Supreme Court Rejects Facebook Appeal in $15 Billion Lawsuit

The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in Bordeaux, France, on Feb. 1, 2017. (Regis Duvignau/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Facebook that requested the court intervene in a $15 billion class-action lawsuit alleging the firm illegally tracked the online activities of its users when they are not on the platform, thereby violating the federal Wiretap Act law.

“Facebook’s user profiles would allegedly reveal an individual’s likes, dislikes, interests, and habits over a significant amount of time, without affording users a meaningful opportunity to control or prevent the unauthorized exploration of their private lives,” the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling (pdf) last year, saying that Facebook users suffered a clear invasion of privacy.

https://www.scribd.com/document/499838180/In-Re-Perrin-Davis-Et-Al-v-Facebook-Inc-17-17486-No-85-9th-Cir-Apr-9-2020

The “Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a clear invasion of the historically recognized right to privacy,” the court ruled at the time. “Therefore, Plaintiffs have standing to pursue their privacy claims under the Wiretap Act, [the Stored Communications Act], and [the Children’s Internet Protection Act], as well as their claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied Facebook’s appeal, meaning the suit can go forward.

The lawsuit alleged that the Menlo Park, California-based tech giant had secretly tracked users’ visits to websites that use Facebook’s features such as the “like” or “share” buttons, even if the users did not click on either of the two buttons.

The litigation also accuses the company of violating the privacy rights of its users under California law, but Facebook’s appeal to the Supreme Court involved only the Wiretap Act. The 1968 law has also been invoked in lawsuits against Google and Microsoft.

Four individuals filed the proposed lawsuit in California federal court seeking $15 billion in damages for Facebook’s actions between April 2010 and September 2011. The company stopped its nonconsensual tracking after it was exposed by a researcher in 2011, court papers said. They further argued that Facebook unjustly collected the data and sold it to advertisers for a profit.

Facebook, in response, said it maintained privacy standards and should not be penalized for communications that users partake in, saying that the data was collected to show users better content and more targeted ads on its platform. It has further said the data was not collected in an unfair manner.

“Facebook was not an uninvited interloper to a communication between two separate parties; it was a direct participant,” the company said in a legal filing.

Facebook now discloses that it collects data when people visit websites with the firm’s plug-ins. It reached a settlement over its practices with the Federal Trade Commission about a decade ago.

The case is Facebook v. Davis, 20-727.

Source: Supreme Court Rejects Facebook Appeal in $15 Billion Lawsuit

Opinion: Lies the Supreme Court Told Me

Children ride scooters across the plaza at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on March 17, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Commentary

In a fashion we must now regard as entirely predictable the Supreme Court of the United States has dismissed (i.e., thrown out) the various state challenges to the 2020 presidential election.

Any decisions on these challenges were determined by the majority to be “moot” because the election had already been decided, and Donald Trump has conceded to Joe Biden. (Associate Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch objected in varying degrees.)

In other words, a stolen presidential election—if it happens, we don’t really know in this case—has an almost immediate statute of limitations, although the results of that election can affect hundreds of millions, if not, as in the case of the United States, nearly the entirety of humanity.

This is true, apparently for a majority of the Supremes, although all sorts of crimes, some not particularly onerous, have statutes of limitations that can go on for years.

Go figure.

The Supremes also cited the issue of “standing,” a term of legal “art” that has always struck me, despite all the precedents on which it is supposedly based, as wide open for biased interpretation of the most self-serving sort. One person’s “standing” can be another’s closed door, almost at will and certainly by vote of a “majority.”

If I sound cynical about the Supreme Court, I have to admit I am. It’s even true of the law in general, which I want to believe in and admire, but increasingly no longer do.

In the real world, legal results tend to mirror A.J. Liebling’s 1960 comment in The New Yorker about the press: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

The law belongs to those who have the deepest control of a society at the time.

We want lady justice to be blind but in actuality she’s a cyborg with all-seeing, rotating night vision similar to the kind you might find on many urban street corners today from Beijing to Chicago, using the latest algorithms to isolate presumed enemies of the state.

And, yes, I am no lawyer. I haven’t taken even one course in the law and spent my time in college and graduate school studying now questionable white men like John Milton.

But over my decades as a Hollywood screenwriter and then founder and CEO of PJMedia I employed many lawyers—some very good and some not so much—and came to understand the limitations on what they did.

Contracts, it turned out, weren’t worth much more than the paper they were written on unless both parties wanted to honor them. Enforcing infringements, unless they were hugely egregious, was rarely worth the expense and effort.

Lawsuits—win or lose— tend to take over your life in highly deleterious ways. Few want to get involved.

