Morning Links: SCOTUS to rule on poker games, Homeland Security wants license plate database

Newark Liberty International Airport (John Moore/Getty Images)
Newark Liberty International Airport (John Moore/Getty Images)

•  Surveillance State watch: The Department of Homeland Security wants to create a nationwide database of license plate scanners. Also, there’s new creepiness afoot at the Newark airport.

•  Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) introduces a bill that would allow the “drug czar” to tell the truth about the possible benefits of some illicit drugs. It seems a bit nutty that we’d have that law in the first place, doesn’t it?

• Also from the files of “You’d Think That Would Be Obvious,” Massachusetts is considering a law that would ban police from putting shackles or handcuffs on pregnant inmates while they’re giving birth.

•  In-depth Al Jazeera America investigation of life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.

The Wisconsin state assembly passed a bill that would prohibit police agencies from investigating their own officers when they’re involved in an in-custody death. The bill now goes to the state Senate. It was inspired by the recent deaths of three unarmed Wisconsin men at the hands of police.

•  The highest state court in Massachusetts has ruled that under the state’s constitution, police must (usually) obtain a search warrant before searching a cellphone.

The U.S. Supreme Court soon will decide whether the federal government can ban you from hosting a poker game in your own home.

Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."
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Radley Balko | February 18