Supreme Court OKs DNA swab in serious arrests

Rep. Justin Amash

Thanks to Justices Scalia, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan for dissenting from the Court’s opinion and upholding the Fourth Amendment and our Constitution.

Scalia: “I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.”

Here are some more excerpts from Justice Scalia’s dissent:

“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.”

“Solving unsolved crimes is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than the protection of our people from suspicionless law-enforcement searches. The Fourth Amendment must prevail.”

“Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.”

“The only arrestees to whom the outcome here will ever make a difference are those who *have been acquitted* of the crime of arrest (so that their DNA could not have been taken upon conviction). In other words, this Act manages to burden uniquely the sole group for whom the Fourth Amendment’s protections ought to be most jealously guarded: people who are innocent of the State’s accusations.”

“Today’s judgment will, to be sure, have the beneficial effect of solving more crimes; then again, so would the taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane (surely the Transportation Security Administration needs to know the ‘identity’ of the flying public), applies for a driver’s license, or attends a public school.”


RelatedSupreme Court OKs DNA swab in serious arrests

A narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can collect DNA from people arrested but not yet convicted of serious crimes, a tool that more than half the states already use to crack unsolved crimes.

Supreme Court Allows Police to Collect DNA Samples from Arrestees at

In a 5-4 decision handed down today in the case of Maryland v. King, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 4th Amendment does not prevent law enforcement officials from obtaining and testing DNA samples from individuals arrested for serious crimes. According to the majority opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito, the use of a Q-tip to swab the inside cheek of an arrested suspect “is ‘no more than an extension of methods of identification long used in dealing with persons under arrest,’” such as fingerprinting, and therefore constitutionally permissible. “In the balance of reasonableness required by the Fourth Amendment,” Kennedy’s opinion continues, “the Court must give great weight both to the significant government interest at stake in the identification of arrestees and to the unmatched potential of DNA identification to serve that interest.”…



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