Victory! Your brief scored at the Supreme Court!

April 30, 2015
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Two subjects today…

  • Our recent victory in the Supreme Court
  • Extending the deadline for the ZAP Founders Committee

Let’s start with the Founder’s Committee…
We’ve been telling a story-in-reverse to introduce our new Zero Aggression Project. This has taken more installments than we anticipated. That means…
We’re extending the closing date for the ZAP Founders Committee to May 31st!
We doubt it will take that long to finish our story-in-reverse, but we have to use the last day of a month to properly account for monthly pledges. So…
If you want to join the ZAP Founders Committee, or increase your rank on the Founders roster, you have another 31 days to contribute for that purpose.
Next, our recent Supreme Court victory in the Rodriguez case.
Here’s what happened…
A cop stopped Rodriguez for a traffic violation, wrote him a ticket, and then made Rodriguez wait until a dog arrived to sniff his car for drugs. There was no probable cause to suggest that Rodriguez had drugs. Thus, the detention and subsequent search were purely arbitrary.
Rodriguez challenged this in court, and lost. The Court of Appeals confirmed the initial ruling, reasoning that some searches and seizures are so small (de minimis) that the Constitution doesn’t protect them. The Supreme Court decided to review this decision.
We filed the only Supreme Court brief supporting Rodriguez.
Our brilliant attorneys, William Olson and Herb Titus, argued that the Fourth Amendment protects our right to be safe in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” and that only probable cause can justify searching our property.
Our Rodriguez brief extended the ground-breaking argument our attorneys made in the Jones case.
As you may recall, the Jones case re-established property rights as the basis of the Fourth Amendment. Neither of the petitioners in this case, nor any other amicus briefing parties, requested that the Court restore the property basis. Only our amicus brief did this!
Prior to the Jones ruling Courts had ignored property rights since the late 60s. The Justices preferred to base Fourth Amendment decisions on whether or not the person being searched had a “reasonable expectation” of retaining a right to privacy.
The privacy standard was much more favorable to The State and the protection it provided shrunk as surveillance technology improved.
The property rights standard favors you in law enforcement interactions.
Once again, on April 21st the Supreme Court decided 6 to 3 in favor of the property position highlighted in our Rodriquez brief.
The Court ruled that…

  • A police officer cannot extend a traffic stop beyond its original purpose, without probable cause. Thus…
  • Making Rodriguez wait for a police dog to arrive, and then allowing that dog to search for drugs, was doubly unlawful.

In addition, the word “privacy” was NOT used even once in the majority opinion written by Justice Ginsburg. This was a “property rights” ruling.
This is a very important victory!
We now have three decisions supporting the property rights basis of the Fourth Amendment — Jones, Jardines, and Rodriguez.
Your financial support helped fund our briefs in the landmark Jone case and now the Rodriguez victory!
Congratulations to our coalition partners, and to our attorneys, William Olson and Herb Titus. But mostly, congratulations to YOU!
If you want us to do more of this work, please support us financially.
Contributions made before May 31st will also qualify you to be listed on the Founders Committee of the Zero Aggression Project.
You can read our Rodriguez brief here:
You can read the Rodriguez ruling here:
Thanks again for your support. We will resume our ZAP story-in-reverse in our next message.
Jim Babka
The Downsize DC Foundation (coming soon, the Zero Aggression Project)


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