As The New American reported Saturday, the Supreme Court has announced plans to publish rulings in several key constitutional cases. Every Monday in June, the schedule reports, will see the release of one or more decisions.
One of the cases of concern to civil libertarians and constitutionalists involves the Obama administration claiming the authority to search and seize cellphone records without a warrant, despite the protections against such government intrusion provided by the Fourth Amendment.
The Washington Post published the following summary of the case of U.S. v. Wurie:
In 2007, the police arrested a Massachusetts man who appeared to be selling crack cocaine from his car. The cops seized his cellphone and noticed that it was receiving calls from “My House.” They opened the phone to determine the number for “My House.” That led them to the man’s home, where the police found drugs, cash and guns.
The defendant was convicted, but on appeal he argued that accessing the information on his cellphone without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Earlier this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals accepted the man’s argument, ruling that the police should have gotten a warrant before accessing any information on the man’s phone.
The Appeals Court ruling doesn’t sit well with a president who considers the Constitution irrelevant and who is accustomed to the court’s collusion in the federal government’s continuing effort to revoke all civil liberties.
Of specific interest in the Wurie case is the government’s claim that a cellphone is no different from any other items a suspect might be carrying that are subject to search by law enforcement, “including notebooks, calendars, and pagers,” the Post points out.
One of these things is not like the others, however. Today, a cellphone is as much a personal computer as a telephone and most people carry things inside their smartphones that have not been placed within the scope of acceptable searches: “our e-mails, text messages, photographs, browser histories and more,” the Post explains.
Should the Obama administration receive a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court, one that holds that police do not need a specific — constitutionally qualifying — warrant to search a suspect’s cellphone, the threat to the Fourth Amendment and individual liberty is incalculable.
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