Grits has long aimed to track the Fourth Amendment's macabre death march. Longtime readers may recall that when the Supremes ruled in Illinois vs. Caballes that using drug sniffing dogs to look for drugs doesn't constitute a "search," I posed a revised version that accounted for the Court's recent decisions up until then. My new version:
The right of the people to be secure in their personsNow, though, even that de-fanged version of the Fourth Amendment is outdated. In Hudson v. Michigan the court ruled that "No Knock" searches are just fine, thank you very much Messrs. Roberts and Alito. So for the sake of legal accuracy, everyone please get out your own personal version of the US Constitution and make the following adjustments to the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights:
, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall notbe 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 seizedif an officer is looking for illegal contraband.
The right of the people to be secure in their personsHow do you like it? Oh really? Your opinion wasn't asked. The federal judiciary has ground our 21st Century Fourth Amendment into just another bit of meaningless, pitiful legal nostalgia, like the Ninth."Bada bing, bada boom - whaddya mean? What's that? What Fourth Amendment? Oh, we got rid of that tired old thing years ago. Gotta keep up with the times."
, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall notbe 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 seizednor need entry be announced, if an officer is looking for illegal contraband.
This is beyond a slippery slope: It's downhill ice skating. Thanks to Orin Kerr for pointing out that "originalists" Scalia, Thomas, et. al. looked up and found a "living" Constitution when seeking to justify expanding authority for police searches. Surprise, surprise. The blogosphere already has had a lot to say.
What can we take from this travesty? That federal courts will not protect the Fourth Amendment any longer, perhaps for a generation or more going forward. That much is clear. Legislators must now install new protections into law or we should basically just strip that sucker right out of there and be done with it. The right to privacy is better protected and it's part of the blasted "penumbra" - we're talking about one of the original ten amendments in the Bill of Rights being run through the shredder before our eyes, folks, with nary a whimper from Congress nor the President - a gloomy day, indeed.