In Maryland v. King, by a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court held that police can forcibly take DNA samples without a search warrant from individuals arrested for a serious crime.
In a fiery dissent, Justice Scalia wrote, “Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.”
The Fourth Amendment forbids searching a person for evidence of a crime when there is no basis for believing the person is guilty of the crime or is in possession of incriminating evidence,” Scalia wrote. “That prohibition is categorical and without exception; it lies at the very heart of the Fourth Amendment.
"Innocent until proven guilty" must just be something we tell schoolchildren to make them think highly of our legal system.
In a press release Monday, Senator Cruz condemned the ruling saying,
Today’s unfortunate U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Maryland v. King, by a vote of 5-4, expands government power, invades our liberty, and undermines our constitutional rights.
All of us should be alarmed by this significant step towards government as Big Brother. The excessive concentration of power in government is always inimical to liberty, and a national database of our DNA cannot be reconciled with the Fourth Amendment.
As recent events involving the IRS have demonstrated, unchecked government power—and intrusive personal databases maintained on the citizenry—poses real risks to our liberty.
In a floor speech today, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) expressed his strong opposition to the ruling, and voiced his continued support for individual liberties and upholding the Fourth Amendment.
Today’s judgment will, to be sure, have the beneficial effect of solving more crimes; then again, so would the taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane (surely the Transportation Security Administration needs to know the “identity” of the flying public), applies for a driver’s license, or attends a public school. Perhaps the construction of such a genetic panopticon is wise. But I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.
I therefore dissent, and hope that today’s incursion upon the Fourth Amendment, like an earlier one, will some day be repudiated.