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Supreme Court kind of thinks some 4th Amendment protection may be OK

An important decision by the Supremes today in United States v. Jones.

Lyle Denniston at ScotusBlog has the details:

The Court flatly rejected the government’s argument that it was simply not a search, in the constitutional sense, to physically — and secretly — attach a small GPS tracker on the underside of the car used by a man, Antoine Jones, who was a principal target of an investigation into a drug-running operation in Washington, D.C., and its suburbs. […]

Given the complexity of the voting pattern, and what the votes actually supported or failed to support, it nonetheless was clear that the Court was unanimous in one respect. It upheld the result — but no more than the result — of a D.C. Circuit Court ruling that Jones’ Fourth Amendment rights had been violated.

So that part was very clear, but where it goes from there is a lot murkier.

The choice Monday was between a minimalist approach, one in the middle, and an expansive view of Fourth Amendment privacy. Each had support among the Justices, but counting the votes was a bit tricky.

The most sweeping argument about constitutional protection against government monitoring with sophisticated new devices came in an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, but that represented — at least for now — only her views. The narrowest view (which Sotomayor said she also supported, at least this time) came in the opinion for the Court by Justice Antonin Scalia, and that is the five-vote result that clearly put police and federal agents on notice that it would be smart to get a warrant before they attach a monitoring device to a vehicle during a criminal investigation. Approximately in the middle was the view of Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., which attracted perhaps four and a half votes — the half-vote being that of Sotomayor, who would have gone further.

So, the Fourth Amendment does actually mean something in the Supreme Court — it’s just that all of them have differing views of just what it means.

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27 comments to Supreme Court kind of thinks some 4th Amendment protection may be OK

  • Razorburn

    well to be honest,that ruling doesn’t matter.Simply becouse if you are doing,selling or have any type of knowlege pertaining illegal drugs.The constution doesn’t apply to you whatsoever.You forfit any and all of your rights.Why you might ask?becouse the harms that drugs cause the user,and the ruined family values,they reek amd destory.Sorry but I am not a quitter,I don’t sympathize for losers,who’s only goal is to get trashed on narcodics.they’re vile and evil people.Sure they may have used to be human beings.
    but soon as they tryed drugs,they rotted their minds,and burnen their souls.They’ve lost any and all thought process that makes them human,they no longer have a mind of they’re own.Just empty shells that walk around,only to steal,kill for their habit.and molest kids.
    It’s a shame the SCOTUS would ask them to obtain a fucking warrant.Drugs shouldn’t and never should need a warrant.Whatever happend to trusting the police’s guts? this is United States,home of the brave land of the free.Drugs take away people’s liberty and destroy personal freedom. Think twice before you deside to defend the scum of this nation.
    I’m ashamed at how you people stick up for peices of shits who think drugs slove their problem. good day assholes

    • Duncan20903

      The average IQ of the Know Nothing prohibitionist continues its sharp decline. Limbo dancers are green with envy because they’ll never be able to go that low.

    • Deep Dish

      Hey Razorburn, you are a fucking moron. You failed in Philosophy, Constitutional Law, and English Composition. You, however, clearly scored an A+ in Demagoguery.

      • Razorburn

        DeepDish, your the only moron.Last time I know the law.how you might ask?becouse I do what a patriot supposed to.I obeserve and report. When i see a doper I call the police and tell them,who what where.Thats what americans do. Your just a potsmoking hippy.Quick get out of that haze filled head of yours and get a job.No on second thought you shouldn’t be working.You’ll just get high and kill everyone. I know satan will smoke you like a roach for all eternty

        • Deep Dish

          “Get a job?” I work in state government for the past six years, thank you very much. As a point of interest, I cannot be drug tested (without suspicion) because of the fourth amendment, the very fourth amendment which prohibits GPS tracking without a warrant.

          The tenant of legal doctrine is people have the inherent right to privacy which cannot be impinged and infringed upon unless there are good articulate reasons to suspect someone of a crime. That is called protecting freedom and liberty. You don’t go on fishing expeditions of invading EVERYONE’s right to privacy on the whim of trying to find ONE person doing something wrong. Legal doctrine is called rule of law, the law must follow rules based upon fundamental principles, but you follow the rule of ignorant idiocy.

          Troll.

    • Matthew Meyer

      Dude, you shoulda just got a Maryland warrant.

  • claygooding

    Waiting for the ACLU and their eventual suit over the recent terrorist arrest tool,,see how they dance around all the rights that law walks on.

    I think the word drugs muddies up the water and the courts brains,,had they been attaching the device to a child molesters car or a bank robbers,,it would have been clearly an invasion of privacy.

