Justice Sotomayor Slams Supreme Court Decision, Cites Racial Profiling and Mass Incarceration

June 22, 2016

The Supreme Court delivered a 5-3 ruling in the case of Utah vs. Streiff, which is a Fourth Amendment case that determines the legality of police searches. This ruling means that police officers can stop a person illegally, run their ID for a warrant, and if there’s a warrant, the person stopped can be arrested (Washington Post). The ruling also concludes that a person’s properties are not protected by the Fourth Amendment even though the initial police search was illegal.

“..this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

-Justice Sotomayor

This means that places  like Ferguson, Missouri — a city in which 16,000 of the 21,000 residents have outstanding warrants against them — are now unprotected from the Fourth Amendment (Slate). Police officers will now how the power to stop anyone in Ferguson and the police will have a 76% chance that the person they are stopping has a warrant.

This is 2016, and this ridiculous ruling is setting us back as a country (The Atlantic). So it’s important for us to continue to push for criminal justice and police reform.