By Radley Balko
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that if you're pulled over by the police for speeding or, say, not wearing your seatbelt, they may bring out drug-sniffing dogs to investigate your car without violating the Fourth Amendment.
That case is just the latest in a number of court rulings and pieces of legislation that have been chipping away at the criminal justice rights of substance-abuse suspects. Ours is quickly becoming a two-tiered criminal justice system, one in which there are one set of criminal protections for drug and alcohol defendants, and a broader set of protections for everyone else.
The problem, as Thomas Jefferson famously said, is that the natural process of things is for liberty to yield and for government to gain ground. It would take a rare and brave politician to stand up and say that we need to roll back or reconsider our drug laws, or that it's unfair to give accused murderers or rapists more rights than we give DWI defendants. But that's exactly what needs to happen.