Arizona v. US, 567 U.S. ___ (2012)
The Immigration law decision allows police to verify the status of an immigrant if there is "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the country illegally. Reasonable suspicion sounds rather self-explanatory-- it simply means a standard by which a person could "reasonably" suspect the individual may be involved in or have committed a crime.
Majority -- Roberts, Sotomayor, Breyer, Ginsberg, Kennedy
Dissented -- Scalia, Thomas, Alito
Kagan did not vote
Salinas v. Texas, Docket # 12-246
Holding: When petitioner had not yet been placed in custody or received Miranda warnings, and voluntarily responded to some questions by police about a murder, the prosecution’s use of his silence in response to another question as evidence of his guilty at trial did not violate the Fifth Amendment because petitioner failed to expressly invoke his privilege not to incriminate himself in response to the officer’s question.
Majority: Roberts, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Alito
Dissent: Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan.
United States v. Kebodeaux, Docket # 12-418
Justice Breyer wrote for the Court, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. The Court’s opinion turns on the fact that even after his release from custody, Kebodeaux was still subject to sex offender registration requirements under the federal Wetterling Act. Consequently, SORNA merely modified registration requirements that applied to him. Under Article I, Section 8, Clause 14 (the “Military Regulation” Clause), Congress has the power to “make Rules for the … Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” Applying the Necessary and Proper Clause to the Military Regulation Clause, the Court held that SORNA made reasonable changes to the existing statutory regime governing sex offender registration.
The Chief Justice concurred in the judgment, emphasizing that the Court’s holding is not based on any recognition of a “federal police power,” but is instead based on Congress’s power to make rules for the regulation of the Armed Forces. Justice Alito wrote a similar concurrence. Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas each wrote separate dissents. Justice Scalia would have found that SORNA was not designed to carry the Wetterling Act into execution, and questioned whether the Wetterling Act’s registration requirement was itself a valid exercise of federal power. Justice Thomas would have held that SORNA “usurps the general police power vested in the States” and is therefore unconstitutional as-applied to Kebodeaux.
Majority: Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan.
Dissent: Scalia, Alito
Taken together, these cases show a scary pattern of SCOTUS shifting the power to our military-style police force. We are effectively undoing the constitutional advancements of the Civil Rights Era. We could call this the "Police Rights Era." The burden has shifted on the People to know your rights. That's easy. Under the current court scheme, you don't have rights!
That song by the Clash is fitting.