Today the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Maryland v. King that law enforcement can take your DNA if they arrest you.
No warrant necessary.
They compare it to fingerprinting.
The case involved a man who was arrested on an assault charge. When the cops booked him into the Wicomico County jail, they took his DNA and ultimately matched it to a rape case.
Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion limiting federal power. I think he gets it right.
The Fourth Amendment forbids searching a person for evidence of a crime when there is no basis for believing the person is guilty of the crime or is in possession of incriminating evidence. That prohibition is categorical and without exception; it lies at the very heart of the Fourth Amendment. Whenever this Court has allowed a suspicionless search, it has insisted upon a justifying motive apart from the investigation of crime.
It is obvious that no such noninvestigative motive exists in this case. The Court’s assertion that DNA is being taken, not to solve crimes, but to identify those in the State’s custody, taxes the credulity of the credulous. And the Court’s comparison of Maryland’s DNA searches to other techniques, such as fingerprinting, can seem apt only to those who know no more than today’s opinion has chosen to tell them about how those DNA searches actually work.
But I think WLAP radio talk show host Matt Walsh really hits the nail on the head.
Let’s make this simple: You’re full of crap if you claim to be an advocate for “small government” or “individual liberty” or “privacy” while supporting this sort of thing. Yes, I’m sure it makes it easier for the courts and the cops to have the ability to seize your genetic code without cause or conviction, but, and this part is important, THE CONSTITUTION ISN’T DESIGNED TO MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR THE GOVERNMENT. It’s SUPPOSED to put hurdles and obstacles in the way. It’s INTENDED to block and impede them. THAT’S WHY WE HAVE IT, DAMN IT.
Now, with this ruling, the glove compartment in your car is legally protected from warrantless searches, but your DNA is not. And how did they justify this decision? By pointing out that the cops can already take your picture and your fingerprint. Brilliant. “Hey, we already have images of your face and finger, why shouldn’t we have your entire molecular makeup also?” I love when the government takes one step on our privacy then uses it to rationalize the second and third and fourth and twentieth steps. Hey, the TSA already gropes you at the airport, why shouldn’t they just conduct mandatory rectal exams? If my freaking DNA isn’t considered “mine” and therefore isn’t protected from warrantless seizure, what in the hell qualifies as mine? My money? My car? My dog? My ownership of these things is sacrosanct, but my ownership of my own hereditary material that contains the key to my distinct and fundamental physical characteristics ISN’T mine? What? In what universe does that make sense?
But really, why should we be surprised when federal employees side with those seeking to expand federal power? They almost always do!