Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is back in business, and the Court granted cert in a bunch of cases, including one on anonymous tips:
The U.S. Supreme Court granted review of a Northern California drug-transportation case Tuesday to decide whether police can stop a car based solely on an anonymous tip of reckless driving.You won't get to see any of these arguments on TV, which is just ridiculous. Here's Justice Alito's recent argument as to why oral argument should not be televised:
Under constitutional standards for searches and seizures, officers can detain a driver if they have reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, and can rely on an identified witness' description of illegal activity that endangers the public. But courts around the nation have disagreed on whether police can pull someone over because an anonymous source reported that the motorist was driving dangerously.
The high court agreed to hold a hearing and decide the issue in the term that ends in June.
The case dates from August 2008, when a Highway Patrol dispatcher got a call from someone who had been run off the road by a pickup truck on Highway 1 north of Fort Bragg. The caller provided the license number, and shortly afterward two CHP officers spotted and stopped the pickup.
The officers smelled marijuana when they approached, and found four bags of the drug in the truck bed, according to a state appeals court. After unsuccessfully challenging the search, the driver and passenger, brothers Lorenzo and Jose Navarette, pleaded guilty to transporting marijuana and were sentenced to 90 days in jail.
The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco upheld their convictions in October 2012, citing a 2006 California Supreme Court ruling that allowed police to rely on an anonymous tip without actually seeing the motorist driving recklessly.
"The report that the (Navarettes') vehicle had run someone off the road sufficiently demonstrated an ongoing danger to other motorists to justify the stop without direct corroboration of the vehicle's illegal activity," the appellate panel said in a 3-0 ruling.
In the course of his wide-ranging conversation with Levi, Alito explained his opposition — one shared by his Supreme Court colleagues — to having oral arguments televised. He recalled the arguments made by U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act during the last term of the Court.Or if they aren't.
Calling Verrilli a very good and skillful advocate, Alito noted that the solicitor general frequently argues before the Court and made three arguments on “Obamacare” in a week.
“To prepare for one argument is exhausting. To do three is Herculean,” said Alito. “So the solicitor general got up to argue during one of these arguments — it was not the first — and he had a bad 30 seconds. He was having trouble swallowing — he sipped [water] the wrong way. The argument was not televised, however contrary to our normal practice, we released the audio of this that afternoon. So that afternoon, C-SPAN broadcast the audio, along with still photos of the participants.
“Well, he recovered, he got his voice back, and he made a very good argument. It was one that I happened not to agree with, but he did a very good job of arguing the position the government had taken, as you would expect. Within hours of that, a television ad had been produced saying that ‘There’s no good argument that can be made in support of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and here’s the illustration — we have the solicitor general of the United States, and he’s at a loss for words in trying to support this position.’
“This is an illustration of the way oral arguments can be used if they are televised,” said Alito.