Home U.S In wake of Floyd, Taylor killings, should police have power to enter...

In wake of Floyd, Taylor killings, should police have power to enter your home without a warrant?


David H. Gans

The footprint of American policing is vast.

And police officers respond to a host of problems that have nothing to do with catching people suspected of crimes. Fundamental questions about just how far police power should extend are at the core of a critically important case, Caniglia v. Strom, that the Supreme Court is slated to hear Wednesday. 

This case has gone unnoticed so far among a Supreme Court docket loaded with important cases concerning everything from health care, voting rights and religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. But the issue in Caniglia — whether police officers may invade a person’s home without a warrant or without suspicion of criminal activity, simply because they are pursuing a “community caretaking” function — could not be more important. 

The question the justices must answer is far reaching: Is our home still our castle?  

The Supreme Court

“When it comes to the Fourth Amendment, the home is first among equals,” as Justice Antonin Scalia put it in a 2013 ruling. If police can enter a person’s home without any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing simply because they claim to be taking care of the community, the Fourth Amendment would be close to a dead letter. Our right to be secure would exist only at the whim of the police. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here