The Supreme Court is the apotheosis of this system—an organization that puts its finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing (assuming that’s even necessary) and then writes its opinions based on pre-conceived notions designed to offend the lowest number.

Sadly, it is the last place to look for justice in a Presidential election—or anything, really, that tilts against that prevailing wind.

They wouldn’t even, as Clarence Thomas requested, explore the blatantly unconstitutional malfeasances in various states where unelected officials clearly and unlawfully superseded the legislatures in changing election law by fiat, something we would think would only happen in totalitarian countries.

But it happened here, my friends, several times. We could cite the Supreme Court for dereliction of duty … or we could look elsewhere for justice.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are The GOAT” (fiction) and I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasnt Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Birdpuk.com.

Source: Opinion: Lies the Supreme Court Told Me

Supreme Court to Consider 2020 Election Challenge Lawsuits in February Conference

The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, on Nov. 5, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday scheduled several high-profile contest-of-election lawsuits, including ones brought by attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, and the Trump campaign, for consideration at its Feb. 19 conference.

According to a case listing, the lawsuits include Sidney Powell’s Michigan case(20-815), the Trump campaign’s Pennsylvania lawsuit (20-845) and Wisconsin lawsuit (20-882), the Pennsylvania lawsuit brought by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) (20-810), and Lin Wood’s Georgia case (20-799).

All cases allege some form of unlawful election-related conduct affecting the result of the election, including expansion of mail-in balloting by elections officials changing rules in contravention of state election laws, lack of adequate security measures around mail ballots, issues with machine vote tabulation, and denial of meaningful access to poll watchers.

The Supreme Court declined to grant relief or fast-track the cases as requested in respective petitions filed ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Powell’s Michigan petition (pdf) sought “emergency declaratory relief avowing that the presidential election results certified by Michigan officials were unconstitutional and otherwise contrary to law, together with injunctive relief de-certifying those results.”

Wood’s Georgia petition (pdf) asked the Supreme Court to “enter an emergency order instructing Respondents to de-certify the results of the General Election for the Office of the President.”

The Kelly petition (pdf) asked the court for an injunction “that prohibits the Executive-Respondents from taking official action to tabulate, compute, canvass, certify, or otherwise finalize the results of the Election.”

The Trump campaign suits similarly called for emergency injunctive relief in the form of expedited hearings and blocking certification of the electoral college votes for Biden.

Some of the lawyers in the cases said that seeing the challenges through is important as they could have an impact on long-term election fairness.

“Our legal issue remains important in need of the court’s review,” attorney John Eastman told the Washington Examiner, referring to Pennsylvania’s conduct during the 2020 election.

Greg Teufel, Kelly’s lawyer, told the Washington Examiner that the congressman has no intention of dropping the suit.

The Supreme Court has kept its distance from Trump’s election challenges. In December, it rejected a lawsuit filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas and backed by Trump seeking to decertify the election results in four states.

If, at the Feb. 19 conference, the Supreme Court decides to take up any of the election lawsuits, they most likely won’t be heard until October.

In a sweeping report on the integrity of the 2020 election, Trump adviser Peter Navarro concluded that the allegations of irregularities surrounding the vote in key battleground states were serious enough to warrant an urgent probe and substantial enough to potentially overturn the results.

“If these election irregularities are not fully investigated prior to Inauguration Day and thereby effectively allowed to stand, this nation runs the very real risk of never being able to have a fair presidential election again,” Navarro warned in his report.

Source: Supreme Court to Consider 2020 Election Challenge Lawsuits in February Conference

The Executive Order Almost Nobody Knows About But Could Be A Game Changer – Inside Scoop Politics

You can find whispers of this on Twitter but I’m pretty sure it’s throttled down and, if I had to bet, I would say it will get censored in short order. Especially if the order goes into action.

But it’s not a theory. It is an Executive Order that was issued by President Trump on September 12, 2018. It’s almost as if President Trump saw this situation coming.

The order is titled:

“Executive Order on Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election”

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the ability of persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States to interfere in or undermine public confidence in United States elections, including through the unauthorized accessing of election and campaign infrastructure or the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Although there has been no evidence of a foreign power altering the outcome or vote tabulation in any United States election, foreign powers have historically sought to exploit America’s free and open political system. In recent years, the proliferation of digital devices and internet-based communications has created significant vulnerabilities and magnified the scope and intensity of the threat of foreign interference, as illustrated in the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with this threat.

So, what remedies are described in this Executive Order?

Section 1 says the Director of National Intelligence (John Ratcliffe) shall conduct an assessment and report on any foreign related interference in our elections.

