WA Legal Roundup
Borrowing an idea from Sui Generis (and my favorite legal blogger, Nicole Black), I have decided to start blogging on up and coming cases and legal issues in Washington State. This, of course, will include national issues. It is my goal, now that the monstrous rush of the 2L year is largely over, to turn this into more of a daily blog. That said, here is the legal roundup for Washington State:
Radio Host Exempt from Campaign Finance Laws: In an odd turn involving issues of free speech, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that radio hosts are exempt from the campaign finance laws. Just exactly how this will play out in the next election is unclear. The ruling came from a case involving a radio host who used airtime to support a gas-tax rollback initiative. The issue remaining to be seen is whether support of candidates, or airtime given to candidates during a talk show, will play out any differently. For the opinion, see: San Juan County v. No New Gas Tax.
Federal Scrutiny of School Grant Use: I am a huge fan of spreading the word about white privilege. So much so that I railed against the ignorance of it in an article that was recently accepted for publication (more info on that soon to come). So it was with great pride that I saw that Seattle Public Schools had used som grant money to send some students to a conference on white privilege. Unfortunately, the DOE has other plans, and is scrutinizing the use of federal funds for that purpose. The DOE may have a plausible bone to pick, however, as the funds were slated to study and create smaller learning environments.
Random Guest Registy Checks Violate State Constitution: In a strong rebuke of the United States rule that random guest registry checks are constitutional in terms of Privacy, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that they are indeed violate of Article I, Sec. 7 of the Washington State Constitution. Justice Madsen, writing for the majority, stated, "the information contained in a motel registry -- including one's whereabouts at the motel -- is a private affair under our state constitution, and a government trespass into such information is a search. We hesitate to allow a search of a citizen's private affairs where the government cannot express at least an individualized or particularized suspicion about the search subject or present a valid exception to a warrantless search. A random, suspicionless search is a fishing expedition, and we have indicated displeasure with such practices on many occasions."
Taking of Prisoner DNA A-OK: Yes, we are one step away from a society in which everything will be tracked according to our biological imprint. The Supreme Court has concluded that the taking of DNA from a prisoner does not violate a prisoner's privacy, as it only relates to identity. As has long been the case, identity is not a privacy concern for arrestees. The court likened it to taking a picture of their tattoo. Scared yet?