Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

April 25, 2013

Court saves our privacy, media sleeps

(Continued)

As I’ve previously stated, Sotomayor is a valuable addition to our highest court because of her consistent critical thinking. It is quite a contrast from the rigid, self-righteous prejudgments of Justice Samuel Alito. I have her full judgment in this case, and it is illuminating -- not only for legal scholars but also for the citizenry at large -- to see how she reached her conclusion, which differs from many drunken driving prosecutions.

The Fourth Amendment forbids “unreasonable searches and seizures,” thereby first requiring a warrant from a judge to establish probable cause for a search. Sotomayor points out that there is “expeditious processing of warrant applications, particularly in contexts like drunk-driving investigations (to quickly get a warrant) where the evidence supporting probable cause is simple.”

“The law now allows a federal magistrate judge to consider ‘information communicated by telephone or other reliable electronic means.’”

But there must be that judge-issued warrant to the probable cause of the search before the extraction of blood -- not just the police officer’s suspicions.

Whitehead makes this crucial point concerning Missouri v. McNeely:

“While public safety is of great concern, especially when it comes to serious offenses such as driving under the influence of alcohol, Americans’ constitutional rights cannot be wholly discounted and conveniently discarded.

“This case has far-reaching implications that go beyond one man’s run-in with the police.

“The Supreme Court is to be commended for recognizing that if we allow the government agents broad powers to invade our bodies without consent or court order, the bodily integrity of all persons in the United States will be in serious jeopardy.”

And that’s why Missouri v. McNeely is so important and should’ve been widely covered.

So did you see anything about this case in the media you go to for information on the state of your individual constitutional liberties?

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