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Table of Contents - July 13, 2018

Supreme Court Says Warrants Needed for Historical Cell-Site Location Data

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 June 21 that a warrant based on probable cause is generally needed before law enforcement agents can obtain historical cell-site location information (CSLI). The decision is likely to pave the way for the protection under the Fourth Amendment of other digital data, according to supporters of the ruling.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the decision for the majority and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.; Justice Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion; Justice Alito wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Thomas; and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote a dissenting opinion.

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Supreme Court Vacates Berkeley Cellphone Decision

The Supreme Court has vacated a decision that upheld a city of Berkeley, Calif., ordinance requiring cell-phone retailers to post health warnings about cellphone usage. The court June 28 granted a petition for certiorari by CTIA and remanded the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco) for further consideration in light of another case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. In a 5-4 decision in that case on June 26, the court ruled that a California law to regulate pregnancy centers likely violates the First Amendment.

In CTIA, The Wireless Association, v. City of Berkeley, et al., (case 16-15141), CTIA petitioned the court to review the lower court decision after the Ninth Circuit denied the association's request to reinstate a preliminary injunction and block the city's ordinance. In a 2017 decision, the Ninth Circuit said that "there was little likelihood of success on plaintiff's contention that the Berkeley ordinance was preempted."

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