A Libertarian Judge Champions Privacy Rights Against Warrantless Police Searches

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Justice Clint Bolick dissents in Arizona v. Mixton.

Since joining the Arizona Supreme Court in 2016, libertarian litigator-turned-jurist Clint Bolick has made a name for himself as a judicial defender of constitutional rights. Justice Bolick did so again this week in a case that pitted the U.S. Supreme Court’s flawed Fourth Amendment jurisprudence against the more expansive privacy protections guaranteed by the text of the Arizona Constitution.

The case is Arizona v. Mixton. At issue was whether the police must get a warrant before obtaining a suspect’s I.P. address and internet service provider (ISP) subscriber information. With that info in hand, the police are able to determine which websites a suspect has visited. Taking its cue from the U.S. Supreme Court—which said in Smith v. Maryland (1979) that “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties”—a majority of the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in favor of warrantless I.P. address and ISP data searches.

Writing in dissent, Justice Bolick faulted his colleagues for shortchanging the text and history of their own state constitution…….

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This article was published on January 12, 2021 at Reason.

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