Monday, March 27, 2006

Tea-leaf readers were right on Chief Justice Roberts and the Fourth Amendment

Sometimes you'd prefer if your predictions were wrong.

Last fall, based on an
academic analysis of Chief Justice John Roberts' judicial record on the Fourth Amendent to the US Constitution barring unreasonable searches and seizures, I offered up this predictive blog post declaring that, "Given Roberts' pro-search positions in every case that came before him [as an appellate judge], it seems unlikely that he'd throw his weight on the court behind new restrictions on searches." That turned out to be an understatment.

In Georgia v. Randolph, Justice Roberts authored a dissent characterized by an unusually personal tone and disingenuous arguments, including at one point comparing police wanting to enter someone's home looking for evidence of crime to an uninvited guest who arrived to help celebrate someone's birthday. Please! Since when does that kind of fuzzy-headed thinking pass for conservatism? Though the majority (barely) voted to protect the Fourth Amendment in Randolph, Roberts' position bodes ill for the future of constitutional privacy protections.

RatcliffeBlog declares that with Chief justice Roberts' dissenting opinion, "the Supreme Court is headed down the path of confrontation politics that has already destroyed much of what was valuable in American discourse." An especially interesting take: Joint Strike Weasel points out that Justice Scalia in his own dissent inadvertently defended the idea of a living Constitution. Go figure.

For more see the New York Times' coverage as well as blog discussions from Concurring Opinions, Flex Your Rights, SCOTUS Blog, Orin Kerr, The Fifth Column, Lawyers Guns & Money, Angel&Demon, and the ACS Blog.

Read the opinions here. The transcript of oral arguments is here.

2 comments:

Hope said...

"...at one point comparing police wanting to enter someone's home looking for evidence of crime to an uninvited guest who arrived to help celebrate someone's birthday."

Oh my gosh!

Hope said...

Wonder what George, Tom, and Ben would have thought of that?