Section 1. (a) Not later than 45 days after the conclusion of a United States election, the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the heads of any other appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies), shall conduct an assessment of any information indicating that a foreign government, or any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of a foreign government, has acted with the intent or purpose of interfering in that election.

We could be approaching 45 days fairly soon depending on when they deem the conclusion of the election to be.

The report will be delivered to the heads of State, Defense, Treasury, Homeland Security, Attorney General, and the President.

The report will then include any recommended remedial actions that the United States take against such actors, other than sanctions described in the order.

Sec. 2. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security:

The actions that could be taken are wide ranging.

Will this Executive Order come into play? The implications could be huge, if so.

Read the entire Executive Order here : https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-imposing-certain-sanctions-event-foreign-interference-united-states-election/.

Source: The Executive Order Almost Nobody Knows About But Could Be A Game Changer – Inside Scoop Politics

Supreme Court Moves to Overturn Conviction of Joe Robertson, Fined and Jailed for Digging Ponds on his Rural Montana Property

 

SCOTUS overturned decision upholding Robertson’s conviction and remanded the case so that the indictment could be dismissed and the lien cancelled

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned a lower court decision affirming the conviction of Joseph Robertson, a 78-year-old veteran now deceased who was sentenced to prison for digging ditches on his rural Montana property to protect the area surrounding his home from wildfires. Judicial Watch had filed an amicus curiae brief jointly with the Allied Educational Foundation supporting Robertson and urging Supreme Court review and reversal of the lower court decision. Robertson served 18 months in prison and died while serving probation. He was also fined $130,000, a liability inherited by his estate.

The Supreme Court also remanded Robertson’s conviction to the lower court so the indictment can be dismissed and the lien can be cancelled.

Judicial Watch and the AEF had asked the Supreme Court to review the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that upheld Robertson’s conviction, because that decision “affirmed illegal agency actions in prosecuting Joseph Robertson based on a misreading of federal law. The Court should take this opportunity to correct the confusion in overbroad interpretations of the Clear Water Act, which have led to unjust prosecutions and federal intrusions into both state authority and individual liberty.”

The brief was filed in the case of Robertson v. United States, Case No. 18-609, 587 U.S. __ (2019). This was an appeal of the Ninth Circuit decision in United States v. Robertson, 875 F.3d 1281, 1285 (9th Cir. 2017).

Judicial Watch asserted in its filing that the ditches Robertson dug “sat on what a federal agency defines as wetlands and were situated on or near a small downhill water flow of about three garden hoses in volume.  Mr. Robertson was not engaged in manufacturing or any other industrial activity which would release chemicals or waste into the water, but under the federal Clean Water Act even turning the soil with a shovel can be considered to be releasing a ‘pollutant’ into water.”

In their brief, JW and the AEF suggest that the issue is larger than Robertson’s personal plight, that it also involves the separation of powers among Congress, the Executive Branch and the Supreme Court.

Judicial Watch and AEF also note that the Supreme Court itself has introduced confusion into the issue of “adjacent wetlands,” “point source,” and “navigable waters.

Also, matters like those involving Robertson properly belong with the state, not the federal government.

The brief argues that the Congress has been all too willing to forego its Constitutional duty and defer to federal agencies.

[It was not foreseen that] the judiciary could eventually aid and abet the complete sacrificing of power by one of those two branches, effectively leaving a one-branch government where the founders intended three. When the Court goes too far in reading statutes as broadly assigning sweeping interpretative power to agencies, this allows Congress to give up power altogether and to stop the necessary work of revising and repealing statutes. Congress has proven itself either willing to give up those powers or unable to stop itself from doing so, preferring to ask the executive branch to reinterpret or reimagine statutes in ever more creative ways while sparing members of Congress the pain of accountability for national policy. The Court should not countenance this upending of the constitutional order.

“The Supreme Court has granted a victory against an overreaching government bureaucracy,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The government should not be allowed to regulate every drop of water in America, and the Supreme Court was right to brush back the radical bureaucrats. Mr. Robertson, a veteran, died before he was vindicated but his fight has protected the constitutional freedoms of other Americans.”

The Allied Educational Foundation is a charitable and educational foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life through education.  In furtherance of that goal, the Foundation has engaged in a number of projects, which include, but are not limited to, educational and health conferences domestically and abroad. AEF has partnered frequently with Judicial Watch to fight government and judicial corruption and to promote a return to ethics and morality in the nation’s public life.

Source: Supreme Court Moves to Overturn Conviction of Joe Robertson, Fined and Jailed for Digging Ponds on his Rural Montana Property