The Biden administration is pressuring the Supreme Court to restrict the Fourth Amendment. By limiting citizens protection from “unreasonable search and seizure,” the administration hopes to remove the roadblock which would stop them from confiscating firearms without a warrant.
This news comes out at the same time that Biden has been confirmed as planning to use executive action to enact new gun control measures.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Caniglia v. Strom, which will look into the issue of whether the “community caretaking” exception of the Fourth Amendment extends to private residences.
The case started in 2015 when police used deceptive methods to confiscate firearms from the Caniglia’s, a Rhode Island couple who had a heated argument. Neither person was accused of a crime, or even considered to be an imminent threat. Police claimed that they seized the firearms using the “community caretaking” exception of the Fourth Amendment.
The exception described was established in 1973, it was meant to be used for dealing with impounded cars on the highway. Police needed to be able to remove inoperable vehicles from public roads, so the court gave a special exception to vehicles, and made it exceptionally clear that homes were not included in the “community caretaking” exception.
But Biden’s lawyers are seeking to uphold the actions of the Rhode Island police, claiming that they should be able to seize firearms from private homes if they deem it a matter of “public interest, such as health or safety.”
Multiple legal institutions have warned that this ruling could threaten constitutional protections. They say that if “the ‘community caretaking’ exception” were expanded, it would allow police to ignore Fourth Amendment protections “in a startling array of circumstances.”
Proponents of the Constitution are pleading with the Supreme Court to maintain the “community caretaking” exception as a special case for inoperable vehicles, rather than allow it to dismantle the Fourth Amendment entirely.
Author: Ken Diamond