Deadline Extended

Know a young conservative who should be on Red Alert's 2015 '30 Under 30' List? Nominate them by May 29.

Supreme Court to rule on warrantless blood tests

police DUI test
In early January, the
Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that involved a disputed blood test stemming from a DUI in Missouri.  As the Washington Times reported, “Police stopped a speeding, swerving car and the driver, who had two previous drunken-driving convictions, refused to submit to a breath test to measure the alcohol level in his body.”  Law enforcement officers subsequently withdrew blood from the individual without first getting a warrant.

Although the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on gay marriage is taking center stage at the national level, this blood test case has profound legal ramifications for both civil liberties advocates and law enforcement officials alike.

Law enforcement officers argue that alcohol levels are evanescent, and waiting on a warrant can jeopardize properly attaining the blood alcohol level of an individual stopped on suspicion of a DUI. In this particular case, this is the crux of the government’s position; the prosecuting attorney from Missouri states, “Securing blood alcohol evidence with as little delay as possible is incredibly important.”

However, such a hard-line rule, which the Justices appeared to be at odds with, raises logistical issues with state laws, which differ across the country in conjunction with the time it takes for law enforcement to attain a warrant.  In addition, 25 states actually prohibit warrantless blood tests, and evidence shows that warrant restrictions have no effect on conviction rates in those states.

Warrantless searches, of any kind and particularly those that involve bodily intrusion, raise two major constitutional concerns that have civil liberties advocates up in arms:  First, are Americans really prepared to further water down the already trampled on Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful “searches and seizures” clause?  Bodily intrusion by a government official stands at odds with the test of “reasonableness” that a law enforcement officer must meet before conducting a warrantless search. As Judge Napolitano points out, “For years, courts took the position that you can’t enter someone’s body without a search warrant.”

The Constitution is a blueprint for what the government may do.  The Bill of Rights, on the other hand, spells out what the government may not do.  Although the word “privacy” is not explicitly used in the Bill of Rights, it’s implied as the Tenth Amendment Center points out: “There is a right to privacy. Why? Because the government isn’t specifically given the power to violate your privacy.”

A 1952 Supreme Court opinion summarized a warrantless bodily intrusion by a government official as “conduct that shocks the conscience.” This protection, which has long withstood scrutiny in the courts, is now at stake if the Roberts Court rules in favor of the government. 

Drunk driving is a serious problem in America, and thousands of individuals tragically lose their lives every year because of the criminal irresponsibility of others. But the Bill of Rights must be upheld if our posterity wishes to resist the tyranny of an overreaching federal (and state) government that borders on a modern day police state.  We aren’t there yet, but a Supreme Court finding that law enforcement officers have the legal authority to withdrawal bodily fluids without first going through the legal process of attaining a warrant may be the final nail in the coffin that pushes us beyond the point of return.

Comments

Polititainment

Anti-Stephanopoulos artwork invades NYC

Posters depicting ABC News anchor George Stephanopolous and a smiling Hillary Clinton with the words "PayPal" and "Donate" written on them have been popping up close to the studio where ABC shoots Good Morning America.

Rubio gets first celeb endorsement

The Florida senator and official GOP candidate for president has just received a big celebrity endorsement from Rick Harrison of the popular show "Pawn Stars," according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun.

Snoop Dogg endorses Hillary Clinton

Snoop Dogg became the latest rapper to endorse the Democratic presidential candidate during his appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" over the weekend.

John Oliver shocked by House NSA reform

John Oliver was shocked to hear that the House recently passed NSA reform.

Introducing the 2016 SNL primary

The weekend comedy show has been skewering candidates for president left and right -- some more than others -- so much so that we thought it a good idea to track the program's focus on specific candidates.

Video

t u

2016

Are LinkedIn users ready for Hillary?

The presidential hopeful announced her arrival to the professional social networking site on Thursday with a post listing “Four Ways to Jump-Start Small Business.”

Clinton Foundation got $26M in undisclosed payments

The Clinton Foundation on Thursday made public that it received up to $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from corporations, universities, and even foreign sources, according to the Washington Post.

Clinton got now-classified Benghazi info on email

WASHINGTON (AP) Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that has now been classified.

Clinton hires illegal immigrant to campaign staff

According to the New York Times, the Clinton campaign announced Wednesday that it has hired Lorella Praeli, an illegal immigrant and "Dreamer" activist, to spearhead Hispanic outreach for Hillary ahead of 2016.

AP reporter: Hillary only talking to supporters

According to Associated Press reporter Julie Pace, the small events that have made up the bulk of Hillary's presidential campaign thus far have involved the Democratic candidate only interacting with Americans who support her and not a more representative fraction of the actual U.S. population.

Policy

Professor: Americans can't handle owning guns

In an op-ed for The Dallas Morning News, Prof. John Traphagan, who teaches religious studies and anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, demands that Americans give up gun ownership after several tragic, high-profile shootings that have taken place recently.

Obama: Climate change is a security 'threat'

Obama spoke of global warming's looming threat during his commencement address to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, Wednesday.

Poll: Most Americans highly value privacy

For all the talk about “privacy,” the word “privacy” can sometimes be a nebulous concept, about which people hold contradictory views.

Poll: Dems support federal ban on hate speech
It seems that a lot of Americans don’t think that freedom of speech should be protected anymore. A poll released Wednesday by YouGov has found that a small majority of the American public support limiting the First Amendment if it means banning hate speech. The poll, conducted in early May, asked respondents whether they would support […]
Rand Paul filibuster highlights

In the end, Rand Paul’s Patriot Act filibuster failed to crack his previous record, clocking in at roughly 10.5 hours.