Wait, what? Supreme Court casually guts 4th Amendment

Monday’s Supreme Court decision that basically allows evidence in an illegal search to be used against you should be the kind of issue that attracts a little attention.

Maybe if the State Fair had unveiled an “Illegal Search on a Stick,” it would’ve garnered some attention. But it didn’t, especially with the for-the-coming-campaign votes on gun control occupying the outrage caucus on social media.

But let’s think about this. If evidence can be used against you that is the result of an illegal stop by police, what’s to keep police from stopping you illegally?

The case involves a man who was stopped by police after he left a house where police suspected narcotics were sold. He was asked for his ID and when a police officer ran a check, found that there was an outstanding warrant against him for a traffic violation. He was then searched and, yes, police found the drugs.

These sorts of cases rarely work up much sympathy, but that’s the nature of how constitutional rights disappear.

You can be stopped now for doing nothing wrong, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in an astounding piece of writing that should be required reading for anyone who’s ever been tempted to read the Constitution.

Here. Read every word. It should have been printed on every newspaper’s op-ed page today.

The Court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.

Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language: This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong. If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop and will admit into evidence anything he happens to find by searching you after arresting you on the warrant.

Because the Fourth Amendment should prohibit, not permit, such misconduct, I dissent.

Minutes after Edward Strieff walked out of a South Salt Lake City home, an officer stopped him, questioned him, and took his identification to run it through a police database. The officer did not suspect that Strieff had done anything wrong. Strieff just happened to be the first person to leave a house that the officer thought might contain “drug activity.”

As the State of Utah concedes, this stop was illegal. The Fourth Amendment protects people from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” An officer breaches that protection when he detains a pedestrian to check his license without any evidence that the person is engaged in a crime. The officer deepens the breach when he prolongs the detention just to fish further for evidence of wrongdoing.

In his search for lawbreaking, the officer in this case himself broke the law. The officer learned that Strieff had a “small traffic warrant.” Pursuant to that warrant, he arrested Strieff and, conducting a search incident to the arrest, discovered methamphetamine in Strieff ’s pockets.

Utah charged Strieff with illegal drug possession. Before trial, Strieff argued that admitting the drugs into evidence would condone the officer’s misbehavior. The methamphetamine, he reasoned, was the product of the officer’s illegal stop. Admitting it would tell officers that unlawfully discovering even a “small traffic warrant” would give them license to search for evidence of unrelated offenses. The Utah Supreme Court unanimously agreed with Strieff. A majority of this Court now reverses.

It is tempting in a case like this, where illegal conduct by an officer uncovers illegal conduct by a civilian, to forgive the officer. After all, his instincts, although unconstitutional, were correct. But a basic principle lies at the heart of the Fourth Amendment: Two wrongs don’t make a right. When “lawless police conduct” uncovers evidence of lawless civilian conduct, this Court has long required later criminal trials to exclude the illegally obtained evidence.

For example, if an officer breaks into a home and finds a forged check lying around, that check may not be used to prosecute the homeowner for bank fraud. We would describe the check as “‘fruit of the poisonous tree.’” Fruit that must be cast aside includes not only evidence directly found by an illegal search but also evidence “come at by exploitation of that illegality.”

This “exclusionary rule” removes an incentive for officers to search us without proper justification. It also keeps courts from being “made party to lawless invasions of the constitutional rights of citizens by permitting unhindered governmental use of the fruits of such invasions.”

When courts admit only lawfully obtained evidence, they encourage “those who formulate law enforcement polices, and the officers who implement them, to incorporate Fourth Amendment ideals into their value system.” But when courts admit illegally obtained evidence as well, they reward “manifest neglect if not an open defiance of the prohibitions of the Constitution.”

Applying the exclusionary rule, the Utah Supreme Court correctly decided that Strieff ’s drugs must be excluded because the officer exploited his illegal stop to discover them. The officer found the drugs only after learning of Strieff ’s traffic violation; and he learned of Strieff ’s traffic violation only because he unlawfully stopped Strieff to check his driver’s license.

The court also correctly rejected the State’s argument that the officer’s discovery of a traffic warrant unspoiled the poisonous fruit. The State analogizes finding the warrant to one of our earlier decisions, Wong Sun v. United States. There, an officer illegally arrested a person who, days later, voluntarily returned to the station to confess to committing a crime. Even though the person would not have confessed “but for the illegal actions of the police,” we noted that the police did not exploit their illegal arrest to obtain the confession.

Because the confession was obtained by “means sufficiently distinguishable” from the constitutional violation, we held that it could be admitted into evidence. The State contends that the search incident to the warrant-arrest here is similarly distinguishable from the illegal stop. But Wong Sun explains why Strieff ’s drugs must be excluded. We reasoned that a Fourth Amendment violation may not color every investigation that follows but it certainly stains the actions of officers who exploit the infraction. We distinguished evidence obtained by innocuous means from evidence obtained by exploiting misconduct after considering a variety of factors: whether a long time passed, whether there were “intervening circumstances,” and whether the purpose or flagrancy of the misconduct was “calculated” to procure the evidence.

These factors confirm that the officer in this case discovered Strieff ’s drugs by exploiting his own illegal conduct. The officer did not ask Strieff to volunteer his name only to find out, days later, that Strieff had a warrant against him. The officer illegally stopped Strieff and immediately ran a warrant check. The officer’s discovery of a warrant was not some intervening surprise that he could not have anticipated. Utah lists over 180,000 misdemeanor warrants in its database, and at the time of the arrest, Salt Lake County had a “backlog of outstanding warrants” so large that it faced the “potential for civil liability.”

The officer’s violation was also calculated to procure evidence. His sole reason for stopping Strieff, he acknowledged, was investigative—he wanted to discover whether drug activity was going on in the house Strieff had just exited.

The warrant check, in other words, was not an “intervening circumstance” separating the stop from the search for drugs. It was part and parcel of the officer’s illegal “expedition for evidence in the hope that something might
turn up.” Brown, 422 U. S., at 605. Under our precedents, because the officer found Strieff ’s drugs by exploiting his own constitutional violation, the drugs should be excluded.

