The Supreme Court on Monday gave law enforcement officers new authority to enter a home without a warrant when they have reason to believe that drug evidence is being destroyed.
The court ruled 8 to 1 that Kentucky police who smelled marijuana at an apartment door, knocked loudly and announced themselves, and then kicked in the door when they thought the drugs were being destroyed did nothing wrong.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said the conduct of the police before they entered the apartment was “entirely lawful” and neither violates nor threatens a person’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches or seizures.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg strongly disagreed.
“The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases,” Ginsburg wrote. “In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, nevermind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.”
Comment: I'm not going to engage in the left verses right paradigm argument taking place on other blog sites. The simple fact is this, while it's the Republican's boy Alito slicing the dagger deep into the 4th Amendment, the Left's girl, Bader Ginsburg, has taken her turn before. They all have. There are no Constitutionalists on the Supreme Court.
But if you would like to know how the 17th Amendment caused this decision, read "The Irony of Populism: The Republican Shift and the Inevitability of American Aristocracy," by Zvi S. Rosen. Mr. Rosen explains clearly how the courts became the activist element they are today, which resulted from the aristocratic role that was lost in the Senate in 1913, and in the vacuum was filled by the courts.