4th Amendment News: SCOTUS Rules GPS Tracking is a Search

We’ve talked about this case before.  Details at Wired.  The case was unanimous.   Scalia wrote the opinion and was joined by 4 others and Alito wrote a concurring opinion that was joined by three.  So 9-0 in favor of limiting a police power.

What’s really surprising is that it a 9-0 in favor of tossing a death sentence of a DC drug dealer.

The case is available here.

10 Responses

  1. Great ruling.


  2. Goes to show that even drug dealers have Constitutional rights. I was interested that Alito’s concurrence just seemed to open up a new can of worms in terms of when/where/how long such GPS monitoring does or does not constitute a search versus Scalia’s opinion, in which he basically says that it is always a search. Sotomayor, OTOH, seems to be all over the place with her concurrence.

    Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog and Orin Kerr at Volokh have preliminary commentary.


  3. The Denniston and Kerr commentaries are must reading for lawyers, and for anyone who loves and tries to understand the Supremes.


  4. OT, but this seems a better thread to post this on than the morning report:

    President Obama again exceeds the Bush administration’s approach against journalists in favor of secrecy and national security.

    “Former CIA officer charged in alleged leaks
    By Greg Miller, Monday, January 23, 2:11 PM

    The Justice Department on Monday charged a former CIA officer with repeatedly leaking classified information, including the identities of agency operatives involved in the capture and interrogation of alleged terrorists.

    The case against John Kiriakou, who served as a senior Senate aide after ending his CIA career, extends the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on disclosures of national security secrets to journalists.

    Kiriakou, who was among the first to go public with details about the CIA’s use of water-boarding and other harsh interrogation measures, was charged with disclosing classified information to reporters and lying to the agency about the origin of other sensitive material he published in a book.”


    One can only imagine the reaction from progressives/liberals if the Bush administration Justice Department had done this.


  5. Jnc, is it a partisan issue?


  6. Michigoose, perhaps you are correct. I’m curious about jnc’s position. I don’t see a partisan interpretation, and as a.squishy moderate see room for nuance. If the agent in question named agents and blew covers, he probably ought to be prosecuted. But a whistleblower that uncovers illegal behaviour – perhaps if our people were torturing prisoners, the agent reporting that probably deserves some protection.


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