The Court sees things differently. To the Court, the fact that a warrant gives an officer cause to arrest a person severs the connection between illegal policing and the resulting discovery of evidence. This is a remarkable proposition: The mere existence of a warrant not only gives an officer legal cause to arrest and search a person, it also forgives an officer who, with no knowledge of the warrant at all, unlawfully stops that person on a whim or hunch.

To explain its reasoning, the Court relies on Segura v. United States. There, federal agents applied for a warrant to search an apartment but illegally entered the apartment to secure it before the judge issued the warrant. After receiving the warrant, the agents then searched the apartment for drugs.

The question before us was what to do with the evidence the agents then discovered. We declined to suppress it because “[t]he illegal entry into petitioners’ apartment did not contribute in any way to discovery of the evidence seized under the warrant.”

According to the majority, Segura involves facts “similar” to this case and “suggest[s]” that a valid warrant will clean up whatever illegal conduct uncovered it. It is difficult to understand this interpretation. In Segura, the agents’ illegal conduct in entering the apartment had nothing to do with their procurement of a search warrant. Here, the officer’s illegal conduct in stopping Strieff was essential to his discovery of an arrest warrant.

Segura would be similar only if the agents used information they illegally obtained from the apartment to procure a search warrant or discover an arrest warrant. Precisely because that was not the case, the Court admitted the untainted evidence.

The majority likewise misses the point when it calls the warrant check here a “‘negligibly burdensome precautio[n]’” taken for the officer’s “safety.” Remember, the officer stopped Strieff without suspecting him of committing any crime. By his own account, the officer did not fear Strieff. Moreover, the safety rationale we discussed in Rodriguez, an opinion about highway patrols, is conspicuously absent here. A warrant check on a highway “ensur[es] that vehicles on the road are operated safely and responsibly.” We allow such checks during legal traffic stops because the legitimacy of a person’s driver’s license has a “close connection to roadway safety.”

A warrant check of a pedestrian on a sidewalk, “by contrast, is a measure aimed at ‘detect[ing] evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing.’” Surely we would not allow officers to warrant-check random joggers, dog walkers, and lemonade vendors just to ensure they pose no threat to anyone else. The majority also posits that the officer could not have exploited his illegal conduct because he did not violate the Fourth Amendment on purpose. Rather, he made “good­ faith mistakes.”

Never mind that the officer’s sole purpose was to fish for evidence. The majority casts his unconstitutional actions as “negligent” and therefore incapable of being deterred by the exclusionary rule.

But the Fourth Amendment does not tolerate an officer’s unreasonable searches and seizures just because he did not know any better. Even officers prone to negligence can learn from courts that exclude illegally obtained evidence. Indeed, they are perhaps the most in need of the education, whether by the judge’s opinion, the prosecutor’s future guidance, or an updated manual on criminal procedure. If the officers are in doubt about what the law requires, exclusion gives them an “incentive to err on the side of constitutional behavior.”

Most striking about the Court’s opinion is its insistence that the event here was “isolated,” with “no indication that this unlawful stop was part of any systemic or recurrent police misconduct.”

Respectfully, nothing about this case is isolated. Outstanding warrants are surprisingly common. When a person with a traffic ticket misses a fine payment or court appearance, a court will issue a warrant. When a person on probation drinks alcohol or breaks curfew, a court will issue a warrant.

The States and Federal Government maintain databases with over 7.8 million outstanding warrants, the vast majority of which appear to be for minor offenses. Even these sources may not track the “staggering” numbers of warrants, “‘drawers and drawers’” full, that many cities issue for traffic violations and ordinance infractions.

The Department of Justice recently reported that in the town of Ferguson, Missouri, with a population of 21,000, 16,000 people had outstanding warrants against them. Justice Department investigations across the country have illustrated how these astounding numbers of warrants can be used by police to stop people without cause.

In a single year in New Orleans, officers “made nearly 60,000 arrests, of which about 20,000 were of people with outstanding traffic or misdemeanor warrants from neighboring parishes for such infractions as unpaid tickets.” In the St. Louis metropolitan area, officers “routinely” stop people—on the street, at bus stops, or even in court—for no reason other than “an officer’s desire to check whether the subject had a municipal arrest warrant pending.” The Justice Department analyzed these warrant-checked stops and reported that “approximately 93% of the stops would have been considered unsupported by articulated reasonable suspicion.”

I do not doubt that most officers act in “good faith” and do not set out to break the law. That does not mean these stops are “isolated instance[s] of negligence,” however. Many are the product of institutionalized training procedures. The New York City Police Department long trained officers to, in the words of a District Judge, “stop and question first, develop reasonable suspicion later.”

The Utah Supreme Court described as “‘routine procedure’ or ‘common practice’” the decision of Salt Lake City police officers to run warrant checks on pedestrians they detained without reasonable suspicion.

In the related context of traffic stops, one widely followed police manual instructs officers looking for drugs to “run at least a warrants check on all drivers you stop. Statistically, narcotics offenders are . . . more likely to fail to appear on simple citations, such as traffic or trespass violations, leading to the issuance of bench warrants. Discovery of an outstanding warrant gives you cause for an immediate custodial arrest and search of the suspect.”

The majority does not suggest what makes this case “isolated” from these and countless other examples. Nor does it offer guidance for how a defendant can prove that his arrest was the result of “widespread” misconduct. Surely it should not take a federal investigation of Salt Lake County before the Court would protect someone in Strieff ’s position.

Writing only for myself, and drawing on my professional experiences, I would add that unlawful “stops” have severe consequences much greater than the inconvenience suggested by the name. This Court has given officers an array of instruments to probe and examine you. When we condone officers’ use of these devices without adequate cause, we give them reason to target pedestrians in an arbitrary manner. We also risk treating members of our communities as second-class citizens.

Although many Americans have been stopped for speeding or jaywalking, few may realize how degrading a stop can be when the officer is looking for more. This Court has allowed an officer to stop you for whatever reason he wants—so long as he can point to a pretextual justification after the fact. That justification must provide specific reasons why the officer suspected you were breaking the law, but it may factor in your ethnicity, where you live, what you were wearing, and how you behaved.

The officer does not even need to know which law you might have broken so long as he can later point to any possible infraction—even one that is minor, unrelated, or ambiguous.

