SCOTUS Holds That Warrantless GPS Tracking is Unconstitutional UPDATED

Once again, I heartily endorse the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and their radical concept of separation of powers. Huzzah!

All nine justices of the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that police officers violated the Fourth Amendment rule against unreasonable search and seizure when they attached a GPS device to a suspect’s car and tracked it for 28 days without a warrant. But the court was split down the middle on the reasoning. Four justices focused on the physical trespass that occurred when the police attached the device, four focused on the violation of the suspect’s “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and the final justice, Sonia Sotomayor, endorsed both theories.

Go read the rest. Now, if the Justices would turn their attentions back to the question of the constitutionality of the Patriot Act, the Founders would stop rolling over in their graves.

UPDATE: A friend of mine sends: “Here’s the full text of the ruling for super-nerds,” to which I’ll add for all you sea-lawyers.

  • Tim

    Good to hear. But the majority’s opinion was it bit odd. As Justice Alito put it, “the Court has chosen to decide this case based on 18th-century tort law.”

    I’m not sure if this case will prevent other forms of governmental invasion based on current and new technologies.

    • Tim

      Also, I think your title should be “Warrantless GPS Tracking” and not “Unwarranted”. The tracking of the defendant seemed warranted from the facts.

      Plus, I’m not sure it was the “tracking” that was ruled a “search” and thereby required a warrant, but just the placing of the device on the car… like I said, it is an odd opinion.

      • Frank Weathers