A New York City Transit Authority regulation making it illegal not to carry ID on the city's transit system was just declared unconstitutional. The New York ACLU had brought suit back in 2011.
A federal judge has ruled that a New York City Transit Authority rule requiring people using the city's transit system to carry ID is unconstitutional.In a small but important victory against Big Brother, ACLU Staff Attorney Mariko Hirose noted
This decision is a victory for the freedom of people to walk around free from showing their papers, a core American right... Its past time for the NYPD to learn about the Constitution and stop harassing and even arresting people for exercising their basic rights."The lawsuit stemmed from an incident where two men, Steve Barry and Michael Burkhart, were accosted by Transit Police for taking pictures of a subway train. Despite it being perfectly legal to do so, the police said it was illegal, and then demanded ids.
Barry and Burkhart were issued summonses charging them with taking "unauthorized photos," though the transit rule the officer cited states that photography is permitted in the transit system. Barry also was issued a summons for violating the Transit Authority rule requiring people to carry ID.There is no end to the government's attempts to destroy our civil liberties. From drones to 'Stop & Frisk'; from warrantless spying to the Patriot Act; from police believing they can stop people from filming - despite multiple court cases ruling against them - to declarations of "press free" (aka "frozen") zones in New York City; from reading our emails to demanding our tweets, it never stops, and it's only getting worse.
It's nice to read about a victory, but let's make no mistake. A victory here and there amidst an ocean of attacks means we are losing. The ACLU and its allies can only do so much, especially considering an often unfriendly court system which seems to believe that the plain meaning of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th amendments is some sort of Martian rune, lost in translation.
As one article I read just yesterday but which I've unfortunately lost the reference to so aptly put it, the only remedy that might have a chance of working is a more powerful Bill of Rights. To wit
"It's time we brought the 1st amendment into the 21st century."Or at least the 20th.
10:12 AM PT:Good FSM. Proving my point:
The City Council ((Piedmont, CA, an 'island' city completely surrounded by Oakland, CA)) wants to move swiftly on installing license plate readers around town in an effort to combat crime...http://www.mercurynews.com/...
License plate readers photograph each vehicle as it enters or exits the city. It is not a video surveillance camera. The plates are instantly matched with a "hot list" of stolen vehicles, sex offenders or other scofflaws. The investigator can then quickly notify officers of the presence of a suspicious vehicle or driver.