This can't be good for the Fourth Amendment ...
A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can take DNA from certain arrested citizens – absent a warrant, and before a conviction is rendered.
It’s like taking a fingerprint, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, The Associated Press reported.
“Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the [arrested party's] DNA is – like fingerprinting and photographing – a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” Justice Kennedy wrote, AP reported. Joining Justice Kennedy were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer.
The four dissenting justices – Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – said the ruling gave police a huge expansion of power.
“Make no mistake about it – because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason,” wrote Justice Scalia, the AP reported. “This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA when you fly on an airplane … so would taking your children’s DNA when they start public school.”
The federal government and 28 states already collect DNA from those who are arrested. A Maryland court questioned the legality of that allowance, however – bringing the matter ultimately to the door of the Supreme Court.