I have obviously been thinking a lot about the recent Indiana Supreme Court Decisions, and they bother me a great deal to say the least. I think this guy has the right idea, but is probably overstating the more thoughtful position.
I definitely abhor the recent shots at liberty over the past couple of weeks (by three (3) of the (5) “elected” Indiana Supreme Court justices) but I would stop short of saying that police are now going to use the precedents to be dramatically more ravenous than before. First, I’m not sure that the average Hoosier is even aware or understands the Court’s action. Second, I’m not sure that the police officers do, either. What practical effect these decisions may have is irrelevant, however, when the principle goes too far to erode the Fourth Amendment (as well as Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 11).
Politically, these decisions draw an interesting line. Namely, a line between those who call themselves “conservatives”. Indiana is a highly “conservative” state, whatever that means. Within that vague, broad umbrella, however, are those who are pro-law enforcement and crime-tough, and those who are jealous protectors of the rights our Forefathers fought and bled for . There is no question whether these are mutually exclusive positions in my mind; it is impossible to both jealously protect rights and prevent every possible foreseeable harm to the public. The two are directly in tension with one another.
Labels aren’t really all that important to me, but for the sake of convenience I would call the former category “neo conservatives” and the latter category “constitutionalists”. I would say that a majority of “conservatives” in this State are apparently in the “neo” camp. If not, at least a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court justices are…
The “Tea Party Movement”, on the other hand, is highly opposed to tyranny by the government, whether that means using the laws (and judicial precedent) to rule the lives of individual citizens by eroding their libert(ies), or through excessive taxation. This is one issue that I strongly agree with the Tea Party. No matter the practical effect of the issue, we cannot take steps–albeit even baby steps–away from the unadulterated, inalienable rights our Fathers endured great hardship to establish. To take such steps, no matter how gradual, creates a slippery slope that undermines the very reason our Fathers came here in the first place–individual liberties. John Stuart Mill wrote volumes on what liberty means, and how the state is best to determine where one’s liberty ends and another’s begins. Admittedly, this is a very delicate balance; but the public’s interest in potentially preventing some harm (presumably, but not demonstrably, by excessive, unwarranted searches) is far outweighed by the sanctity and sacredness of one’s castle.
Police officers SHOULD have to think twice before entering someone’s dwelling, even if that second thought is the officer’s own safety and well being. The act of searching a citizen’s dwelling is an undertaking our Fathers scrutinized heavily against–in fact, to the point they would have preferred death. Whether the officer’s safety is in jeopardy begs the question of whether he should enter the dwelling in the first place. No warrant, no dire emergency, no consent = no search.