Supreme Court Drops Monumental 6–3 Ruling

The dividends of former President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court picks are piling up. Trump was the law & order president. And the Supreme Court, with 3 of his picks now sitting on it, is most decidedly pro-law & order, also.

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Back in 2014, the owner of an inn on our northern border was allegedly assaulted by a Border Patrol agent.

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The Virginian Pilot reported back in March:

The Smuggler’s Inn, a bed-and-breakfast on the U.S.-Canada border that officials say is a magnet for illegal border crossings, was the setting of a case heard Wednesday at the Supreme Court.

Some online reviewers praise the property for its scenic views, while others say its cleanliness leaves much to be desired.

Officials have said the Blaine, Washington, inn is an easy place for people, drugs and money to cross the border. Its backyard — where flagpoles fly the U.S. and Canadian flags — is just steps from Canada’s “Zero” Avenue and there’s no fence.

The inn’s owner allegedly often leaves his back door unlocked for border crossers, and rooms are named after famous smugglers and other notorious individuals including gangster Al Capone. A black SUV used by the inn has the personalized license plate “SMUGLER.”

Officials say cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and opiates have been trafficked through the property. And the property’s owner Robert Boule has pleaded guilty to charges in Canada of illegally helping people cross the border into the country.

But Boule has also served as an informant for the U.S. government…

In 2014, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Erik Egbert learned from Boule that a guest arriving at the inn that day was from Turkey. Egbert considered that suspicious and when the guest arrived, he went to investigate. Boule asked him to leave, but Egbert allegedly shoved him and pushed him to the ground, injuring Boule’s back. After determining the guest was legally in the country, Egbert left.

Boule complained to Egbert’s supervisors about the rough treatment, and Boule says Egbert retaliated by making reports about him and his business to various state and federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service. But no agency found any wrongdoing.

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Boule sued, saying Egbert had violated his Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force and his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him. A federal trial court ruled for Egbert, but an appeals court reversed the decision and Egbert appealed to the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court rendered a decision against Boule.

In a time when lawmakers and lower courts have been arguing about when law enforcement may be sued, the dispute comes as little surprise. The courts have permitted similar suits against federal officers under limited conditions.

As part of the 6-3 majority, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas argued that it is generally the duty of Congress, not the courts, to allow citizens to sue the federal government for excessive force violations in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

“Congress is better positioned to create remedies in the border-security context, and the government already has provided alternative remedies that protect plaintiffs,”

Thomas penned, referring to a U.S. Customs internal dispute procedure.

In disapproving of the court’s ruling, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the decision “contravenes precedent and will strip many more individuals who suffer injuries at the hands of other federal officers…of an important remedy.”

In addition to Sotomayor, two other liberal judges joined her opinion.

USA Today reported:

Americans may file civil rights lawsuits against state and local police under a Reconstruction-era federal law, but the law doesn’t apply to federal law enforcement. Claims against federal agencies are instead allowed under a Supreme Court precedent from 1971, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, in which agents with what was then the Federal Bureau of Narcotics searched the home of a man without a warrant.

The key question that has divided lower courts is the scope of the 1971 precedent: Does it permit suits against federal police in other circumstances, or must the facts of a lawsuit closely match the warrantless search involved in Bivens?

Thomas wrote that when deciding whether to expand the circumstances under which a Bivens lawsuit may be filed, courts must consider “whether there is any reason to think that Congress might be better equipped to create a damages remedy.” In a concurring opinion, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch asserted the answer should always be “yes.”

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“Weighing the costs and benefits of new laws is the bread and butter of legislative committees,” Gorsuch wrote. “It has no place in federal courts charged with deciding cases and controversies under existing law.”

According to liberal Constitutional Accountability Center attorney David Gans, “The 6-3 conservative majority of the Roberts Court, once again, closes the courthouse door on individuals victimized by governments abuse of power, this time holding that federal border guards cannot be sued, even for flagrant constitutional violations. It is a grave error that betrays our Constitution.”

Law and order prevailed this time. But socialist Democrats who love riots and looting are seeking to undermine that every day.