Another cog in the wheel known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to combat the Extreme Left-Wing Media.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

How inviolate is the "Right to Privacy?"

Our assumption as Americans to a Right to Privacy is derived from the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which reads as follows:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
My reason for examining anew the Fourth Amendment is a contentious Supreme Court ruling. The case seems clear to a layman. Police responding to a domestic disturbance find a beaten wife. The wife invites the police in over the objections of her scumbag husband and lead the police to the husbands cocaine. By a 5 to 3 vote the Supreme Court ruled that it was an illegal search. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice David Souter said the search was unreasonable, given the vocal objection of the husband, Scott Randolph. True, Justice Souter said, the court had long permitted one party to give consent to a search of shared premises under what is known as the "co-occupant consent rule." But he said that rule should be limited to the context in which it was first applied, the absence of the person who later objected. "We have, after all, lived our whole national history with an understanding of the ancient adage that a man's home is his castle," Justice Souter said. "Disputed permission is thus no match for this central value of the Fourth Amendment."

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the dissent arguing that the majority missed the point, the fact is that someone choosing to share space has also, already, chosen to share privacy. "Our common social expectations may well be that the other person will not, in turn, share what we have shared with them with another — including the police," he said, "but that is the risk we take in sharing."

I can see both sides. As a homeowner, I believe my home is my castle. However, as a husband, I know otherwise. Oddly enough the sole unmarried justice wrote the argument which only recognized the home is a castle consideration. Even stranger is the fact that Justice Souter voted against homeowner rights in the Kelo case.


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