Supreme Court leaning to AZ immigration law

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The Supreme Court appears ready to allow Arizona to enforce a state law provision that requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they think are in the country illegally.

The justices strongly suggested Wednesday that they are not buying the Obama administration’s argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check part of a controversial state law aimed at driving illegal immigrants out of the state. It was unclear what the court would do with other aspects of the law that have been put on hold by lower federal courts.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer reacted favorably as well after oral arguments (see related AP video report).

ACLJ, FAIR optimistic

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law & Justice, adds its optimism to AP’s impression following oral arguments today. “What became very clear during the intense questioning is that a majority of the Justices seem to believe that Arizona has a legitimate role in the enforcement of laws designed to protect its citizens and border,” he offered in a press statement.

“It was also important to note that during the arguments, the government, which is challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona law, conceded that S.B. 1070 does not involve racial or ethnic profiling — an argument that’s been repeatedly used to challenge the immigration measure.”

Sekulow concedes that while such cases are always difficult to predict as a result of oral arguments, he remains hopeful the court will conclude that Arizona “acted properly and constitutionally” to protect its citizens and borders.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) adds that attorneys for Arizona presented “compelling legal reasons” why the Supreme Court should reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision to block provisions in the law. Among those reasons, says FAIR, are that states have inherent authority to enforce immigration laws, and that the Ninth Circuit “erred” in accepting the Obama administration’s argument that the Arizona law interferes with its own enforcement “priorities and strategies.” FAIR equates those priorities and strategies as being a “non-enforcement policy.”

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Amazon.com required to start collecting Tennessee sales tax in 2014 under deal with Haslam

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Amazon has begun emailing notices to all its Tennessee customers that they may owe taxes on their purchases.

The action by the online retailing giant easily involves thousands of Tennesseans, and it could spur some people to pay the tax that’s often overlooked or ignored by consumers.

“It would be extra money for the state,” said Billy Trout, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Amazon’s move stems from a provision included in a law signed by Gov. Bill Haslam about a month ago. Haslam and the Seattle-based retailer agreed to a deal over collecting sales taxes on goods sold in Tennessee.

The law compels Amazon to begin collecting sales tax on items sold to Tennessee buyers in 2014. It’s estimated the tax could generate $22.8 million for the state and $9.6 million for local governments. However, the notification provision required of Amazon wasn’t widely known.

Haslam spokesman David Smith said consumers have been required to pay “consumer use” tax to the Tennessee Department of Revenue when making an online purchase from any retailer that does not collect sales tax.

“The notification they may owe the use tax is an in-between step until Jan. 1, 2014, when responsibility for collecting and remitting the Tennessee tax will shift to the company,” Smith said in an email.

Scott Stanzell, an Amazon spokesman, said the notice applies to everyone who lives in Tennessee and bought from the company last year. Amazon has 60 days to issue the notice and comply with the law. Next year and in 2014, the notice is due Feb. 1.

“As you may know, Amazon.com LLC is not required to collect sales or use taxes in Tennessee,” the notice says. “However, the state of Tennessee requires us to provide the following notice to you.”

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Site to which Amazon sends Tennesseans for more information on the use tax and to pay any taxes: https://apps.tn.gov/usetax

Trial begins in suit against proposed Tennessee mosque

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Opponents of a proposed new mosque in Tennessee will get to make their arguments at trial beginning today, Wednesday, April 25, 2012.

A legal battle over public notice in Rutherford County’s approval of a mosque site could affect Tennessee’s definition of a newspaper as well as guidelines for how and where governments can advertise their meetings.

In a two-day trial that starts today, plaintiffs will argue that the county government failed to provide adquate public notice of its May 2010 Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission meeting, where officials were to vote on a site plan for a new mosque for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

“In this case, the issue should be whether the published notice should have included more information about the agenda, not which publication,” Frank Gibson, public policy for the Tennessee Press Association, told The DNJ this week.

The public notice published in the Murfreesboro Post did not state that mosque site approval was on the agenda because Rutherford County’s zoning laws allow places of worship to be treated the same as residential developments. No rezoning was required; therefore, no public hearing was needed before the planning commission reviewed the site plan and voted.

Chancellor Robert Corlew III has ruled already that Islam is a religion and that the ICM holds First Amendments rights to build the mosque. Work on the first phase of the building next to Grace Baptist Church on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike, just outside Murfreesboro, started in September 2011 and is nearing completion.

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Is the NSA in your inbox?

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Folks we have a completely out of  control central government, just ignoring the Contitution, in this case the 4th amendment.

The House of Representatives is now poised to vote on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which would allow companies to monitor our online communications and share private information about users with the government.
CISPA would let companies bypass all existing privacy law as long as they claim a “good faith” belief that they are doing so for cybersecurity purposes. These exemptions would allow a huge trove of data to end up in the government’s hands with no judicial oversight.
House leadership is pushing for a vote on CISPA this week. Please call your Representative now and urge them not to sacrifice the civil liberties of Internet users in the name of cybersecurity legislation.
Click here to find your Representative’s phone number and a short script of suggested talking points.
Once you’ve made the call, please share this on your social networking sites and ask your friends to join you. We need to get as many calls as possible today, before the legislation can be rushed through, so please help spread the word.
Thanks for all you do to help us defend digital rights,
Rainey Reitman
Activism Team
Electronic Frontier Foundation

You may also find this interesting reading as well:

CISPA Amendment Allows DHS to Intercept Tax Returns

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