Theoretically the Supreme Court is the third part of the checks and balances in our Representative Republic. They are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and make decisions according to that Constitution. Unfortunately there are Americans who either do not understand the Constitution or choose to ignore it. Right now the Supreme Court is balanced four to four in terms of conservative and liberal interpretations of the law. The next President will have the responsibility of choosing the Justice that will decide cases involving gun rights, voting rights, medical care, religious freedom, and other important issues. A recent case illustrates how important the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice will be.
The Wall Street Journal posted an opinion piece on Tuesday about a recent Supreme Court decision. The case illustrates the problems police face when trying to keep us safe when dealing with the drug problem in America.
The piece reports:
The Supreme Court term is ending on a whimper of narrow decisions without Justice Antonin Scalia. But you wouldn’t know it from the overwrought progressive outrage after a 5-3 majority issued a common-sense ruling Monday concerning the so-called exclusionary rule for admitting evidence in criminal cases.
In Utah v. Strieff, police stopped Edward Strieff on his way out of a building after a tip that it was a drug-dealing location. After discovering an outstanding arrest warrant against Mr. Strieff, a police officer searched him and found methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia. Mr. Strieff claims the police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop him under the Fourth Amendment, so the evidence of his law-breaking should be dismissed.
The majority opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas and stated that the discovery of the outstanding arrest warrant required the police to arrest and thus search Mr. Strieff.
There was, however, a different opinion.
The article reports;
The outlier was Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who went off the deep end with an extended polemic about police misconduct, events in Ferguson, Mo., and race in America. “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,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. And although Mr. Strieff is white, “it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny.”
The Justice is getting huzzahs on the left, but her opinion is troubling for her insistence on dragging racial politics into a case that had nothing to do with race. This dissent continues her habit of wandering far from the law or precedent to decide cases based on her personal political and policy views. Her colleagues showed more judicial wisdom.
There are a few things to note here. Mr. Strieff was leaving a place where it was suspected drugs were being sold. Didn’t the police have a responsibility to investigate a tip about a location where drugs were being sold? Shouldn’t that investigation include stopping people leaving that location? If there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr. Strieff, didn’t the police have an obligation to arrest him? It is very possible that I am naive, but I believe that Mr. Strieff would have been treated the same way regardless of what color he is. Everything is not about race, and in the majority of cases, police are merely attempting to keep our communities safe and free from illegal drugs and the crime that goes with the drug trade. Bringing race into a situation where it is not relevant only divides Americans–it does not help us solve our problems.