“Instead of adhering to the warrant requirement,” Ginsburg wrote, “today’s decision tells the police they may dodge it, nevermind ample time to secure the approval of a neutral magistrate.” Tuesday’s ruling, she added, “shrinks to petite size our holding in Georgia v. Randolph.”
“A physically present inhabitant’s express refusal of consent to a police search [of his home] is dispositive as to him, regardless of the consent of a fellow occupant,” the majority ruled in that case.
The majority, led by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., said police need not take the time to get a magistrate’s approval before entering a home in such cases. But dissenters, led by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, warned that the decision would erode protections against warrantless home searches. The court had previously held that such protections were at the “very core” of the 4th Amendment and its ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, reports the LA Times.
According to the AP, Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s 6-3 decision holding that an occupant may not object to a search when he is not at home.
“We therefore hold that an occupant who is absent due to a lawful detention or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occupant who is absent for any other reason,” Alito said.
In other words, you have no property rights slave, and we can snoop through your personal belongings if we wish.
The implications for such a Stasi-esque interpretation of the 4th Amendment are staggering. This can and will open the door to even more unscrupulous police behavior. They will only need to say that someone may be in danger, and now they are justified in ransacking your home.
While this doesn’t particularly allow for police to choose and enter any home they wish, it is nothing to be downplayed, especially since Justice Ginsburg, one of their own, even stated that this could lead to even more erosion of what is left of the 4th Amendment.