The indignity of the stop is not limited to an officer telling you that you look like a criminal. The officer may next ask for your “consent” to inspect your bag or purse without telling you that you can decline. Regardless of your answer, he may order you to stand “helpless, perhaps facing a wall with [your] hands raised.”

If the officer thinks you might be dangerous, he may then “frisk” you for weapons. This involves more than just a pat down. As onlookers pass by, the officer may “‘feel with sensitive fingers every portion of [your] body. A thorough search [may] be made of [your] arms and armpits, waistline and back, the groin and area about the testicles, and entire surface of the legs down to the feet.’”

The officer’s control over you does not end with the stop. If the officer chooses, he may handcuff you and take you to jail for doing nothing more than speeding, jaywalking, or “driving [your] pickup truck . . . with [your] 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter . . . without [your] seatbelt fastened.”

At the jail, he can fingerprint you, swab DNA from the inside of your mouth, and force you to “shower with a delousing agent” while you “lift [your] tongue, hold out [your] arms, turn around, and lift [your] genitals.”

Even if you are innocent, you will now join the 65 million Americans with an arrest record and experience the “civil death” of discrimination by employers, landlords, and whoever else conducts a background check.

And, of course, if you fail to pay bail or appear for court, a judge will issue a warrant to render you “arrestable on sight” in the future.

This case involves a suspicionless stop, one in which the officer initiated this chain of events without justification. As the Justice Department notes, many innocent people are subjected to the humiliations of these
unconstitutional searches. The white defendant in this case shows that anyone’s dignity can be violated in this manner.

But it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny. For generations, black and brown parents have given their children “the talk”— instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.

By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to
invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights.

It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.

We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.

Related: Opinion analysis: The exclusionary rule is weakened but it still lives (SCOTUSblog)

  • Al

    So, this is kind of a big deal. /understatement

  • Gary F

    Who needs the Constitution anyways? It’s a living document. Right?

  • Jeff

    My understanding is that the evidence can only be used against you if you happen to have a warrant out for your arrest…is that correct?

    • kat

      Please see the portion of the piece that highlights how ridiculously common warrants are.

    • Laurie K.

      If there was no warrant, there would have been no arrest, therefore no search incident to arrest therefore no evidence to talk about. BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT. The point is, that the stop of the defendant should not have happened in the first place, therefore the actions of the officer after the stop were illegal.

      • Jeff

        Sure, I agree the incident shouldn’t have happened in the first place but a police officer MUST act on a warrant even if the original interaction was “unconstitutional”. Through the normal arrest procedures, if he finds evidence, that is in fact admissible if the arrest is valid, which it would be with a warrant. I think either the officer has the authority to arrest and follow arrest procedures with all evidence found to be admissible or the officer has to let the individual go, even if he finds a warrant due to the original interaction being unconstitutional. I don’t think you can have it both ways.

        • Laurie K.

          This is not about an illegal arrest, it’s about whether the evidence seized during an illegal stop should be suppressed.

  • kat

    Kagan’s dissent is good, but this by Sotomayor is just amazing in range and clarity. I think BLM and other social justice groups will benefit from this dissent as time goes on- despite these setbacks I believe progress is inevitable

  • Jeff

    Could I get a link to the majority ruling? I feel like the case may have been decided more narrowly than Sotomayor explains in her dissent. This may only apply to those who have a warrant out and then the officer is searching a suspect for his and the suspect’s safety while arresting that person on the warrant…which is reasonable to me. Also, there was reasonable suspicion due to the fact that the police had known the location where this individual had just left as a drug house.

  • Anna

    The founding fathers put in the 4th amendment because of unreasonable searches and seizures by British soldiers with the blessing of the British parliament and King George only in the colonists’ case, they had to house their oppressors, too.

    The winter of 2009, I was returning to Minnesota from a travel nurse position and stopped at a hotel in Kansas. After I ate breakfast, I pulled out from the hotel on to the Interstate to start my final leg home.

    Not five minutes after I got on the highway, a state police officer put his lights on and pulled me over. I was under the speed limit (70) and I could not figure out what traffic violation I was guilty of.

    I rolled down my driver’s side window as the officer was approaching my car. He immediately apologized. My car resembled a vehicle that was involved in an armed robbery the previous day and there was an all points bulletin out for the driver and the vehicle.

    I guess my LSU magnet, my Coast Guard Academy sticker and my Minnesota plates made him realize he had the wrong vehicle.

    In light of the SCOTUS decision, I shudder to think what could have happened. The outcome would have likely been entirely different and probably would not have ended well for me at least.

    It appears you are guilty until proven innocent, at least in the eyes of the Supreme Court.

    I am sure there are many who will argue that if you don’t have any skeletons in your closet i.e. traffic violations, misdemeanor charges, etc. you don’t have anything to worry about.

    We fought two world wars and many others to prevent the dictatorial abridgement of freedom in this country and that includes being searched because you look “suspicious.”

    Are we in a time warp and am I still living in the United States or in the former USSR?

  • I’m reminded of the guy who was shot to death by police in Roseville a few months ago after they broke down his door.

    Why? He had a warrant for once giving a false name to police.

    • PaulJ

      He was killed for giving a false name?

      • jon

        I believe he was killed for stabbing a police dog.
        But the dog wouldn’t have been there were it not for the warrant.

      • No, they broke down his door because of the outstanding warrant.

  • chlost

    This decision is astounding to me. It changes long-established law. Sotomayor’s dissent is great, but apparently did not sway the other Justices.
    I never want to hear the disdainful comments from the “right” about “activist liberal judges”. This is about as activist as it gets. I hope.

    • Mike Worcester

      I was a bit shocked by Justice Bryer signing on to Justice Thomas’s opinion.

  • Jeff

    So what is the standard procedure for citizens in that situation as per Sotomayor? Simply refuse to show your ID to police when they ask if you’re stopped on the street for no reason? How about if you’re stopped in your car and you honestly believe you have done nothing wrong, should we refuse to offer up our ID in that case too?

    • It’s the wrong question to ask.

      The Supreme Court justices agreed that the original stop was in error. Whether a person should or shouldn’t have shown an ID is irrelevant to the question. It’s not about what an individual does, it’s about what police and, more important, courts do.

