Just As I Thought

Papers, please

A terrifying notice of a shocking ruling by the Supreme Court, via boingboing:

You are now required to show ID to police for no reason at all

Remember our March entry about the Nevada Cowboy who was arrested for not showing his ID to the cops? He took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. He lost, in a 5-4 decision.

“Joining Kennedy’s opinion were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.”

By bizarre coincidence, the same five justices who ruled against our right to privacy are the same five who appointed popular and electoral loser Bush to be president.


[Update: BoingBoing has now revised the story:

Alan sez: Regarding today’s Supreme Court decision–The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer and the article you linked to did _not_ say that one must produce identification when ordered to do so, but that one must identify oneself. The Nevada rancher in question was arrested because he refused (eleven times, according to the NewsHour report) to give his name when a cop asked him.

Okay, so the rancher was stubborn. I still don’t understand how it is that I must identify myself for any policeman who asks. I have a right to remain silent, don’t I? From the Post:

…the author of the majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, made it clear that he regarded the disclosure of one’s name, the only piece of information the Nevada law specifically requires, as a modest intrusion on privacy.

And whatever privacy interest or concern about self-incrimination Hiibel might have had was outweighed by the state’s interests in protecting police officers and investigating crime, Kennedy wrote.

“As best we can tell, [Hiibel] refused to identify himself only because he thought his name was none of the officer’s business,” Kennedy wrote. “Even today, [Hiibel] does not explain how the disclosure of his name could have been used against him in a criminal case.”
To me, there is a simple principal at work here that Kennedy seems to have forgotten: innocent until proven guilty. For a Supreme Court Justice to say that the victim should explain how the disclosure of his name could have been used against him is ridiculous! The arresting officer should explain why he needed it. The burden is on the police, not the arrestee.

Basically, this ruling opens the door to arrests without probable cause.]

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