The Supreme Court just made it still easier for the police to stop and search people without any suspicion of wrongdoing.In a powerful dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took apart that specious reasoning. “Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language,” she wrote. “This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants — even if you are doing nothing wrong.”
This is bad. Really bad.
Why do we have this 4th Amendment to our Constitution?
Because prior to having, it governments and police would abuse their power and just blanket search large groups of law abiding citizen’s homes and seize assets looking for evidence of any crimes, even if they didn’t suspect those people. Turn people’s homes upside down indiscriminately all day long, and you’re bound to find something wrong, no matter how trivial. This made life hell enough for people that we ended up banning the process in our very own Bill of Rights. That’s why we have the law.
Now police can just ignore getting a warrant and return to unreasonable searches.
Justice Sotomayor went on to declare:
By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.
We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.
One journalist in another news source went so far to declare: “The Supreme Court Just Created a Full-Blown Police State – The End of the USA Cannot Be Far Behind” – which seems a bit extreme, but we have a Constitution for a reason and to effectively undue bits and pieces of it will result in this country losing the freedoms we worked so hard to obtain in the first place.
Source: Another Hit to the Fourth Amendment – The New York Times