Writs Of Assistance? We Don’t Need No Steenking…

Michael Mears in the AJC (H/T Common Dreams) reminds us that the Supreme Court, in its recent 8-1 decision in Kentucky v. King, “told the police in our nation that they may break into a home without a warrant if they believe that the occupants might be in the act of destroying evidence.”

For practical purposes, this decision reinstates the use of those writs of assistance in colonial times which were general search warrants with no expiration and no limits on what could be searched and seized, leaving those matters up to the Crown’s law enforcement officials rather than magistrates. These writs served as primary inspirations for the drafting of our Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Actually, Kentucky v. King re-establishes the practice of legal invasion of a home without any sort of warrant at all: if police have reason to believe (based on what? apparently based on anything that moves them) that evidence is being destroyed, it’s out with the axes and down with the door. Too bad about that Fourth Amendment thingy…

Some of us suspected early on that the Roberts Supreme Court would be the one to destroy the Bill of Rights. And damned if they haven’t made a good beginning at doing just that.


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