      All of the discussion starts with this stipulation: The original investigatory search was unconstitutional.

      • Jeff

        Sure, but in DUI cases that doesn’t matter either…even if someone is stopped for no reason that person refusing to submit to a breathalyzer has committed a crime.

        • As you know, the issue of “implied consent” is also before the justices.

          It’s a little more complicated than what you describe because of the previous Supreme Court ruling that held that a warrantless search is not necessarily unconstitutional if authorities consider the totality of the circumstances.

          • Jeff

            Yeah, I really hope “implied consent” goes away…refusing a test should have zero implications on a criminal trial…you could lose your license but in order to take your freedom there should be evidence presented at a trial to show you are impaired. The real irony is that if you don’t have a valid license implied consent doesn’t apply…you have more rights if you don’t do the right thing in that particular situation.

    • jon

      On the topic of knowing your rights under the law.

      MN is not a stop and identify state, but there are states that require you to provide identification.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_and_identify_statutes

      • Jeff

        Based on that link isn’t Utah one of those states where you have to show your ID?

        • jon

          Working down the links from the wikipedia page to the Utah stop and identify law:
          “A peace officer may stop any person in a public place when he has a reasonable suspicion to believe he has committed or is in the act of committing or is attempting to commit a public offense and may demand his name, address and an explanation of his actions. ”

          “Reasonable suspicion” is likely the key words here.
          As multiple judges found the stop to be illegal, odds are there was not a “reasonable suspicion” to be had for this stop.

          • jon

            Man reading that law back again… “when he has a reasonable suspicion to believe he has committed”
            over use of “he” as the pronoun to describe both the stopped party and the peace officer…
            Also not gender neutral language.

        • No. Reasonable cause remains a necessity. States aren’t free to override guarantees in the U.S. Constitution.

  • Mike Worcester

    This is yet a further eroding of the protections of the 4th Amendment, one in a long list of nick and cuts spanning years. Radley Balko at the Washington Post has written extensively about this issue. In reality it should concern people across the political spectrum.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/05/16/the-supreme-courts-fourth-amendment-irrelevance/

    And all of us should bookmark Scotus Blog for its easy-to-understand recaps of what are often complicated legal issues.

  • PaulJ

    So, if you have a warrant out for your arrest; you’d better not interact with law enforcement.

    • As I indicated downstream, the question of what the individual should or should not do is irrelevant. The question is what happens with evidence discovered in what all the justices agreed was an unconstitutional search by police.

      And I repeat the question I asked above. If evidence is now admissible that was obtained in an unconstitutional search, what discourages unconstitutional searches?

      • PaulJ

        The search on the drug stop wouldn’t have been allowed, but the search on the warrant is allowed. Sotomayor seems to be saying this means police can stop anyone to see if there’s a warrant out for their arrest. -Actually can stop you for any reason except to see if there’s a warrant out on you.

        • She’s saying they can stop anyone on the chance that they’d get lucky that there’d be a warrant out of their arrest….acknowledging that it would be unconstitutional…. if the evidence seized in an unconstitutional stop could still be used in court.

          What’s to discourage that?

          • PaulJ

            You would have to disallow cases where the “real” reason for the stop was to search for warrants.

          • Who is to determine what the “real” reason is?

  • Jeff

    I get the fact that people shouldn’t be stopped for no reason but this person was coming from a suspicious location (a suspected drug house). Can police not stop you and ask for an ID??? Every time I’ve been pulled over I’ve gone through this…can I refuse to offer up my ID if I don’t think I did anything unsafe or illegal? That’d be great if we had that right but I don’t think we do…police can ask for your ID to see who you are and verify warrants…if you have a warrant then you will be arrested and if you’re arrested you will be searched. This doesn’t seem all that complex unless we as citizens have a right to refuse to show our ID and not cooperate with police…if we have this right then great, I’ll do that every time I’m pulled over!

    • jon

      If you are driving you are required to show ID, if you are walking down the street you are not required to show ID, nor are you required to carry ID while walking down the street, you are required to carry it while driving though.

    • You do not have to show your ID unless there is probable cause for your being stopped.

      Walking out of a house is not probable cause.

      • Jeff

        But…”The case involves a man who was stopped by police after he left a house where police suspected narcotics were sold”. I guess I’d have to know what the evidence for that suspicion was but if there was a legitimate witness or other people busted on drug offenses who pointed to the house in the past I’d consider that good enough.

        • jon

          If there was probable cause that the house was selling narcotics, then the officer wouldn’t have needed to stop some one on the street, they would have been able to raid the house.

          • Jeff

            Well the issue is getting a search warrant might involve a witness testifying in front of a judge…vs a cop hearing a person talk about the house as where they got their drugs and then the person refusing to testify…you know how you get a warrant at that point? Arrest a person coming out of that house and use that evidence as reason to get a search warrant…which only works if the person coming out of the house has a warrant…which it just happened to work out in this case.

          • And what you just described is an unconstitutional arrest. There’s nobody on the Supreme Court who doesn’t share that opinion.

          • jon

            You don’t need to “testify” in open court to issue a warrant.

            The bar for getting a warrant isn’t set unreasonably high, “probably cause” is what’s needed… that’s it. once you have that, the judge will issue the warrant…

          • mosesm

            jeff—how about if i dont like you–i call in a tip to watch your house for illegal activity—-is it then fair game to stop everyone that leaves your house??

          • Jeff

            Sure, go for it, if your tip is wrong I would expect you to be prosecuted for perjury but yeah, I’d have no problem either way.

          • Paul

            Not true. Need a warrant.

          • jon

            Yes, procedurally they need a warrant.
            However, “…no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…” (-4th amendment)

            If they had solid probable cause, then it’s just a procedural issue to get the warrant.

        • If eveyrone could stop commenting long enough to actually READ the case (or at least the synopsis), the discussion will be much better.

          From the first paragraph of the decision:

          “Narcotics detective Douglas Fackrell conducted surveillance on a South Salt Lake City residence based on an anonymous tip about drug activity. The number of people he observed making brief visits to the house over the course of a week made him suspicious that the occupants were dealing drugs.”

