Scofflaw Jurist OKs
Soccer Moms Bust
In 1997 a soccer mom named Gail Atwater was bringing her two young children
back from practice. She was almost home, travelling 15 miles an hour, when a
Lago Vista, Texas, police officer stopped her pickup because she wasnt
wearing a seat belt.
The policeman arrested her in front of her children, handcuffed her, searched
the truck, and took her to jail. There she was locked in a cell until she came
up with a $310 bond for a $50 misdemeanor. She got home to find that on top of
everything else, her truck had been towed.
It was okay, though.
Because on April 24, 2001, the United States Supreme Court decided, 5-4, that none of
this violated Ms. Atwaters constitutional right to be free of unreasonable
searches and seizures. Among the majority, as is usual when the Bill of
Rights is being undermined, was Justice Antonin Scalia.
On December 14, 2000, The New York Times ran the following copyrighted pictures of
three Supreme Court justices leaving for home after the Court appointed
George W. Bush president. The one on the bottom, the only one not wearing his seat
belt, is Antonin Scalia. It was at that time, and had been since 1985, illegal under Section
40-1602 of the District of Columbia code to drive without a seat belt in place. Justice
Scalia was not, however, seized, cuffed and jailed. Luckily for him, he had not yet got
around to ruling that the Constitution permitted such a thing.