“Solving unsolved crimes is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than the protection of our people from suspicionless law-enforcement searches. The Fourth Amendment must prevail” – Justice Antonin Scalia, dissent in Maryland v. King (2013).

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12 Responses to Quotable

  1. DonDig says:

    Pleased to hear that Justice Scalia feels that way: obviously the NSA, our Senate Intelligence committee and Sen Dianne Feinstein do not.
    The shadow keeps getting longer somehow.
    What ever happened to the ‘transparency’ Obama tantalized us with?
    Just more empty words?

    • allan says:

      did you catch what Mr Obama said about this NSA listening brouhaha? He said “it’s an issue worthy of debate…”

      Gosh, that sounds familiar. What it means: ‘it might be worthy of debate, but we won’t. So suck it up.’

  2. Servetus says:

    The case hangs on negligible intrusion from the standpoint of the state, not the individual. A cotton swabbing may not be painful or troublesome to obtain, but once the state has DNA information on file, it also has a duty to protect the information, something the average citizen expects, often assumes, but which may not be the case.

    Privacy issues exist because information exists in the hands of others, and because its caretakers can get greedy. All it takes in this country to get information on someone is money. A good private detective can source material from inside the system by approaching certain paid informants and other useful contacts. The old adage that three people can keep a secret if two are dead applies.

    The DNA sampling is being used in a fishing expedition, as Scalia says. When one considers how little priority gets assigned to the timely processing of rape kits in some municipalities, it’s interesting that anyone would focus on universal DNA testing of drug arrestees, except to add to an already intrusive database on citizens.

    • claygooding says:

      Servetus,,it is probably another testing industry trying to get on the government tit,,if checked closely enough it is probably owned mostly by the same people that own the majority of the stock in the urine analysis ind. Those guy’s find something that works and all they think they have to do is branch out and get another hook in this fish.

  3. claygooding says:

    Fact: More money is spent on Viagra and boob jobs than Alzheimer’s research which means when Americans reach 80 they will have perky boobs and stiff willys and no idea what for.

  4. Servetus says:

    Dateline 1796:

    The chief principle of a well-regulated police state is this: That each citizen shall be at all times and places … recognized as this or that particular person. No one must remain unknown to the police. This can be attained with certainty only in the following manner: Each one must always carry a pass with him, signed by his immediate government official, in which his person is accurately described. There must be no exception to this rule.
    – Johann G. Fichte, The Science of Rights. Originally published 1796. Translated from the German by A. E. Kroeger. London: Trubner and Co., 1889, pp. 378-379.

    Dateline 1935:

    We need to create an atmosphere such that each citizen feels that without [identity papers] he will be unable to travel anywhere, that the single document confirming his identity is [his government paperwork]. The first question you must ask a detained citizen is – show me your [government id].
    – Genrikh Yagoda, the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs, in a top-secret speech of April 16, 1935 at a conference convened by the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) — Jane Caplan and John Torpey, eds., Documenting Individual Identity, Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 49.

    Dateline 2013:

    And the fact that the [DNA] intrusion is negligible is of central relevance to determining whether the search is reasonable, “the ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a governmental search,” Vernonia School Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U. S. 646, 652.
    – U.S. Supreme Court, in Maryland v. King, Certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

  5. Francis says:

    Hey Scalia, you got one right. Congrats. Now, here’s some suggested language for a future opinion holding that drug prohibition is unconstitutional:

    Reducing the harms associated with substance abuse and addiction is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than freedom of consciousness, freedom of religion, freedom of medicine, the freedom to make decisions regarding one’s own body, equal protection under the law and the prevention of racially discriminatory policies, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to due process (a right that is vitiated by, among other aspects of the drug war, civil asset forfeiture laws), the right against self-incrimination and the right to a speedy trial by jury (both violated by the inherently-coercive practice of plea bargaining), the right to be protected against cruel and unusual punishments (including punishments that are completely out of proportion with the nature of the “crimes” charged), and the principle that the powers of the federal government are few and enumerated. Yes, some may claim that the drug war’s objectives are noble. But the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments (at least) must prevail.

  6. Elmo's Test Tickles says:


    So this morning I saw on the TV that the Muppets did a show about kids dealing with incarcerated parents because 1 out of 28 children in America have at least one. Hey wait a second, didn’t someone ask “what about the children?”


    My wife and I were married at the end of 1996. That was the Christmas when there was a nationwide shortage of Tickle Me Elmo dolls. There were idiots paying as much as $1000 so they could give a stupid muppet doll to their kids on Christmas morning. A couple of my in-laws were even more thick because they had bought one for their kid before the shortage, but refused to sell. As a result that particular Elmo was at our wedding and featured in a lot of our wedding pictures.

    If it had been me I would have sold the darn thing and the kid would have gotten an “IOU 1 Tickle Me Elmo” and told that there was a delay in the R&D lab because of problems with Elmo’s test tickles.

  7. Duncan20903 says:


    Can someone explain to me the difference between mandatory fingerprint and taking a DNA swab? From my direct experience I can say that getting that goddamn ink off of your hands is much more of a pain in the ass than an oral swab would be. Because the DNA might help the police solve another case? Law Enforcement has been using fingerprints taken at the time of arrest to solve unrelated cases for well over a century. The only part that bothers me is familial matching. I can live with the arrested person getting beefed for an unrelated crime that the donor committed but when it moves to an unrelated event committed by a different person then its a different story.

  8. Windy says:

    For those who inquire as to how DNA is different from fingerprints, Ashley Kowalczyk has the answer:
    “Fingerprints, like pictures, are an impression. DNA is your private property. That’s the difference.”

  9. Servetus says:

    DNA fingerprints contain far more information than a standard sets of fingerprints, palmprints, iris scans, or any other kind of IDing system.

    It’s possible for genetic testing to determine if someone is addicted to coke or morphine, or is predisposed to some disease that might affect their employability, especially if employed in government, or in certain leadership positions.

    The movie Gattaca does a good take on this kind of ID profiling. Petty tyrants can use DNA testing for their own purposes, not based on any ephemeral standard of race or skin color as it’s done now by law enforcement, but more specifically in targeting gene types within the population.

    What it means for standards of privacy is that future national leaders may have their genomes on file somewhere such that the information can be hacked and used to predict that leader’s genetic weaknesses in ways useful to competing foreign governments.

    Similar problems are likely to emerge involving individual citizens and any attempts to retain their fragile place in society when faced with genetic discrimination and predation.

    The game doesn’t change. It just gets more sophisticated.

  10. Duncan20903 says:


    Well thanks for trying anyway. It just sounds like a bunch of rationalizations to me. 100 years from now DNA profiles will be taken and filed at birth and lame excuses aren’t going to stop it.

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