          He didn’t have probable cause. He was attempting to get probable cause through searches the court acknowledged were unconstitutional.

          • Jeff

            “The number of people he observed making brief visits to the house over the course of a week made him suspicious that the occupants were dealing drugs.”

            Reasonable suspicion…right?

          • jon

            My understanding is that an officer being suspicious vs. having a “Reasonable Suspicion” are two different things in lawyer talk.

          • Jeff

            So, this is just an officer’s observation…what if the officer isn’t sure if that’s enough for a search warrant…maybe he could stop a person coming out of the house…verify they do (or don’t) have a drug record and/or warrant out on them to confirm or deny his suspicions…seems reasonable, right?

          • No. It’s not reasonable at all.

            A cop can’t stop me for coming out of my house.

          • Jeff

            I agree 100%, if your house had an anonymous tip made on it and people were conspicuously entering and leaving your house that would grant him a moment to stop you and have a conversation…maybe even ask for your ID…of course you could refuse that question and be on your way.

          • No. And why are we debating this? The court has already acknowledged the original search was unconstitutional.

          • >>If eveyrone could stop commenting long enough to actually READ the case (or at least the synopsis), the discussion will be much better.<<

            Wait, we're supposed to READ stories before commenting on them? When did THAT start? This is 'Murica after all.

            /And you are 100% right Bob…

      • PaulJ

        What about those cameras that can look at license plates in order to find stolen cars. Are they illegally searching everyone one else? Or if police stop a person in a crowd for acting suspicious; aren’t they, in a way, searching everyone else’s face.

        • Since the license plates are out in the open, it’s not a search.

        • Jeff

          But then isn’t a warrant then reasonable suspicion to pull that car over??? I fail to see how running plates and checking IDs of people who enter/exit a suspicious house are all that much different.

          • Pulling your car over and conducting a search are two different things.

            A cop can pull you over on probable cause that you broke some sort of traffic law. But a cop can’t search your car without some probable cause that there’s something there to prove you broke the law.

            And the cop can’t pull you over just to see if you have a warrant (think of the drunk driving roadblocks of the ’80s).

            That’s the distinction in this case.

          • Jeff

            So here’s the main question of that SCOTUS case…what if a cop stops a person to ask questions about his investigation…he requests an ID to know who he’s talking to…then he finds a warrant on that individual. What would you have a police officer do at that very moment…should the officer be able to arrest that person? If so, then wouldn’t he have to search him to make sure there’s nothing dangerous (needles, knives, guns) on that individual’s person? So that’s the question…should the officer have the power to arrest that person based on the previous warrant? Should the officer have the power to search that arrested person for his own safety? If he does find something should that evidence be admitted in court? What do you believe are the answers to all those questions?

          • That’s not the question before the court. This case starts AFTER the point at which the actions of the cop have ALREADY BEEN DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL..

            The police have the power to arrest people on warrants; that is not in dispute.

            They do not have the power to engage in an illegal search and the court has already stipulated what constitutes a legal search.

            The question is if a search is illegal, is the evidence discovered in the search admissible. That’s what the court ruled on.

          • Jeff

            So asking for the ID to find the warrant was “unconstitutional”? But then the officer in good faith moves past that and finds the warrant and then legally (constitutionally) has the power to arrest him. At that point can the officer move forward with the arrest, you seem to think he can…therefore a new “constitutional” interaction involving arrest commences and therefore a “constitutional” search can begin as part of standard arrest procedures…I believe that’s the conclusion the majority of the court came to…I was trying to understand it and I believe I have.

          • Evan

            No, the stop was unconstitutional. After the defendant exited the house and was stopped by an officer on the sidewalk, he was being detained for the police officer’s investigation, which is considered a stop for Fourth Amendment purposes. Part of the stop is identifying the person being detained by ID, which leads to the officer learning the defendant’s identity. In order for an officer to conduct an investigatory stop (called a Terry stop), an officer needs a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. A person’s presence in a high crime area (like a well known drug house) is not a sufficient justification for a Terry stop.

            There is no “good faith” moving past the illegal stop. The warrant was discovered as a result of the illegal stop and the drugs were found as a result of the arrest for the warrant.

          • Jeff

            So the officer should immediately release any person who was originally pulled over for an unconstitutional stop, even if they have a warrant out for their arrest? Or do you believe the warrant allows the police officer to detain the person even if the original stop was unconstitutional?

          • There’s nothing in this case that’s about arresting someone for an outstanding warrant. That’s not the issue at all.

            It’s about whether evidence from an unconstitutional search can be used against you.

            If the unconstitutional search was on the basis of an overtime parking ticket, you still have to pay your ticket and you still get arrested.

          • Evan Frazier

            The warrant most definitely allows for an officer to detain the person at the time of the stop in order to allow the courts to process whatever the reason was the warrant was issued in the first place. A status check for warrants is not a search.

            The question in court becomes whether or not any relief is provided to the defendant because of the illegal stop. Here, the defendant was seeking to have the drugs suppressed from the new criminal case opened against him because of the illegal stop leading to the officer’s discovery of the drugs.

          • Jeff

            I think the court clearly answered that question…if the suspect has a warrant then the arrest can commence and if any evidence is found during normal arrest procedures that is admissible in court even if the original stop was unconstitutional. That has always been true, if a cop pulls you over for no reason and asks for your ID (assuming you’re driving someone else’s car and your plate wouldn’t show anything) and finds a warrant, then he can arrest you. If he finds drugs on your person at that point he could admit it in court. If there is no warrant then there is no reason to arrest/search and nothing could be admitted in court. I think it’s a good decision from that perspective. Don’t have a warrant out for your arrest and there’s no chance the police might “unconstitutionally” find illegal drugs on you and use them against you in court.

          • // . That has always been true, i

            That will certainly came as news to the majority considering the fact the first half of its opinion outlines that this has NOT always been true.

            The exclusionary rule is a little complicated than that and has exceptions set by the court — evidence gained unconstitutionally could be admissible if it is subsequently gained constitutionally. But make no mistake about it: This is an expansion of those exceptions; this is not an affirmation of previous precedents.

