Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yet somehow, the police never forget the battering ram.

Remember the Constitution? It was cool.

The Constitution does not require the government to forfeit evidence gathered through illegal "no knock" searches, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, in a far-reaching ruling that could encourage police with search warrants to conduct more aggressive raids.

The 5 to 4 decision broke with the court's modern tradition of enforcing constitutional limitations on police investigations by keeping improperly obtained evidence out of court. The "exclusionary rule" has been imposed to protect a series of rights, such as the right to remain silent in police custody and the right against warrantless searches.

But the broadly worded majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., suggested that the nation has moved into a new era of improved policing in which such strong medicine may no longer be justified.

To review: the executive does whatever the hell it wants. The Congress does nothing to stop it. And now, the Supreme Court is similarly compliant. How far is the country from a dictatorship, now?