Sotomayor’s blistering SCOTUS dissent warns America is turning into a prison state







Sotomayor’s blistering SCOTUS dissent warns America is turning into a prison state

TRAVIS GETTYS
20 JUN 2016 AT 14:18 ET                   
 

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
DON'T MISS STORIES. FOLLOW RAW STORY!
 
 
 

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor strongly disagreed with the majority as she passionately denounced a ruling on unreasonable search and seizures.

A 5-3 majority ruled that prosecutors may present evidence unlawfully collected by police officers to reverse a Utah Supreme Court decision, and Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion, argued that “the costs of exclusion outweighs its deterrent benefits.”

Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan each wrote a dissent, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined portions of each.

In her dissent to the ruling in Utah v. Strieff, which revolved on the matter of reasonable suspicion, Sotomayor cited James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folks and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me to describe what’s it’s like to live in constant fear of “suspicionless stops” as a person of color.

“Although many Americans have been stopped for speeding or jaywalking, few may realize how degrading a stop can be when the officer is looking for more,” wrote Sotomayor. “This Court has allowed an officer to stop you for whatever reason he wants — so long as he can point to a pretextual justification after the fact.”

Sotomayor said the court’s ruling had essentially classified all Americans as inmates in the prison-industrial complex.

“By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time,” Sotomayor wrote. “It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

She said the court had ignored mountains of evidence that police routinely harass some Americans with unreasonable searches — and she warned that legitimizing those stops undermined democracy.

“We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are ‘isolated,'” Sotomayor wrote. “They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere.”

To leave a comment, please sign in with
or or

Comments (8)

  1. GoldenPig2012

    Why shouldn’t they verify legal residence? Why shouldn’t they ask? You don’t have to answer. I’m NOT a fan of cops, trust me, but asking isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    June 28, 2017
  2. deaconjim

    If I’m walking down the street minding my own business, the cops have no right to stop me and ask me to provide “papers” to prove my identity, nationality, or anything else. If they stop me and ask, I will comply, but I would be within my rights to refuse.

    June 28, 2017
    1. tjtooter

      i was in a little scene a few weeks ago with a forest ranger where i was the passenger in a vehicle that had parked somewhere it shouldn’t have and refused to produce ID. he wasn’t at all happy with me, making all kinds of threats. his supervisor saw it my way. i was just the passenger and there was no just cause to need to identify me.

      June 28, 2017
  3. Munkyman

    They watched the house, they saw a reliable pattern of behavior after being given an anonymous tip that began the surveillance & they chose to stop someone leaving to confirm their suspicion. They called the person’s identity in & found an outstanding warrant, at that point they have the right to search the person they are taking into custody based on an outstanding warrant, they had just cause to intercept the defendant. If they had immediately searched his car I’d want that excluded, they would have no just reason to do that since he wasn’t in it. Once it’s towed though they then have the right to search it too.
    .
    I’m pretty hawkish on rights, but this doesn’t seem to be a difficult question to figure out. it’s not like the stop & frisk policies in NYC where you could be stopped for looking funny or no reason at all & then searched. That’s without cause, coming out of a rock house & acting like it… that’s cause.

    June 28, 2017
    1. tjtooter

      she probably could have picked a shittier case to let loose with this opinion. the deck is pretty well stacked against the defendant in this instance.

      June 29, 2017
      1. Munkyman

        He fucked himself, the deck wasn’t stacked. pardon my language, but that’s what he did.

        June 29, 2017
        1. tjtooter

          however you want to put it, sotomayer probably should have saved the opinion for a case that the defendant has a stronger unreasonable search and seizure argument.

          June 29, 2017
          1. Munkyman

            Absolutely, she now looks to be playing politics.

            June 29, 2017