In a statement issued by its National Board, the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) condemned a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court Monday which allows police to collect an individual’s DNA without probable cause.
According to RLC National Chairman Matt Nye, the 5-4 decision in Maryland vs King circumvents the Fourth Amendment, and is another in a long list of assaults on individual privacy.
“This opinion should send a chill down the spine of any American who values privacy,” said RLC Chair Matt Nye. “It flies in the face of our founding principles and the idea we’re all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
The RLC praised Justice Antonin Scalia for articulating the liberty aspects in the dissent he authored.
“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,” Scalia writes. “Perhaps the construction of such a genetic panopticon is wise. But 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.”
Elsewhere in the dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia articulated one of the key liberty arguments in writing, “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.”
Scalia warned, “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.”
Nye said this Supreme Court decisions is just the latest in a long string of federal actions which gives this government unprecedented powers over its citizens, and called on Congress to develop legislation that will restore the Constitutional protections on privacy and personal liberty.
“It is not paranoia or conspiracy theory to be seriously alarmed at the steady erosion of our privacy and liberty,” Nye Said. “The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains a provision which grants the President power to issue executive order for the military to detain indefinitely civilians without probable cause. The Internal Revenue Service has admitted to prying into the associations and activities of citizen organizations which speak out against government abuse. The White House has seized the phone and e-mail records of news reporters who were trying to keep the public informed of government activities. Now we have the Supreme Court giving police power to collect the most personal private data without probable cause. Americans who value liberty should be very, very concerned.”