By Courtney Elliott, Albany Government Law Review
In recent years, courts have had to examine wiretap statutes in relation to recording law enforcement officers during the performance of their job duties. Most Americans now carry at least one mobile device capable of recording audio and video with the simple click of a button. Several commentators have observed that it is now common for citizens to use video cameras to document daily life, as well as police activity. On November 26, 2012, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case of Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois, leaving in place a federal appeals court’s injunction against an Illinois anti-eavesdropping law which criminalizes audio recording of part or all of a conversation unless all parties involved agree to the recording.
By Melissa Dizon, Albany Government Law Review Class of 2011
On February 18, 2011 the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced its new rule regarding health care and conscience clauses. The new rule replaces a controversial rule that the Bush Administration issued in 2008, during George W. Bush’s last days in office. The new rule ensures that the law protects health care providers who object to performing or assisting an abortion, while eliminating confusion of the previous rule that the definition of abortion also included contraception. This is undoubtedly a point for the pro-choice faction, but one can imagine it will spark the conscience clause debate anew.
Jason St. James, Albany Government Law Review Member
On September 11, 2001 the collective consciousness of the United States of America was forever shattered. Gone was the visage of invincibility, replaced by feelings of disbelief, heartache, shock, and awe, the likes of which had not been felt since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. While almost seven decades separate these catastrophic events, one common thread still exists: the spirit of America was underestimated. In the wake of the unimaginable, President George W. Bush stated, “[o]ur enemies have made the mistake that America’s enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness. And now, they see defeat.” Another conflict now looms on the horizon. This battle is not being waged by the use of arms, but through a clashing of ideals. The ambitious Park51 Project acts a lithmus test of U.S. resolve to learn and move past the 9/11 tragedy.
Park51, originally designated as the “Cordoba House,” is a proposed fifteen-story Muslim community center located approximately two city blocks from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Soho Properties Chairman and CEO, Sharif El-Gamal, are heading the project. The Park51 Project has been controversially referred to as the “Ground Zero Mosque” because it will contain a Muslim prayer space capable of holding between 1000–2000 people. However, the community center design also includes a 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, child care area, library, culinary school, art studio, food court, and a September 11 memorial. The proposed community center will be replacing an 1850’s Italian-style structure that was being used as both a Syms and Burlington Coat Factory, until the building was damaged during the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. One possible obstacle to the construction was the discussed conferment of landmark status upon the current 1850’s building, but on August 3, 2010, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9–0 against granting landmark status and historic protection to the building, thus clearing the way for the building’s demolition.