Liberal Supreme Court Justice Comes To The Defence Of Scalia

Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made some surprisingly positive comments about fellow Justice Antonin Scalia during a recent Wall Street Journal interview.

When asked about polarization between justices, Ginsburg said that liberals who criticise the conservative Scalia forget that he “is one of the most pro-Fourth Amendment judges on the court.” The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Here is an excerpt from that interview:

WSJ: How deeply polarised is the court?

GINSBURG: [Justice Antonin] Scalia is often criticised by people who would not be labelled conservative. Liberals don’t count his Fourth Amendment cases or the confrontation clause cases. He is one of the most pro-Fourth Amendment judges on the court.

WSJ: Not more pro-Fourth Amendment than you.

GINSBURG: No. But we’ve been together in all the confrontation cases and many of the Fourth Amendment cases. For example, that wonderful, wonderful one with the GPS, and the dog sniff cases.

The “GPS case” was United States v. Jones, in which both justices sided with the court’s 2012 ruling that police violated the Fourth Amendment when they attached a GPS device to track a vehicle. In the Florida v. Jardines case, Ginsburg and Scalia both sided with the court’s 2013 ruling that police officers’ use of a drug-sniffing dog at a person’s front porch constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment.

In both of those cases, it was Scalia who delivered the Supreme Court’s opinion.

There are other recent examples where Scalia has demonstrated pro-Fourth Amendment opinions, as the Los Angeles Times has reported. That includes Scalia’s opposition to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion that permits police to use anonymous tips to stop cars on highways. And in 2013, he fiercely dissented to the Court’s ruling that police can routinely swab for DNA from arrested people.

Recently, the Supreme Court has considered whether police can search the digital contents of mobile phones without warrants. In reporting on this case, a number of news outlets noted that Scalia has become a champion of the Fourth Amendment.

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