Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mr. Roberts' Neighborhood

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has written his first dissenting opinion on the Supreme Court, which means both that he (with the Evil Twins Scalia and Thomas) was on the losing end of a 5-3 vote and that he's bitter about losing.

The case was Georgia v. Randolph, No. 04-1067, a disagreement over whether the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches was violated when the police in Americus, Ga., arriving at a house to investigate a domestic dispute, accepted the wife's invitation to look for evidence of her husband's cocaine use while the husband said "no way, man." Husband's a drug-abusing jerk, no doubt, but do you, even for a drug-abusing jerk, lift the presumption in the foundation of our law that a man's home is his castle?

Five justices on the court said no. Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas said, sure, the State, represented by the police, can come tromping in. "Our common social expectations may well be that the other person [wife, lover, etc.] will not, in turn, share what we have shared with them with another -- including the police," Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "but that is the risk we take in sharing."

The friggin' risk we take in sharing?

The learned justice is an ass.

Justice David Souter, who wrote the majority opinion and is described by the NYTimes as "usually mild-mannered to a fault," wrote that "in [Roberts'] view, the centuries of special protection for the privacy of the home are over." By invoking a "false equation" between inviting the police into the home and reporting a secret, Souter said, the chief justice "suggests a deliberate intent to devalue the importance of the privacy of a dwelling place."

For people who spout endlessly about freedom (I'm talking about all you conservative Republicans out there), you've got as your champion on the Supreme Court a nice little justice named Roberts, leading a cabal of like-minded guys, who want to get rid of individual privacy so Big Brother can pry at will, one would assume as the first step toward commandeering the wombs of all the fertile women.

Incidentally, Alito didn't vote, or it would have been 5-4.

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