Last week, I wrote about a bill that, if passed, would have put California at the forefront of electronic privacy protection. The bill coasted through California’s legislative bodies with little resistance and only the Governor’s signature stood in its way. I’m sure you have already guessed, based on the title of this post, what happened to the bill.
Wired reports that Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, explicitly deferring to the Cali Supremes’ recent decision allowing police to search a cell phone incident to arrest. Brown believes the courts are better situated to answer questions that require application of the Fourth Amendment to new and changing technology. Orin Kerr, at Volokh Conspiracy, was thus prompted to point out why, as he has previously explained, Mr. Brown is wrong.
Kerr notes the problem with his legislature-oriented argument in that Brown was given the power to override a limitation to (his own) executive power. Pretty easy to understand his incentive problem there. (Not to mention the thousands of dollars that flow into his war chests from law enforcement lobbies.) So the glimmer of hope that this bill represented is no more, and California remains a place where, just like in most states (including the ones where I and probably you live and hang out) police get to do whatever they want because to limit them in any way tends to be bad politics and judges are basically an extension of the law enforcement machine. Even our “progressive” president hates civil rights.
On the bright side, the impending total police state will make life so unbearable here that we will eventually welcome our alien/robot/mutant overlords/destroyers or even the zombie apocalypse.