In a ruling that should chill the heart of every American who values his Fourth Amendment rights, Obama-appointed DC District Court Judge Amit Mehta has refused to quash a House Oversight Committee subpoena for President Trump’s business records from before he was President.
What Fourth Amendment rights? Now they’re concerned about Fourth Amendment rights?
Remember Richard Nixon’s SCOTUS appointments for “law and order”? Conservatives have dominated SCOTUS since 1971. Nearly 50 years. Moreover, this was settled at least 43 years ago, right after Watergate. Did the Conservative press rail against Miller v. United States in 1976 when a conservative Supreme Court, through Justice Powell with only Justice Marshall dissenting,* held that there was no Fourth Amendment impediment to the government getting bank records? No. They thought it was important that wrongdoers be made to account in court.
And remember Carpenter v. United States (2018)? This President’s Justice Department argued at 15-18 of its brief that the third-party doctrine controlled and there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in that which was voluntarily conveyed to others, there the cell phone provider. Now some, besides those of us interested in privacy protection and the Fourth Amendment, want there to be reasonable expectation of privacy in all third party records?
Too little, way too late. Where were you when we needed you? Only now there should be a reasonable expectation of privacy? Where were you guys back in the 1970s when the law was being made? It’s only an activist judge when you don’t like the ruling, and rule of law be damned?**
* Smith v. Maryland in 1979 on no reasonable expectation of phone records was 5-3.
** I try to avoid political commentary. Sometimes I’m just appalled by the shallowness of thinking.