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Author Topic: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs  (Read 3011 times)

Basil Fishbone

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Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« on: January 20, 2010, 01:12:48 pm »

Fwd: Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
 From: Gary Marbut-MSSA <mssa@mtssa.org>
 To: mssa@mtssa.org
 
News Release
(for immediate release January 20, 2010)

Gun Group Frustrated with Supreme Court Privacy Opinion
Constitutional Rights for Sale?

MISSOULA - The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) was handed
an unfavorable decision by the Montana Supreme Court in MSSA's
lawsuit claiming that it violates the right to privacy in the Montana
Constitution for Montanans to be required to divulge a Social
Security Number (SSN) in order to legally hunt and fish in Montana.

This MSSA lawsuit has been percolating through the courts since
January of 2006.  While MSSA argued that the requirement to provide
an SSN to hunt and fish was unconstitutional, the State of Montana
contended that it must collect SSNs to remain eligible under federal
law for federal funds for the Montana Department of Public Health and
Human Services.

The lawsuit was handled by attorney Quentin Rhoades of Missoula.

In an Opinion released on January 19th, the Supreme Court sided with
the State, holding that the SSN requirement to hunt and fish does not
violate the constitutional right to privacy because the plaintiffs'
expectation that their SSNs be kept private is, as the Court put it,
"unreasonable."   The Court held that SSNs are a government-issued
identifier, not the personal property of the citizen to whom an SSN
attaches, and that because the federal government issued the
identifier, it is not reasonable to expect that it should be kept
private from other government agencies, like the Montana DFWP.  The
court was further persuaded by the State's argument that the federal
money made available because of SSN collection was too important to risk.

MSSA President Gary Marbut commented, "While members of the Court
talk a good game about constitutional rights, what they've said in
this decision is that the constitutional rights that the people have
reserved to themselves from government interference may be sold to a
high bidder by state government if the price is right and the
court-determined impact is low.  We had hoped for relief for the
people of Montana from the judicial branch.  But, it appears that the
judiciary is simply another governmental entity willing to support
the legislative branch which passed the SSN requirement, and the
executive branch which lobbied hard for the Legislature to pass the law."

Continuing, Marbut said, "It will be interesting now to see what
other constitutional rights will be sold to the high bidder, and how
soon that will happen.  How much federal money will the state get for
tolerable infringement on freedom of the press, freedom of speech, or
the right to bear arms?  Certainly in this time of economic
difficulty the state will be desperate for additional sources of
revenue.  Watch for other constitutional rights on Ebay as
cash-strapped state agencies scratch for funding."

MSSA was a plaintiff in the lawsuit.  Individual named plaintiffs
were Gary Marbut of Missoula, Robert Clark of Ryegate, and Carol
Latta of Whitehall.  Clark, a former Montana Highway Patrol officer
and former legislator, quit buying hunting and fishing licenses when
an SSN became required for that purchase.  Latta suffered identity
theft and tens of thousands of dollars of expense because her SSN was
stolen.  Marbut objected to surrendering his right to privacy in
order to exercise his right to hunt.

The only remaining alternative for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit will
be to ask the Legislature to respect the right to privacy by
repealing the state law requiring SSNs to hunt and fish.  However, it
is predicted that the Department of Public Health and Human Services
will use taxpayer funds to fiercely lobby the Legislature in
opposition any such proposal.

  - 30 -

Information:  Gary Marbut - 406-549-1252

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.mtpublish.com
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Pagan

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 03:05:51 pm »

Quote
The Court held that SSNs are a government-issued identifier, not the personal property of the citizen to whom an SSN attaches, and that because the federal government issued the identifier, it is not reasonable to expect that it should be kept private from other government agencies, like the Montana DFWP.

I can see where this now may be used as a good excuse for EVERY state to demand SSNs -- in spite of the fact it's only a FEDERAL identifier, and only for RETIREMENT purposes, and the states shouldn't have been collecting them anyway.

What does the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services have to do with hunting and fishing? What services does it cover?
I thought fishing/hunting would be covered by some other department.
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Basil Fishbone

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 03:22:35 pm »

The feds threatened to withhold funds if SSNs were not used on hunting and fishing licenses because they wanted to be able to track down fathers who had run out on child support.  The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks which issues the licenses has nothing really to do with the Dept of Health and Human Services.  You would think.
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Pagan

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 05:08:46 pm »

I see. Thanks for the explanation.

And I wonder how many deadbeat fathers spend their time hunting and fishing...
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Basil Fishbone

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2010, 05:46:42 pm »

I imagine quite a few.  It is a way for poor people to put food on the table, and I'm sure some deadbeat dads have no money beyond necessities.   Some would pay if they could.
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Pagan

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2010, 06:01:37 am »

That's a good point, too.

I meant compared to the total number of SSNs the feds were collecting in their databases. It's still just as excuse to gather up as many perple as they can from as many sources as possible, and Montana (and every States') agencies shouldn't allow themselves to be blackmailed in that manner.
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Basil Fishbone

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2010, 12:21:43 am »

Yep, I agree. 

In Montana, there is a pretty good cluster of fairly radical constitutionalist/libertarian Republicans in the legislature who understand that.  I do hope their numbers can be increased, they are fairly effective as it is.  Sometimes even some of the Democrats seem to get a glimmer of understanding but  they are constrained by party bosses.  Montana has given in on too many occasions to federal pressure - threats to withhold funding for this or that.  Recent examples have included the seat belt law, no open containers of alcohol on the open road, the SSN business.
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ZooT_aLLures

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2010, 03:59:23 am »

They threaten to cut the flow of money coming down, and it stands to reason, the only logical thing to do is cut off the money flowing up.........ALL the money, from ALL sources within the state going up............
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Even some cowboy and indian outlaws in the 1800's eventually stopped sleeping under buffalo skins, and came to town to entertain paying customers. For some I imagine the bruising of their ego never healed.

We all have some scar tissue that never lets us completely forget the intent of the adventure.

gaurdduck

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2010, 07:02:05 pm »

I wonder how Mennonites get to hunt and fish seeing as how they don't have SSN's?
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ZooT_aLLures

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Re: Fwd: Montana Supreme Court Privacy Opinion - SSNs
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 07:09:20 pm »

Quote
The
court was further persuaded by the State's argument that the federal
money made available because of SSN collection was too important to risk.

I'm sure we'll be seeing this same statement in the decision regarding the MFFA
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Even some cowboy and indian outlaws in the 1800's eventually stopped sleeping under buffalo skins, and came to town to entertain paying customers. For some I imagine the bruising of their ego never healed.

We all have some scar tissue that never lets us completely forget the intent of the adventure.
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