Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.
--Daniel Patrick Moynihan

June 25, 2011

Free to Search and Seize

By David K. Shipler
(published on The New York Times Op-Ed page June 23, 2011)

THIS spring was a rough season for the Fourth Amendment. The Obama administration petitioned the Supreme Court to allow GPS tracking of vehicles without judicial permission. The Supreme Court ruled that the police could break into a house without a search warrant if, after knocking and announcing themselves, they heard what sounded like evidence being destroyed. Then it refused to see a Fourth Amendment violation where a citizen was jailed for 16 days on the false pretext that he was being held as a material witness to a crime.

June 21, 2011

Working Near Poverty at Wal-Mart

 By David K. Shipler

The Supreme Court’s decision that female employees of Wal-Mart did not have enough in common to be certified as a class in a discrimination lawsuit took me back some years, to conversations I had with Caroline Payne, who worked at Wal-Mart and elsewhere. Here is an excerpt from my book The Working Poor.

The new millennium arrived in a crescendo of American riches. The nation wallowed in luxury, burst with microchips, consumed with abandon, swaggered globally. Everything grew larger: homes, vehicles, stock portfolios, life expectancy. Never before in the sweep of human history had so many people been so utterly comfortable.

Caroline Payne was not one of them. A few weeks after New Year’s Day, she sat at her kitchen table and reflected on her own history.