The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled 9-0 that police in Rhode Island acted illegally when they seized a man’s guns from his home without a warrant. This was a rebuke not just to overzealous police officers and gun control advocates, but to the Biden Administration which had asked the court to uphold the lower court ruling in Caniglia v. Strom.
The case revolved around a man named Edward Caniglia. His wife believed, with some justification, that her husband might kill himself. The next day, she asked for officers to perform a wellness check on him. They did, Mr. Caniglia had calmed down and said he would “never” commit suicide. The officers still asked him to get a psychological evaluation. Despite the fact that he agreed and that the officers told him and his wife that they wouldn’t take his guns, they did so anyway with no warrant, no threats, no imminent danger to anyone, and no ruling from a court. The officers simply decided that they didn’t think he should have guns, so they confiscated the weapons.
The Biden Administration agreed with this. Their rationale was that:
“A warrant should not … be presumptively required when a government official’s action is objectively grounded in a non-investigatory public interest, such as health or safety…The ultimate question in this case is therefore not whether the respondent officers’ actions fit within some narrow warrant exception, but instead whether those actions were reasonable. And under all of the circumstances here, they were.”
As I said when I wrote about this issue back in March:
If this troubling argument were accepted, it would essentially obliterate the 4th Amendment because the exceptions they are asking for are anything but “narrow.” The number of issues that many people in 2021 consider to be related to “health” and “safety” are practically infinite.
Happily, not only did the Supreme Court reject the Biden Administration’s argument, even the liberal justices thought it had no merit. As Clarence Thomas noted in his opinion for the court:
The Fourth Amendment protects “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The “‘very core’” of this guarantee is “‘the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.’”
In this case, freedom and the Constitution won while the Biden Administration along with all their gun-grabbing allies lost.
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