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Supreme Court Gets It Wrong on Kyleigh’s Law

The New Jersey Supreme Court disappoints me in a way I hadn’t felt since last month when the U.S. Supreme Court let me down with their ruling on the Affordable Care Act. 

Until this year, I had always had more faith in the judicial branch as the gatekeepers of our rights.  My faith has been shaken, Save Jerseyans.  

Kyleigh’s Law is best known for its decal provision whereby new drivers must affix them to their car in order to make their age apparent to police officers. Douglas Trautmann brought the suit to New Jersey court on the grounds that the law violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition agaisnt unreasonable search and seizure. 

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the controversial law did not violate the Fourth Amendment and that someone’s “age” doesn’t constitute restrictive information.

To say I disagree with this decision may be putting it too lightly.  Today’s ruling leaves the door open for state-sanctioned age profiling, along with surrendering another iota of privacy previously enioyed by our citizens. Is it really the business of law enforcement to ask how old you are if you are otherwise properly maintaining your vehicle?  These drivers have done nothing wrong, and certainly have not warranted being singled-out based on an arbitrary age requirement.

Here’s one particularly disheatening line from the decision: 

Young drivers have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their age group, which can generally be determined by their physical appearance and is routinely exposed to public view. [Emphasis added]

For starters, I am thoroughly uncomfortable with the government defining what a “reasonable expectation of privacy” means and where they would draw that line.  Every individual has the right to privacy and their age should have no effect on this.  We should not be marking our citizens based on some arbitrary age or license they may carry.  Let the officers determine whether or not the driver should be on the road, not a red decal.

Government has once again overstepped its bounds and is forcing citizens to reveal personal information about themselves in order to be identified so the state can make an quick buck at their expense.  If the individual driving can perform the action within the normal course of the law, then why should a sticker change any of that? 

I can’t help but feel that if we had stood up to the government when it came to seatbelt requirements back in the day, then perhaps these latest traffic-related privacy invasions wouldn’t be occurring?  Don’t give the government an inch.  Each inch is too precious and you may never get it back, Save Jerseyans.

 

6 comments on “Supreme Court Gets It Wrong on Kyleigh’s Law

  1. Justin says:

    I'm not surprised. Judges are the biggest threats to our nation.

  2. Mike P says:

    I think it's a stupid law… but I don't think it's a 4th Amendment violation, we don't want the court to make bad law in order to reach a particular result. The proper way to get rid of a dumb law that is constitutional is to repeal it by statute.

    I didn't follow this case closely enough, but it seems to me that this is not the same as a search because its a "trespass to the car" similar to the GPS case. Calling the decal a trespass to the car would be like saying the license plate is a trespass to the car. I just don't see an unreasonable "search" that would be prohibited by the 4th Amendment here…

  3. Richie H says:

    It is debatable whether the law is a positive change or negative change. Since the law had been put into action, less teen driver car accidents have occured. Yet it also singles them out only, and makes it easy for dangerous peoples to identify young teens.

  4. speedkillsu says:

    "Supreme Court Gets It Wrong on Kyleigh’s Law."….well consistency counts for something …..no?

  5. ThomNJ says:

    Question: is the red sticker only required on cars owned by teens or do mom and dad have to place them on their cars because their teen may drive the vehicle at some point?

  6. ThomNJ says:

    From the NJ Motor Vehicle website FAQ:

    "My son or daughter shares the same vehicle with me. What should I do with the decals when I am driving the vehicle?

    – Any other drivers not required to display the GDL decals should remove them prior to operating the

    vehicle."

    How utterly stupid is this? At $4 a set, they expect one to post and peel every time a driver changes in a family car?

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