Civil Rights Groups Ask Supreme Court To Rethink Border Roadblocks

The Newspaper

A pair of civil rights groups believe the US Supreme Court needs to scale back the interrogation of motorists at “border” roadblocks that are nowhere near the border. In a brief filed last week with the US Supreme Court, the Texas Civil Rights Project and the National Lawyers Guild argued that lower courts are going too far in allowing police to arbitrarily harass drivers who have done nothing wrong. They want the high court justices to overturn a February decision by the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals that declared a US Air Force major’s reluctance to roll down his window an “unorthodox tactic” requiring further roadside questioning.  

“If it is not corrected, the Fifth Circuit’s new and amorphous ‘unorthodox tactics’ standard will leave residents in border states uniquely unprotected from Fourth Amendment violations,” the groups wrote in a brief to the high court. “It will also almost certainly make matters more difficult for hard working law-enforcement officers in tense or difficult situations.”

The appellate court said Richard Rynearson’s constitutional rights were not violated during the March 18, 2010 roadblock that had been set up 67 miles from the border with Mexico in Uvalde, Texas (view ruling). Rynearson hopes the court will hear his appeal, a privilege only granted to a handful of cases each year. The civil rights groups believe this incident is significant enough to deserve the justices’ review.

“Although concern about abuse is widespread, few cases arising from border patrol checkpoints reach this court,” the groups wrote. “This case therefore presents a unique, and significant, opportunity to reaffirm the constitutional principles that apply to this increasingly important area of the law.”

The Border Patrol operates seventy-one internal checkpoints within 100 miles of a border, generating dozens of complaints compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union. In Texas, a woman was strip searched, x-rayed and CT scanned after a drug dog falsely alerted at an internal roadblock. After all this, the University Medical Center of El Paso sent her a bill for $5000 in services. In Arizona, John Forrey was held at gunpoint and handcuffed after he refused to discuss his personal travel plans with agents.

“By departing from this court’s precedent, the lower court’s decision blurs lines that are supposed to be clear,” the civil rights groups argued. “It invites officers to make subjective judgments about the orthodoxy of someone’s behavior as a justification for continued detention. And it cannot help but lead to more controversies over how far an agent may stray from the purpose of a suspicionless stop when faced with a citizen who chooses to stand on his rights. Observing the clear lines and strict limits for suspicionless detentions drawn by this court will avoid that kind of subjective and impermissible line drawing.”

3 thoughts on “Civil Rights Groups Ask Supreme Court To Rethink Border Roadblocks

  1. My money says the traitorous Supremes, will let the fifth circuit’s ruling stand, by not reviewing the case. Anyone, still having faith in our judicial system, given all the abuses, should be institutionalized. They need meds, in an attempt to cure stupid.

  2. Let me get this straight….. “a pair” (two) civil rights groups think they should “scale back” the interrogation of motorists who are nowhere near the border?

    Where are the “civil rights groups” who read the Bill of Rights, and think motorists shouldn’t be bothered unless there’s probable cause to suspect them of a crime?

    Oh, I see….. these are Zionist “civil rights groups” that help to slowly destroy the Bill of Rights, much as the NRA concentrates on slowly destroying the second article.

  3. “It will also almost certainly make matters more difficult for hard working law-enforcement officers in tense or difficult situations.”

    Translation: It will infringe on their ability to extract mammon from their victims.

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