We've been covering for a while now the rather mixed results from courts concerning the legality of police sticking a GPS transmitter on a car without a warrant in order to track a suspect. While some state
courts have said such tracking is illegal
, most federal
courts have gone the other direction
, saying that it's fine. Last summer, we noted that the DC Circuit court made a somewhat surprising ruling, saying that when the GPS tracking was "long-term," it suddenly switched from being legal to illegal
. This odd standard (how long the tracking goes on for) seemed somewhat arbitrary. But, more importantly, the fact that different federal circuits disagreed with the legality of such things set up what we felt was an inevitable Supreme Court case.
And now it's here. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the appeal on that DC circuit case
, United States v. Jones. This means, of course, that the issue will be settled once and for all, assuming the Court gives a clear ruling (something it doesn't always do). I do worry that it will merely cement what the other appeals courts have said, and basically diminish the Fourth Amendment even further. The feds have made it clear that they'd like to ignore the Fourth Amendment
in such cases, and it would be nice if the Court tells them they cannot do that.