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A Sharply Divided U.S. Supreme Court Gives Police the Power to Collect D.N.A.

Posted by Scott Rohter on Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Justice Scalia with Chief Justice Roberts

The man who should be Chief Justice and the man who is the Chief Justice


A Sharply Divided U.S. Supreme Court Gives Police the Power to Collect D.N.A. Samples

By Scott Rohter, June 2013


“A great Nation and little minds go ill together.” – Edmund Burke


In a close five to four decision which made for very strange bed fellows in Washington this week, the United States Supreme Court struck down the spirit and intent of the Fourth Amendment, and gave to police the power to collect D.N.A. samples from anyone who is accused of committing a crime. Thus, five mere mortals in black robes handed over to police departments all across America the un-constitutional power to compel anyone charged with, but not convicted of committing a crime to involuntarily surrender a sample of their D.N.A. This will then be stored in a Federal database and compared with other known samples of D.N.A. in order to help solve crimes.

May the Fourth Amendment rest in peace. Today the Right of the People to be secure in their Persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant no longer has any real meaning if police departments all across America can legally compel anyone to turn over a sample of their D.N.A. before they have even been convicted of a crime.

Your D.N.A. is more than just a mere fingerprint of you as a perplexing majority of these aging Supreme Court Justices failed to discern today. A finger print is only a print of the lines in your fingertip that distinguishes you from every other human being who has ever lived. It is just an ink facsimile of those unique lines on the tip of your finger that make you one of a kind. But your D.N.A. really is you! How did the aging members of our Supreme Court get this decision so wrong?

I would have expected that all of our so called conservative Justices on the Court would have understood the significance of handing over to police departments such broad and un-warranted power, and withstood this encroachment on our 4th Amendment. To order anyone who is merely charged with committing a crime to hand over a sample of their D.N.A. is way too much power for any police department to have.

Sadly enough this was not the case though, as only one conservative Justice, Antonin Scalia got this decision right and found himself in unlikely agreement with all three progressive women jurists on the Bench… Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor who did actually understand the far reaching implications of their decision. These four members of the Supreme Court actually got the decision  right when they determined that no law enforcement agency should have the power to compel anyone merely charged with committing a crime to involuntarily surrender a sample of their D.N.A. to police.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony KennedyOn the other side of this issue was Justice Anthony Kennedy who said that taking a sample of your D.N.A. is no different than taking your fingerprint.  Agreeing with him and forming the basis of the majority opinion was I am sorry to say Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Chief Justice John Roberts.

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