Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Does "Relevant" Mean?


U.S. legal scholars - esp. students of the U.S. law of evidence - have wrestled for decades with the potentially unlimited reach of the (supposed) constraint on the admissibility of evidence known as "relevance." See, e.g., 1 & 1A Wigmore on Evidence Sections 12, 28 & 37.4 (P. Tillers rev. 1983). Decision makers in the national surveillance state have capitalized on the amorphousness of "relevance" to authorize government collection of vast amounts of data. See Debra Cassens White Surveillance court redefined ‘relevant’ and special-needs doctrine to permit broad data collection ABA Journal (July 8, 2013).
 
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