            Justice Thomas said as much when he noted that the question before the court — never answered before — is whether the discovery of an arrest warrant breaks ” the causal chain between the unlawful stop and the discovery of drug-related evidence on Strieff ’s person.”

          • Jeff

            I think they simply clarified the law to let people know that once that warrant is discovered that “resets” the constitutionality of that interaction…even if the original stop was illegal, if an extremely valid reason (like a warrant) is found to arrest someone and then an officer finds evidence using standard arrest procedures then that evidence is admissible. I think it’s sound reasoning.

          • So let’s go back to the original question in the post. What discourages stopping people , figuring they’d probably have a warrant for a “crime” that probably the cops don’t even care about, as a substitute for probable cause and a search warrant for evidence that actually IS the intended target?

          • Jeff

            I hate to say this because I know a lot people will disagree and think I’m so horrible for saying it…but don’t get a warrant out for your arrest. You get a fine, pay it. Show up in court when asked and turn yourself in for violating the law…if you don’t don’t do those basic things that are required to operate in our society then you might lose some rights. I see it as no different than when bounty hunters go after people with warrants…if that’s legal then this is certainly less of a violation than non-law enforcement citizens apprehending someone with a warrant.

          • Evan

            But the only reason that the warrant was discovered, and the drugs were then found search incident to arrest, was because of the illegal search. The worry that people like Justice Sotomayor raise is that police can now just pull people over for no reason, ask about their warrant status, and search the person and their immediate area when they luck out and the person has a warrant out for their arrest. That, to many, is unreasonable.

            It also has clearly not always been the case as the Supreme Court decided to hear this case and overrule the Utah Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that the drugs should be suppressed. The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to punish police officers for engaging in illegal practices. Without the use of the exclusionary rule in cases such as these, there is now no protection against arbitrary stops.

          • That is the most interesting part of the opinion. That it factored in police misconduct — the exclusionary rule being in place to deter police misconduct — but gave it a pass because it was not ” purposeful or flagrant.”

          • Steve Walsh

            just mind boggling that as far as scotus is concerned, infringement of constitutional rights is ok….as long as the infringement is negligent.

          • Jeff

            I think the search wasn’t illegal, the arrest was valid but the stopping and asking for the ID was unconstitutional. I think there is protection against arbitrary stops leading to your arrest and having evidence being used against you in court; don’t have a warrant out for your arrest.

          • Again, you’re disagreeing with every single justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

          • Jeff

            Not really, I’m saying the stop was illegal…then due to the warrant and standard arrest procedures the exclusionary rule no no longer applies, as per that article: “Tyler Green, representing Utah, attempts to persuade the court that there was a clear attenuating circumstance here: Fackrell discovered an arrest warrant for Strieff, thereby breaking the chain of causation between his illegal conduct and his discovery of the evidence. ”

            Also:

            Chief Justice John Roberts wades in with a nettled grimace to point out that most Americans don’t have arrest warrants, so the police don’t have an incentive to go on what Watt calls a “fishing expedition.”

          • KTN

            Unless you live in Ferguson, where as Justice Sotomayor pointed out in her dissent, of the 22,000 residents, 16,000 have warrants. This is most likely not an exception either.

          • Jeff

            That seems like a problem in that community…if you get a parking ticker or some other violation I would recommend paying the fine before a warrant is issued. If the police are abusing their power then the slate must be wiped clean and most of those warrants and tickets must be eliminated from a higher level…perhaps a class action suit is necessary against Ferguson. But that’s not the norm and we all know it…even Roberts and Alito brought that up in the case arguments.

          • Steve Walsh

            yeah he also said the south isnt racist anymore before scotus overturned much need voter protection laws, and within days southern states instituted laws designed to disenfranchise minority voters.

            justice roberts’ reality, and the actual reality that we all live in, are two different places.

          • Jeff

            Those voter protection laws were garbage, we can’t treat states differently due to policies that haven’t been in place for decades…now the South is treated just like all the other states, at some point it had to happen and now is a good time.

          • Steve Walsh

            they werent in place for decades because they were illegal.

            and as soon as the vra was gutted, those “not racist” states put disenfranchisement laws right back on the books.

            because they arent racist.

          • Jeff

            I can’t tell if your comment is sarcastic or not.

          • Steve Walsh

            you do realize that one does not have to have committed a crime in order for an arrest warrant to be issued right?

            your position of, “well just dont have warrants” is beyond stupid

          • Jeff

            Yes, it is beyond stupid…so far beyond stupid it’s common sense.

          • Laurie K.

            Law enforcement only needs reasonable articulable suspicion to believe that you have violated a traffic law, not probable cause. Reasonable articulable suspicion is a different standard than probable cause ~ it’s much, much lower.

          • jack

            we have road checks all the time in ky. they look at your license, see if you have a seat belt on, etc.

          • PaulJ

            It seems searching license plate records for no reason is not illegal and so anybody with a warrant and a license plate could be pulled over and arrested. So, I suppose any type of public transaction that contained identifying information could trigger a legal search for warrants. If I was the police I’d liaise with the NSA and start rounding people up.

          • Steve Walsh

            because the only thing that makes a house, a person, or anything “suspicious” is someones opinion-the 4th says that isnt good enough.

    • DavidG

      If you’re driving, you do have to present ID. If you’re not, no.

  • Jeff

    Off topic alert, I just want to make a note that I’m trying to post a comment with MPR’s current show about the ISIS trial and I’m having my comment blocked because it links to an interesting article that doesn’t necessarily agree with the MPR narrative on the ISIS trial. I just want to post the link and have Mr. Collins see it to determine if linking to the article is worth the suppression of speech:

    http://www.startribune.com/somali-minnesota-terror-recruitment-what-i-saw-at-the-trial/383038331/

    Talk to Steph about it if you don’t think it’s okay to suppress speech like that.

    • You might consider having the facts before you decide why your comment is being blocked. But it sounds like you’re not talking about NewsCut so I can’t help you. You’ll have to take it up with whomever is running the page you’re trying to post stuff on. I’ve got enough work just patrolling this site. I don’t have time to play judge for other shows.

  • Jason Mock

    I really wish people were as passionate about the 4th Amendment as they are about the 2nd.

