United States v. Antoine Jones Amicus Brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation, et al. in the U.S. Supreme Court

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of United States v.Antoine Jones in the United States Supreme Court in support of respondent, Antoine Jones. Our amicus brief argues that the government’s extreme position that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to GPS surveillance on public roadways is insupportable.

The government’s extreme view that the Fourth Amendment is completely irrelevant is made possible only by the Supreme Court’s mistaken jurisprudence that the Fourth Amendment only applies to situations wherein persons have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” The “expectation of privacy” test for searches and seizures arose without support in the text or historical context of the Fourth Amendment, and has proven wholly inadequate to protect the American people from their government. Had the Supreme Court previously adhered to the original text of the Fourth Amendment, rather than substituting their own language, the right of the people to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” would have preserved their privacy by a permanent wall of the unalienable right of private property.

The Fourth Amendment secures two related but distinct property rights. Its first guarantee secures the unalienable right of the people to private property unless the government demonstrates a superior property right, and the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against general warrants protects persons and their property from indiscriminate and surreptitious searches. Lastly, our amicus brief argues that the attachment and use of the GPS tracking device in this case violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

Our amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to take the opportunity presented in this case to return to the text of the Fourth Amendment, to acknowledge its property basis, and to review the decision of the court of appeals within that framework.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of:
Gun Owners of America, Inc. (www.gunowners.org)
Gun Owners Foundation (www.gunowners.com)
U.S. Justice Foundation (www.usjf.net)
Institute on the Constitution (www.iotconline.com)
Center for Media and Democracy (www.prwatch.org)
Free Speech Coalition, Inc. (www.freespeechcoalition.org)
Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
DownsizeDC.org, Inc. (www.downsizedc.org)
Downsize DC Foundation (www.downsizedcfoundation.org)
Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.cldef.org)
Declaration Alliance (www.declarationalliance.org)
Restoring Liberty Action Committee
The Lincoln Institute for Research and Education (www.lincolnreview.com)
Policy Analysis Center
Constitution Party National Committee (www.constitutionparty.com)
Libertarian National Committee, Inc. (www.lp.org)

The Solicitor General’s reply brief makes the case that the Fourth Amendment has been so weakened by prior Supreme Court decisions that it provides virtually no protection against electronic monitoring of Americans, even without warrants having been issued. That is precisely why our amicus brief urges the Court to use this case to undertake a complete review of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, returning to the text and context of that Amendment.

The Supreme Court opinion was issued on January 23, 2012, holding that “the Government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a ‘search.'”

Link to brief