by Mike Manharrey, Tenth Amendment Center
A recent ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court effectively nullified bad US Supreme Court precedent in the state. The decision was a win for privacy and demonstrates the how state-level action can undermine overreaching federal power.
The case revolved around a police search of Bion Ingram’s car that led to drug charges. Under US Supreme Court precedent, the search was considered constitutional. But instead of trying to fight the battle in federal court, Ingram’s attorneys chose to challenge the search in state court under the Iowa state constitution. Ultimately, the Iowa high court found that the search violated Article 1 Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable seizures and searches shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue but on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons and things to be seized.”
This section is virtually identical to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, but the Iowa court refused to apply the SCOTUS’ loose interpretation of the Fourth Amendment to Article 1 Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution. Writing for the majority, Justice Brent Appel asserted that the Iowa court is the “ultimate arbiter” for the meaning of the Iowa Constitution, saying that the Iowa courts “jealously reserve the right under our state constitutional provisions to reach results different from current United States Supreme Court precedent under parallel provisions.”
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