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orthogonal's Journal: Sad news ... American Liberty, dead at 227 11

Journal by orthogonal

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - American liberty was found dead at the Supreme Court this morning. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss it - even if you believe you don't need civil liberties because you're not a criminal, there's no denying its importance to the Founding Fathers. Truly an American icon.

The U.S. Supreme Court today handed down its decision in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the state of Nevada, 03-5554, ruling that Americans have no constitutional right to refuse to give their names when asked to by police. The Court, in the opinion written by Mr. Justice Kennedy, explicitly says that police can demand your name even without probable cause to make an arrest, in the course of a so-called Terry stop, because "[o]btaining a suspect's name in the course of a Terry stop serves important government interests".

Slashdot previously discussed the Hiibel case in February.

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Sad news ... American Liberty, dead at 227

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  • I remember reading one of the SC justices stating that if people were concerned with privacy and other civil liberties, they would have to speak up in order for them to be defended.

    Apparently, no one spoke up. :(
    • SC justices stating that if people were concerned with privacy and other civil liberties, they would have to speak up in order for them to be defended.

      Obvious question: Why do we need to speak up for the Supreme Court to defend the Bill of Rights?

      OK, to me, privacy is an extension of Amendment IV [usconstitution.net], which states in part:

      The right of a person to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seiures, shall not be violated, and no Warrnts shall issue, but upon pro

  • It's not as though a slow erosion of fundamental freedoms could possibly lead us incrementally towards a totalitarian state.
  • Do I have to hand in my ACLU membership card, because when I heard this on the radio I thought "Gee, seems reasonable enough"......

    I can think of lots of violations of privacy but one's name doesn't fall into that category for me.

    • I guess I cannot figure out what is wrong this as well. Why does it mean the end of American Freedom?

      • Are you telling me that it seems reasonable that you can be arrested for not giving your name? Cop has no warrant, no probable cause, no suspicion of any crime being committed .. he just asks you your name, you refuse (or don't answer quick enough for his liking) and he slaps the cuffs on you? That's freedom?
        • Yes, when said state has a law that says you need to tell Law Enforcement when they ask. Please note, tell them your name, not produce papers, not show them your ID, just tell them your @#$@&!$ name.

          Guess what? My state (Massachusetts) has the same law. Geuss what? Same thing happened to me, I was minding my own business, an officer came up to me, and asked me my name. I told him, he asked for some ID, I said 'No', when asked why I told him that I wasn't driving a card and I was under no legal obligati
          • Yes, when said state has a law that says you need to tell Law Enforcement when they ask. Please note, tell them your name, not produce papers, not show them your ID, just tell them your @#$@&!$ name.


            If said state has such a law, then obeying it is being orderly and compliant to the rule of law. However, the existence of that law makes that state less than free, IMHO.
      • Imagine that you are at a legal protest, behaving in a completely legal manner, but you'd prefer that your name not be associated with the protest, due to possible reprecussions against you and your family.

        Now a cop can demand your name, and refusing to give it will result in your arrest. OTOH, providing may result in continuing harassment. This seems like a problem to me, as it lets the police decide arbitrarily what speech is acceptable and what is not.

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