    • Jeff

      So I might ask this same group if an anonymous tip gets you onto a terrorist watch list if it’s okay to deny you access to firearms…any good, consistent answers?

    • The 4th Amendment needs an advocacy group. The National Privacy Association? NPA!

      • Jeff

        ACLU?

      • 212944

        Congress?

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    My guess is that the freedoms we take for granted, as guaranteed by the Constitution, will be eroded over time as the country (and world) becomes increasingly dangerous due to looming demographic changes, financial crises, climate change, and over-population.

    • kat

      The world is not more dangerous- the perception of scarcity and danger allows our freedom to be limited

    • jack

      or as an excuse for organized criminals like the bushes, banks, chamber of commerce , etc. to shut down the publics rights , like the patriot act, and the nsa, which is always used by dictators to find SOMETHING to charge their political enemies with , as the bushes did. fake charges ,with maybe a grain of truth , to destroy their political enemies, like they tried to call the dixie chicks and france(remember freedom fries was pushed on fox news to hurt france cause they wouldn’t be forced by the bush mafia to allow monsanto gmo’s into their country. if you don’t do what they say, or try to expose them, they will destroy you , come after you, make an example out of you. obama is trying another slicker tactic, be nice to those countries who haven’t realized how vile these right wing crooks are. that stole our govt.

    • Jim Jones

      “To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about, by men who have neither the right, nor the knowledge, nor the virtue. … To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under the pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”

      — Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (Idée Générale de la Révolution au XIXe Siècle [The General Idea of the Revolution] (1851); quoted in The Anarchists (1964) by James Joll, Ch. 3, p. 78)

  • lindblomeagles

    Bob’s right; this IS an excellent rebuke from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and I’m shocked, honestly, that even the court’s conservative justices went along with this decision. I thought the conservatives were the non-activist judges who revered themselves in such strict understanding of the US Constitution. Unlike the two apartment cases Bob posted on here, this white defendant left a home that wasn’t his and began walking down a public street. The officer clearly didn’t work with the Salt Lake DA to establish a sting on the suspected drug house nor was the officer and Stieff inside the house where the drug sale went down. Strieff wasn’t walking round with a gun in his hand, nor was he terrorizing the community with loud outlandish speech or with his clothes off. The police had no right to stop and then search him. Very dangerous decision handed down today by the Supreme Court. Maybe now, people will join the Black Lives Matter Movement, the same people who’ve told us since Ferguson, MO, our nation’s police HAVE WAY too much power and too little oversight of their power.

    • jack

      the roberts court has literally dismantled our democracy for right wing billionaires they work for, and so do democrats and some judges, like breyer, since the bush and clinton admin.s. they ruled in favor of corp.s over workers 95 % of the time. undoing what many americans fought and died for . and you apparently aren’t aware of any of this. how can that be? people who watch fox news (and now we know all tv news,only 2 o3 news channels on tv in the biggest country is a little odd don’t you think.makes it easy to control what the poors hear) , know less than people who watch zero news. why, because they are being lied an brainwashed with the exact opposite of the truth, to divide the country and redirect the naive to blame other americans instead of the right wing billionaire organized crime cartels and their political employees who are the actual criminals and should be in prison for treason.

  • Jeff

    Here’s the SCOTUS’s logic for their ruling:

    [T]here is no indication that this unlawful stop was part of any systemic or recurrent police misconduct. To the contrary, all the evidence suggests that the stop
    was an isolated instance of negligence that occurred in connection with a bona fide investigation of a suspected drug house. Officer Fackrell saw Strieff leave a suspected drug house. And his suspicion about the house was based
    on an anonymous tip and his personal observations.

    Applying these factors, we hold that the evidence discovered on Strieff ’s person was admissible because the unlawful stop was sufficiently attenuated by the preexisting arrest warrant. Although the illegal stop was close in time to Strieff ’s arrest, that consideration is outweighed by two factors supporting the State. The outstanding arrest warrant for Strieff ’s arrest is a critical intervening circumstance that is wholly independent of the illegal stop. The discovery of that warrant broke the causal chain between the unconstitutional stop and the discovery of evidence by compelling Officer Fackrell to arrest Strieff. And, it is especially significant that there is no evidence that Officer Fackrell’s illegal stop reflected flagrantly unlawful police misconduct.

    • The “his heart was in the right place” exemption is, itself, frightening.

      • Jeff

        More like, “his brain was in the right place” because everything he was investigating was proved correct. I don’t necessarily like it either, but the warrant makes it narrow and the person is essentially a fugitive…I think we agree that the arrest needs to happen and the arrest itself is legal. The search happens due to the original unconstitutional stop but before that a legal arrest occurs due to a warrant being found…therefore the search through a legal arrest due to a warrant is a narrowly defined exception to the exemption rule. I think reasonable people could disagree on this issue but I believe if you think the arrest needs to happen for the warrant then it is legal and anything beyond the moment of that legal arrest continues to remain legal as long as it is done in the narrow path of this new legal arrest.

        • Still would love someone to answer the question: What’s to prevent unconstitutional stops on warrants cops couldn’t care less about to get at evidence they do?

          • Jeff

            Well if the person they stopped doesn’t have a warrant then the entire stop and any subsequent search would be nullified in a court of law. Like I said, the answer is to avoid having a warrant out for your arrest…I suppose those who are being stopped systematically hunting for warrants could turn around as sue to the police department for being stopped for no reason…civil rights violation…seems like they could win a decent cash award.

            This guy flips off cops every chance he gets, then he sues the departments when cops retaliate with tickets/fines.

            http://thisiscriminal.com/episode-42-the-finger-5-6-2016/

          • Ahsim Nreiziev

            Avoiding having a warrant out is easier said than done. As Justice Sotomayor notices, there is a database of 7.8 million outstanding warrants in the U.S., and that’s only the ones that are on digital file.

            Perhaps more important, however, is that paying off the sums you owe to various people is made extraordinarily difficult in some cases. Furthermore, if there is already a sum that you need to pay, there are numerous cases where there are only more and more fees being piled up on the existing fee, meaning that you can never truly pay off your fee.

            If the system was fair and having a warrant outstanding was always fully controllable by the person to whom the warrant applies, then maybe you’d have a point. As it stands, however…..

