So let’s see if I’ve got this straight:
- A Mayor announces publicly that he’s given himself the right to walk into any house in town and go through anybody’s personal effects, without permission from either them or a court, if he thinks they might be involved in criminal activity.
- A number of prominent members of the Mayor’s opposition, along with critics of his policies, notice shortly thereafter that someone broke into their homes and searched them. They call the police.
- The police investigate but when the homeowners try to find out what the evidence shows, they discover that the Mayor has declared the evidence “secret” on the grounds that releasing it might tip his hand to criminals, and he refuses to allow it to be seen by anyone except himself, select members of his re-election team, and police officers loyal to him.
- The homeowners bring suit against the Mayor on the grounds that they have “a reasonable expectation” that the Mayor was the one who broke into their homes, seeing as how he announced that’s what he planned to do, and ask the court to declare the Mayor’s assumption of such powers to be illegal – which, absent the Mayor’s solo declaration that it isn’t, it is.
- The Judge agrees with them, but when the Mayor appeals to the City Superior Court – where, of the three judges, two are loyalists of his party and one of them was appointed by him – the Superior Court overturns the Judge’s ruling because the plaintiffs can’t prove it was the Mayor (what with the evidence being locked up and all) and therefore “have no standing” – ie, they can’t prove that a) “they were harmed”, or b) the Mayor was the one who did it.
That’s essentially what just happened in the 6th District Court of Appeals over the ACLU’s wiretapping suit.