Police may not search the smartphones of people who are put under arrest unless they have a warrant, the Supreme Court has ruled, a unanimous and surprising victory for privacy advocates.
The justices, ruling in cases from California and Massachusetts, said the 4th Amendment’s ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures” prevents a police officer from examining a cellphone found on or near a person who is arrested.
See? I told you the Supreme Court was a remarkably agreeable place. And in this case, they were remarkably agreeable even though lower courts had split on this issue and it could easily have broken down along normal left (yay civil liberties!) and right (yay law enforcement!) lines. Instead, all nine of the justices did the right thing. For a brief moment, we can all celebrate.