The decision offered a glimpse of how the court may address the flood of privacy cases expected in coming years over issues such as cellphones, email and online documents. But the justices split 5-4 over the reasoning, suggesting that differences remain over how to apply age-old principles prohibiting "unreasonable searches."
The minority pushed for a more sweeping declaration that installing the GPS tracker not only trespassed on private property but violated the suspect's "reasonable expectation of privacy" by monitoring his movements for a month. The majority said it wasn't necessary to go that far, because the act of putting the tracker on the car invaded the suspect's property in the same way that a home search would.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said that as conceived in the 18th century, the Fourth Amendment's protection of "persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" would extend to private property such as an automobile.
"The Government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information. We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a 'search' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted," Justice Scalia wrote, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor.
Advocates for privacy said that despite the differences, the court's unanimity on the outcome sent a strong message.
Nine to ZERO!!!
Fuck the feds! The Constitution stands!