Another Privacy Right Lost to the 'War on Drugs'

December 1, 1998 12:00 am

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Tuesday, December 1, 1998

WASHINGTON– The Supreme Court ruled today that invited guests in a private home who do not stay overnight may not object to an unconstitutional search of the home because, in the court’s view, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

“The Court’s decision runs contrary to the everyday assumptions that govern the lives of most Americans,” said Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU.

It also means, as the dissent pointed out, that the privacy rights of homeowners are diminished as well. In the words of Justice Ginsburg, homeowners must now operate on the assumption that “their invitations to others increase the risk of unwarranted governmental peering and prying into their dwelling places.”

“This is another example,” Shapiro said, “of how our privacy rights are being sacrificed as part of the so-called war on drugs.”

The ACLU submitted an amicus brief in the case along with the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

The case is Minnesota v. Carter, No. 97-1147.

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