          • Mark in Ohio

            It’s also possible to have an outstanding warrant and not be aware of it. A friend of mine found he had a warrant from another state when he was denied renewal on his driver’s license. It took a while, but he finally figured out what happened. My friend had been stopped for some small traffic violation and the officer wrote the ticket, but he talked his way out of it and the officer ended up not giving him the ticket. In the efforts to digitize records some years later, this department went back and digitized all of its old ticket books. They then found that they didn’t have payment for this violation, so they issued the warrant. My friend ended up having to pay the ticket and penalties. I wonder how many of these exist?

          • Jeff

            The warrant system should be a database that any citizen can easily access…

          • Lord Fredric

            Jeff, I totally agree.

          • Jeff

            Just doing some basic math assuming we have about 320 million people in the USA, and I’ll assume the 7.8 million warrants is correct the percentage of the population with an arrest warrant out on them is around 2%.

          • Lord Fredric

            Now divide that into the number of counties on the east coast alone. I wonder, how many warrants per municipality would their actually be..

          • Lord Fredric

            Ahsim, I second that notion.

          • theoacme

            Nothing, which is why I can no longer trust any law enforcement officer, attorney, or politician that has not unequivocally condemned this decision.

          • Steve Walsh

            only a cop that cares about the 4th, who will respect what it actually means insead of what conservative judges want it to mean.

            there are cops who will refuse to violate laws even when judges allow them to.

          • Lord Fredric

            Really ? I’d like to hear that ratio, with all due respect that seems to be a rather farfetched assessment.

        • Steve Walsh

          except that the ORIGINAL detainment was illegal-thats the problem. the 4th does not, nor ever has given a shit about what happens after an illegal search or seizure. the guy was detained (ie seized) illegally. it doesnt matter if he had a nuclear weapon on him, it shouldve been inadmissible.

          the courts logic on how the seizure was illegal, yet the evidence that could have only been procured from that illegal seizure was somehow still admissible is patently ridiculous

          • Jeff

            So here’s the question, when the cop finds the warrant does he have to power to arrest the suspect? Or does the cop have to let the person go because his original stop was unconstitutional?

          • Steve Walsh

            well obviously he wouldnt let him go, because most cops arent going to ponder the constitutionality of their actions while in the field for the most part. however, the arrest shouldve be stricken from strieff’s record because it was the result of an illegal detainment. the cop went fishing and got lucky to find drugs, and got even luckier that scotus was absent the day they taught the 4th in law school.

          • Jeff

            The arrest warrant was still valid though…not sure why the arrest wouldn’t be valid for that specific reason.

          • Lord Fredric

            Or did Frackell know about the warrant before the stop. After all, he ran the suspects name before he saw his face upon receiving the anonymous tip.

        • Lord Fredric

          Jeff, is Frackell a beat cop operating on a detectives salary also? If not, perhaps he was trolling a soft target on the basis of otherwise prejudice suspicion.

  • Mitch Berg

    While I’m inclined to view this as giving the police a lot more leeway than they should have, there’s a rational dissenting view:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/sotomayors-ferguson-essay-1466550429

    The sturm und drang over this decision is kind of “too little too late”; the Fourth Amendment is as near-death today as the Second was 30-40 years ago. It took a nearly unprecedented grass-roots movement to bring back the 2nd; it’ll take at least as much to revive the intent of the 4th.

  • User

    Look, I say that we just defy this. Just ignore what these people tell us.
    “I’m a police officer. You have an outstanding warrant. Let me search your house for drugs.”

    “No.”

    “I don’t need a warrant. Let me do it.”

    “You need a warrant. The court lied.”.

  • User

    If we get enough people to do this, the case we just had will be meaningless.

  • Hilary Power

    I’m in the UK where, of course, we don’t have a written constitution. I was a police officer for nearly 30 years. This is my personal view: If the search was illegal under US law, then anything found should be inadmissable as evidence. However, if this had happened in the UK, the fact that the guy had left a house where there was good reason to suspect drug dealing would be sufficient grounds for the officer to searhc him.
    Bottom line: laws are made, and laws have to be interpreted. If your Supreme Court has made this decision and interpretation of your constitution, I don’t see how you can argue with it. And to me (as a UK citizen operating under UK law) it makes sense.

    • John Kerbaugh

      Love your input, I think in general that is the interpritation. The cop was conducting an investigation and overstepped without just cause, by “mistake”. I call bull, cops have no right to declare ignorance, if citizens can’t.

      As for why we argue, the laws are owned by the people. If enough people agree this is wrong, something can be done about it. It is the responsibility of good people to stand up for what is right.

    • Lord Fredric

      your obviously not an Afrikaan living in the UK. If you were, you wouldn’t be so insensitive to the divisiveness of the U.S, supreme court ruling and its relentless injustice on American Afrikaans. Nonetheless, what else shall one expect from an ex cop?

  • jon
  • boneheadaudio

    What’s the big deal? The Constitution was waived the minute bush2 signed the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.

    • Lord Fredric

      Good call.

  • Steve Walsh

    heres how we all know scotus got it wrong: had the cop decided to go up to the house, and detain the occupants based on his on unjustified(legally) suspicion, found a warrant on one of them, and then proceeded to search the house, NOTHING wouldve been admissible in court, regardless of what it was….drugs, guns, jimmy hoffa, whatever.

    • Some guy

      For now.

  • Micheal Baylham

    Its interesting that corporate media hasn’t devoted any attention to such an important issue.

    • Define “any” and define “corporate media.” Because the decision on Monday got quite a bit of attention.

      • Micheal Baylham

        Bob, good point. I concede, (ref. “any) emotions, possibly could have gotten in the way. However, in reference to; “corporate media”. News, (emphasis on size and public access). The same corporations that own, or have interests in media, have interests outside America. Thus, making civil unrest undesirable.

  • Micheal Baylham

    This is best indication of government’s double-down approach to control the masses. They are knowingly aware, abandonment of America by banking and corporations has depleted government coffers of taxes and sustainable employment. Subsequently maybe not today, but eventually, the public will protest. Thus the government must conceive of way to retain control.
    This is merely another method.

    • Lord Fredric

      Extremely well said my friend.