  • Razorburn

    You’re wrong there Mr.Clay, It wouldn’t be an invasion of privacy.
    1.they are criminals
    2.how do you think they became criminals? (drugs)
    3.why do people commit bank robbery? (drugs)
    4.why do you think child molesters exist? (drugs)
    5.why are exceptions needed? (drugs)
    6. should the constution apply to people who may or may not have commited crimes? (NO)
    7. where should the constution be applyed? (for the governments discression,and they’re choice)
    8.why am i saying this?(becouse its the truth)
    9.what caused all these problems (drugs)
    10. how can we win this drugwar “without voilating “peoples rights? (simple give police the ability to use extreame deadly force on those suppected of crimes)
    How could we do this you may ask? again, give police more immuity ,they are the police,Your friend’s and protectors of justice and freedom. If you can’t trust the police.then your just a criminal
    and deserve to die,

    • Servetus

      Hey Razorburn, I had a cousin who dropped bombs on the Germans in WWII who spouted the same nonsense you do. How did he miss you?

      What you’re advocating is not the law and never will be.

      • Razorburn

        please,you wish.I’m a born and raised american,I know what the law is ,and should be.For the power of christ tells me so,your words are cheap and useless,they matter none and have no value.You’re the nazi here.Want to know what I do? I’m an American.what do I do? I love America thats what I do. I refuse to allow a junkie to try and distort this country’s core values and religious beliefs.Drug users such as yourself don’t have a voice,just keep mummbling you bottom feeder. Only God can jugde me,as he’s already deston you for hell

  • darkcycle

    That’s you again, isn’t it Wiggles? Hey, has anybody else noticed we never see Pete and Wiggler in the same room, at the same time? Isn’t that weird?

    • darkcycle

      …sorry about my appearence there, must’ve had a bad clam.

    • Duncan20903

      Quit trying to deflect. Everyone knows the wiggle dude is a product of your dissociative identity disorder.

      • darkcycle

        Ummm…if I had a second identity, it would be dj Lance Rock. The problem is, that if I had a twin, I would be the evil one.
        Anyway, dissociative identity disorder is a funny thing..I’ve seen many people with that diagnosis, but I’ve never actually met one who ever manifested a different personality. Sometimes psychiatrists or other diagnosticians will use that as a catchall diagnosis to actually cover their inability to apply any concrete relevent diagnosis that fits with behavior. Other times I see borderline or socoipathalogy misdiagnosed as DID. These personality disorders can produce radically different types of social interaction based upon percieved power in a relationships. It’s a general indictment of my field when I say most diagnosticians are idiots. Face it, incompetence in the field of psychiatric diagnosis is virtually impossible to detect.
        That being said, I think my doppleganger would be a tad bit smarter than our Wiggler. I don’t drink enough.

  • darkcycle

    OOPS, damn tablet…
    🙂

  • Servetus

    The Supreme Court’s decision on GPS and other bumper beeper is a good one. However, it may not prevent the typically corrupt drug cops from using these electronic devices without reporting their use on their official police lie sheets.

    A visit to a spy shop can provide devices that will detect radiofrequency signals like those used in a GPS transponder. Detecting a surreptitious and illegal bug on a car would make for a nice lawsuit directed at the nasty buggers.

    • Duncan20903

      I’d rather hire a cabbie to let me put the thing on his vehicle. Hilarity would ensue. Cabbies are cheap dates too.

  • noot gringoich

    Druggies are filthy scum that should be put to death, on Monday Night Punishment teevee. They have no rights they are unpeople, useless eaters. (sarc:off)

  • darkcycle

    Oooh..I HATE being called a Useless Eater. Now you went and made me mad. Are you happy now? Based on your incisive obervations, I have had to re assess my entire life’s goal. Now the only thing left for me to do is to get a couple of boxes of 30.06 and a bag of doritos and head for the nearest high tower. All those bodies? They’re on YOUR head, Wiggler….damn you…now where’re my shootin’ glasses?

  • Dirk Diggler

    Who is the wiggler? Is he one of those druggie file downloading criminals?! They scare me like those evil satanic nazi terrorists that lurk around every corner. I must give up some more rights to feel safe.

  • Cannabis

    lets all start posting With random speIIingand Punctuation’s,capitolisations,no space’s between sentence’s,and generallie rant about stuffin favor of the power’s that bee.with lot’s of commas.period’s and stuff.

  • Francis

    Well, the decision is certainly a welcome one, but it seems like there’s a pretty easy work-around for the cops. Can’t they just stick the GPS tracker on a dog’s collar, jimmy the trunk lock, and throw the dog in there? If my understanding of relevant Supreme Court precedent is correct, if a dog’s involved that means there’s no search.

  • vickyvampire

    I meet folks like Razorburn all the time on religious blogs tell me the evils of gay life.Many Anti-druggies not all just a bunch of Christian fanatics.Saw this on a friends post –Do not argue with an idiot.He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  • I meet folks like Razorburn all the time on religious blogs tell me the evils of gay life.

    I’m sure if one seeks hard enough, one will come to the realisation that the evils of both drug abuse and those of prohibition stem from the same underlying cause.

    The Swedes have even made a song about it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmlhUn8TvT0

    • Duncan20903

      Well I have to admit that they made a damn good case. How do I find the nearest fag bashing club? Perhaps the friends of the Ku Klux Klan directory?