Supreme Court Rules that Cops Do Not Need a Warrant to Search Your Home

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In anoth­er dev­as­tat­ing blow to free­dom, the Supreme Court ruled Tues­day that police don’t need a war­rant to search your prop­er­ty. As long as two occu­pants dis­agree about allow­ing offi­cers to enter, and the res­i­dent who refus­es access is then arrest­ed, police may enter the residence.

Instead of adher­ing to the war­rant require­ment,” Gins­burg wrote, “today’s deci­sion tells the police they may dodge it, nev­er­mind ample time to secure the approval of a neu­tral mag­is­trate.” Tuesday’s rul­ing, she added, “shrinks to petite size our hold­ing in Geor­gia v. Randolph.”

Geor­gia v. Ran­dolph was a sim­i­lar case the Supreme Court addressed in 2006, in which a domes­tic vio­lence sus­pect would not allow police to enter his home, though his wife did offer police con­sent. The police ulti­mate­ly entered the home. The Court ruled in the case that the man’s refusal while being present in the home should have kept author­i­ties from entering.

A phys­i­cal­ly present inhabitant’s express refusal of con­sent to a police search [of his home] is dis­pos­i­tive as to him, regard­less of the con­sent of a fel­low occu­pant,” the major­i­ty ruled in that case.

The major­i­ty, led by Jus­tice Samuel A. Ali­to Jr., said police need not take the time to get a magistrate’s approval before enter­ing a home in such cas­es. But dis­senters, led by Jus­tice Ruth Bad­er Gins­burg, warned that the deci­sion would erode pro­tec­tions against war­rant­less home search­es. The court had pre­vi­ous­ly held that such pro­tec­tions were at the “very core” of the 4th Amend­ment and its ban on unrea­son­able search­es and seizures, reports the LA Times.

Accord­ing to the AP, Jus­tice Samuel Ali­to wrote the court’s 6–3 deci­sion hold­ing that an occu­pant may not object to a search when he is not at home.

We there­fore hold that an occu­pant who is absent due to a law­ful deten­tion or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occu­pant who is absent for any oth­er rea­son,” Ali­to said.

In oth­er words, you have no prop­er­ty rights slave, and we can snoop through your per­son­al belong­ings if we wish.

The impli­ca­tions for such a Stasi-esque inter­pre­ta­tion of the 4th Amend­ment are stag­ger­ing. This can and will open the door to even more unscrupu­lous police behav­ior. They will only need to say that some­one may be in dan­ger, and now they are jus­ti­fied in ran­sack­ing your home.

While this doesn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly allow for police to choose and enter any home they wish, it is noth­ing to be down­played, espe­cial­ly since Jus­tice Gins­burg, one of their own, even stat­ed that this could lead to even more ero­sion of what is left of the 4th Amendment.