the US is often the final word on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.

It hears fewer than 100 cases a year and the key announcements are made in June. Each of the nine justices serve a lifetime appointment after being nominated by the president and approved by the Senate.

Cases are usually brought to the court after they are appealed from a series of lower courts, although in time-sensitive cases, lawyers can petition for a hearing. The court’s opinions can also create precedents, directing other judges to follow their interpretation in similar cases.

In recent years, the court has expanded gay marriage to all 50 states, halted President Obama’s immigration orders and delayed a US plan to cut carbon emissions while appeals went forward.

Occasionally, the Supreme Court will revisit an issue in a new case and change their own precedent, a move anti-abortion activists hope will come to pass with a new conservative justice.

The case that interest me the most is Carpenter v United States, which is another application of 18th-century rights to the 21st comes in Carpenter v United States, a case asking whether the right to privacy extends to information beamed out from mobile phones. In 2011, when Timothy Carpenter was arrested for organizing a series of armed robberies, the FBI built its case on four months of mobile-phone data showing where he was when the crimes took place. This information was retrieved under a law permitting phone companies to divulge information to corroborate “specific and articulate facts” relevant to a criminal investigation. By placing Mr Carpenter within a stone’s throw of the robberies based on the antennae through which he placed and received calls, the FBI was able to map his movements and convict him without ever securing a warrant from a judge. In Carpenter, the justices will ask whether this tactic violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures”.

source

here and here

 

Private eye Vincent Parco

Truth – they say, and I of course am starting to believe in is stranger than fiction!

This is so juicy and good that I love it !

Like many private investigators, Vincent Parco has, for nearly 30 years, made his living in the darker corners of New York.

In 1991, he admitted on the witness stand to having sold a pistol and a silencer to a woman who used them in a love-triangle murder that came to be known in the city’s tabloid media as the “Fatal Attraction” case. Decades later, he found himself embroiled in the salacious prosecution of Anna Gristina, the so-called Soccer Mom Madam, whose little black book inspired terror among the rich and famous, both before, and after, she pleaded guilty, to running a brothel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

On Tuesday, however, Mr. Parco, 67, made the leap from a simple sleuth and connoisseur of crime to a criminal defendant. In a proceeding that rivaled (and perhaps outdid) his prior exploits in the underworld, he was charged with trying to derail a sexual abuse case in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn by secretly recording a witness having sex with prostitutes he had hired then threatening to expose the man unless he stopped cooperating with prosecutors.

NYT – page A21; Wednesday, September 20th 2017

Condaleezza Rice

Condaleezza Rice is an excellent story teller

David Rubinstein interviewing her

Carla Hayden, the Librarian of congress, introducing her

Dr. Rice has a fantastic story about growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama

Became full professor at 30 at Stanford

Rubinstein is a very gentle interviewer

( Hayden said he was the best interviewer she ever knew )

David Baldacci

Man, what a story teller. Lives near D.C. In Virginia.

Wonderful anecdotes and accolades !

The audience was so supportive and warm and he felt it

I must confess, this is the first time, seeing him and have never read any of his books.

So a die hard fan, the retired Mr. dale suggested ‘the fix’

Now a few questions the audience asked. He elaborated well in each of his answers

Q) hardest book to write

A) the camel club series – because of the ensemble of cast

Q) Outlines and ending

A) he never knows the ending of his novel and very short generic mini outlines.

Theobroma cacao

In Greek Theo- Broma – god food

In Aztec and Mayan cultures cacao beans were used as currency

An average American consumes 10 pounds of it!! ( about 4.5 kilograms )

Cacao flowers are pollinated by flies called midges in the wild.

In the US botanic gardens, the flowers are hand pollinated by rubbing flowers from one cacao tree on those of another tree !

The tree is big! Therefore it is called a chocolate tree – not a Plant !