John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, about whom we’ve written many times, is indefatigable in his defense of the Bill of Rights. He and I don’t always agree politically, but on civil liberties we do. And his latest newsletter reveals why this battle — the whole raison d’être of TSA News — is a fool’s errand.
U.S. Supreme Court Rules 8-1 that Citizens Have No Protection Against Fourth Amendment Violations by Police Officers Ignorant of the Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a blow to the constitutional rights of citizens, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in Heien v. State of North Carolina that police officers are permitted to violate American citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights if the violation results from a “reasonable” mistake about the law on the part of police. Acting contrary to the venerable principle that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” the Court ruled that evidence obtained by police during a traffic stop that was not legally justified can be used to prosecute the person if police were reasonably mistaken that the person had violated the law. The Rutherford Institute had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hold law enforcement officials accountable to knowing and abiding by the rule of law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Court’s lone dissenter, warned that the court’s ruling “means further eroding the Fourth Amendment’s protection of civil liberties in a context where that protection has already been worn down.”
In other words, dear citizens, your government says f*** you.
So if cops can get away, as they routinely do, with much worse abuse, up to and including murder, what chance do we have against unreasonable search and seizure at the airport?
It’s a lost cause.