It’s January 5, 2010 and you’re returning from Christmas vacation in Germany. While there, you read newspaper accounts of a potent and virulent strain of mad cow disease stampeding its way across Europe, but you’ve had no contact with any known source of the disease and you’ve eaten no beef, so you reasonably believe you and your family are healthy and totally unaffected by the outbreak.
The state of Montana approved what commentators are dubbing a “revolutionary” new law earlier this month. The “Montana Firearms Freedom Act” is set to trigger a legal showdown between the federal government and the state, which is exactly what some lawmakers are hoping for.
The Supreme Court on April 28 upheld the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) ban on "fleeting expletives." The FCC has had a long-standing ban on the usage of "obscene, indecent, or profane" language on network television, but the ban had been applied to usage of a "sustained or repeated" manner. In March of 2004, that policy changed after a series of events caused a public outcry. Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at that year's Superbowl combined with uses of adult language at award shows led to the FCC crackdown on indeceny.
The Supreme Court on April 21 heard arguments in a school strip-search case, Safford School District v. Redding. Savana Redding was 13 years old in 2003 when she was subjected to a strip-search at an Arizona middle school to determine if she had any pain medication. She claimed her Fourth Amendment protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures" had been violated, and a U.S. circuit court of appeals agreed with her.
We Americans are expected to play by the rules — to obey traffic regulations, pay taxes, observe zoning ordinances — in short, to abide by the law. If we don’t, we may find ourselves fined or even jailed. Our federal government is also expected to abide by rules — in its case, the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution specifies which powers the federal government may exercise, and forbids any others. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution is explicit: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”