By Julie Amoss
The Supreme Court is probably the most well known institution of America’s judicial branch, revered for its power in setting legal precedents that can last for centuries. Although many of its rulings affect the more obscure parts of industries or the legal system, some of them affect everyone in America. This is a list of some of the rulings most likely to impact students at Glenelg.
Byrd v. the United States: For anyone renting a car, this case is a win for you. The court ruled in a unanimous decision that anyone driving a rental car—as long as it was legally obtained, of course—has the right to refuse a request to search it. Previously, it has been understand that anyone owning a car had to consent to a search without probable cause, but this protection has only just been extended to rentals. This ruling should help future drivers rest easy, regardless of if they own their car or not.
DC v. Wesby: The worst-case scenario of attending a party is when it ends in arrests. When a party was interrupted after a noise complaint and the partygoers were arrested for supposedly trespassing, this case posed an interesting question: did the police have probable cause to enter home where this party was occurring in the first place? In a 9-0 decision, the court ruled that they did. The court also decided that the officers involved in the case were effectively immune because they did not do anything illegal.
Marinello v. US: A common opinion about this ruling is that it’s “ridiculous,” as articulated by Sophomore Abby Jones, but it an important ruling to know about nonetheless.
A little tip to all future taxpayers: if you don’t know the IRS is coming after you for tax fraud, you technically aren’t in violation of the law. A new ruling requires proof that someone who committed tax fraud knew beforehand that they would be punished for their actions. This is an interesting ruling because it essentially pardons ignorance in tax code violations. Time will tell if this will increase the number of defendants being acquitted in cases like this or not.
Although most of these cases impact adults, it is still important for teenagers soon to be adults on their own to understand rulings like the ones mentioned above, for they could easily affect them a few years down the road. Additionally, going to parties like the one mentioned in DC v. Wesby and having a rental car situation similar to Byrd v. the United States will be relatively common experiences for young adults. Three fourths of adults are also defendants in a trial, even for something as simple as a speeding ticket (Marinello v. US). The world of the legal system can be a scary place, so good luck out there, everyone. Try not to knowingly commit tax fraud.