SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

July 9, 2014

A look at what others are saying

The following are excerpts of editorials from other newspapers across New England:

The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that police must secure a warrant before searching someone’s cellphone. The ruling resolved a pair of cases in which authorities used evidence obtained from cellphones to charge and convict defendants.

It was a big win for anyone believing in civil liberties and the Constitutional protections that guarantee them.

No big surprise. The Obama administration defended warrantless searches. Solicitor General Don Verrilli Jr. argued that cellphones are no different than other items police find (and can use as evidence) on a person during an arrest.

But not a single justice bought it. Writing for the 9-0 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that modern-day phones contain more information about a person than authorities could find rummaging through their home. That practice is unambiguously forbidden by the Fourth Amendment.

The decision pays appropriate deference to the role of technology in everyone’s lives today. “This is a remarkably strong affirmation of privacy rights in a digital age,” said Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “The court found that digital data is different and that has constitutional significance, particularly in the realm of (the) Fourth Amendment.”

It’s a good start. And one we hope will amplify protests against the National Security Agency’s practice of searching everyone’s phones, records and correspondences, at all times without warrant or cause.

— The Caledonian Record of St. Johnsbury (Vt.)

Incumbents prevail

The conventional wisdom had it upside-down. The smart money backed the wrong horse. Despite all the evidence, all the forecasts of something quite different, the 2014 primary season has been the year of the incumbent.

A look at the story so far paints an exceedingly clear and consistent picture: All 18 senators seeking renomination have been successful. In the House, just 2 of 275 have gone down to defeat. With 100 percent of senators and 99.27 percent of representatives moving ahead, it’s obvious that expectations of an anti-incumbent mood across the land were way off base.

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