SCOTUS Retirement Alert (Does NOT Involve Breyer) | Justices Rule 6-3 On Scope Of Federal Computer Fraud Law
June 3, 2021
Brian Fung, Ariane de Vogue and Devan Cole with CNN report the Supreme Court today sided with a police officer who improperly accessed a license plate database and said he could not be charged under the law. JUSTICE AMY CONEY BARRETT penned the 6-3 majority opinion which asserted a Georgie police officer did not violate the nation’s top computer crime law when he searched a license plate database for non-official purposes.
Andrew Chung with Reuters also reports on the Supreme Court’s decision limiting the type of conduct that can be prosecuted under federal computer fraud law. JUSTICE BARRETT said the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act “covers those who obtain information from particular areas in the computer — such as files, folders or databases — to which their computer access does not extend.” However, she said it does not cover those who have “improper motives for obtaining information otherwise available to them,” which was the case for the Georgia police officer at the center of the dispute. CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, JUSTICES CLARENCE THOMAS, and JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO dissented from the decision.
Noah Feldman writes for Bloomberg about the high court’s unanimous decision this week that gave a small victory to Native American tribes. Justices held that tribal police on a reservation can arrest and search people who are not Native American when there is probable cause to suspect them of a federal or state crime. Feldman suggests, “The decision was unanimous, almost certainly for a quirky reason: The court’s liberals favor tribal sovereignty on reservations and the court’s conservatives favor expansive police power to stop and search. Conservatives also hate throwing out convictions on procedural grounds.”
THE END OF AN ERA|
After 22 years at the Supreme Court, KATHY ARBERG will step down as public information officer on July 3. Ariane de Vogue with CNN writes, “The announcement — and the word ‘retirement’ — came as a jolt to the Supreme Court press corps that is on high alert to see if JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER will retire at the end of the term, which is expected to go through June. Arberg joined the court in 1982 and served as an assistant in the office for 17 years before becoming head of the office in 1999. Arberg has shepherded in several new justices during her tenure, coordinated interview requests, handled memorial services and directed opinion hand-downs from her office on the first floor of the court building. She serves as the court’s official spokesperson and manages a staff of six employees who assist in furthering the public’s understanding of the history and function of the court.”