The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously sided with Gun Owners of America in finding that the placement of a Global Positioning Device on an automobile constitutes a “search” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.
The majority opinion in U.S. v. Jones was written by Justice Antonin Scalia and follows GOA’s reasoning to throw out the “reasonable expectation of privacy” test which has been thought to be the dominant Fourth Amendment standard in recent years.
The Obama Administration argued that because the police could theoretically follow Antoine Jones’ car, he had no “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and thus, placing a GPS device on his car was justified. GOA argued, however, that this constituted an “unreasonable search and seizure” which violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
This decision will have dramatic ramifications for gun owners. Indeed, the Court looked to the Founders’ intentions with respect to the Fourth Amendment, which, until the latter part of the 20thCentury, was understood to restrict the ability of police to “trespass” upon the persons or property of Americans.
“This is no less than a fundamental transformation of American jurisprudence concerning searches and seizures,” according to GOA’s Executive Director Larry Pratt. “And it is a transformation which throws out fake modern jurisprudence and restores the Founders’ intent.”
The “reasonable expectation of privacy” test flowed from a Justice Harlan concurring opinion in Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). Gun Owners of America had argued that the Supreme Court should jettison that decision by an activist court, and a majority of the justices agreed.
“The ‘expectation of privacy’ test for searches and seizures arose without support in the text or historical context of the Fourth Amendment, and has proven wholly inadequate to protect the American people from their government,” argued GOA.
Four members of the court — led by Samuel Alito, and joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan — argued for the continuation of the “reasonable expectation of privacy test,” but concluded that planting a GPS device on a car for 28 days constituted a Fourth Amendment “search” under that standard as well.
The Obama administration, which had argued that planting a GPS device on a car was not a “search” under the Harlan standard, was unanimously repudiated by the High Court. And the case is being cited by the mainstream media as a defeat for Obama and his Justice Department, which is led by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Said Pratt: “This is yet another failure by Eric Holder, the most corrupt and incompetent Attorney General in the history of the Republic.”
Gun Owners would like to thank its activists for their support. Your contributions helps GOA to assist in future cases like this at the Supreme Court.