Supreme Court Rules 9-0: Government Cannot GPS-Track Without Fourth Amendment Probable Cause

Jonathan Turley tells us a lot about it.

This is big, even if the decision was split between a majority and a concurrence. But the fact that the Obama administration even sought to justify this practice is bigger. Please list this among the reasons I will not vote for Mr. Obama in November.

Unless there is probable cause to believe I have committed a crime, or am currently committing a crime, a cause strong enough for a judge to issue a warrant, my moment-to-moment location is none of my government’s goddamned business. Now our Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that I have that privacy right, though in much politer language, of course.

AFTERWORD: An email from the ACLU list reminded me that the government will almost certainly argue that cell phones may continue to be tracked without a warrant because their technology is different from that of GPS devices but still inevitably transmits location information to enable the appropriate cell tower to carry your phone conversation if you should call or be called. Yes, of course that’s absurd: it’s law instead of technology. A reasonable person would see no distinction between tracking someone’s location using one technology and tracking the same person’s location using another technology. But face it: the Obama administration’s DoJ and FBI contain many, many people who could not be classified as “reasonable.” Mark that down as yet another reason I will not vote for the man in November.

MORE INFO: The ruling may mean less than it at first seems to, because the Court ruled on very narrow grounds and emphasized not the use of a tracking device but the repeated physical invasion of the defendant’s vehicle and the complete disregard for the specifics of the warrant that was obtained (specifically, the search took place in a time period not covered by the warrant, and in a different state from where the warrant was issued). This may have very little to do with whether police must obtain a warrant to track a vehicle using an electronic device, but as the Court ruled on such narrow grounds, we still do not know.

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Comments

  • L'Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Monday January 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    .. and heading to the source!

    • Steve  On Monday January 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Enfant, I’m afraid I don’t understand. Please explain. Thanks.

  • L'Enfant de la Haute Mer  On Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Steve,
    I’m afraid my English is not so good.
    (my French is much better!)

    I mean, I am following the link you gave to reach the original article by Pr. J.Turley

    • Steve  On Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Enfant, your English is just fine. I was very tired when I read your comment.

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