The Supreme Court arrived at the correct decision and the decision was unanimous in the case, United States v. Jones. Why? The decision was correctly based on the US Constitution, specifically the 4th Amendment. The 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights specifically protects all of us from Unreasonable Search and Seizures, and requires that a Warrant be duly obtained after probable cause has been demonstrated. Further, the location, persons, or items to be searched or seized must be properly described. At issue in this case was the use of GPS to track the movements of a drug dealer over a period of time. The police did not obtain a warrant when they attached the tracking device to the subject’s vehicle believing that this tracking did not violate a persons right to due process. SCOTUS got it right by a unanimous decision declaring this type of electronic surveillance was subject to 4th Amendment protections.
Scalia property wrote the majority opinion when he said:
“We hold that the government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a ‘search’ under the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures”.
Here is how the 4th Amendment reads:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
What is Next, Hopefully?
At some point, provisions of the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that contained authorization for the President to use the MILITARY to ARREST, and DETAIN, a US Citizen ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, without 4th Amendment process or protection will be heard by the Court. SCOTUS needs to take this case up sooner rather than later but the problem someone may have to be arrested and detained by the Military before someone has “standing” to take the case to the Supreme Court. In effect, someone’s Constitutional rights have to be violated before this law can be heard. Personally I believe, that if this happens, every member of the House and Senate who voted for this bill should be made to pay the legal costs and loss of livelihood to the test case injured party out of their own pocket. Yea right!
Liberty does win once in a while and today we see a small ray of light… Maybe tomorrow…