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Potential drunk drivers tantamount to terrorists, implies Washington Governor Chris Gregoire

January 8, 2008

Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat and sort of Hillary clone without the facial, has boldly asked motorists to be “team players” and put up with sobriety check points.

The only thing in her way is that the Washington State Constitution is more protective of citizens’ privacy rights than the United States Supreme Court has held the Federal Constitution to be. The Washington State Supreme Court held in 1988 that sobriety check-points violate the Washington State Constitution.

But, urges Gregoire, “It’s a different day than it was 20 years ago.” Now there is a brilliantly compelling truism. The unsuitability of situational law for situational times is why we have things like constitutions and high courts to interpret law in light of them.

In an effort to gain public trust and enthusiasm for laying aside basic liberties in favor of public safety, Gregoire likens sobriety checkpoints to security checkpoints in courthouses and airports. Drunks, terrorists–you know, what’s the difference?

Gregoire admits that if the bill she is urging (drafted with the help of our disappointing Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office), is found unconstitutional, then the people of Washington (her usual term for herself) can’t have this powerful tool in their (her) tool box without changing the Constitution. . . .

  1. January 8, 2008 5:42 pm

    The left and the right are becoming indistinguishable; both insist that civil liberty is a luxury we cannot afford, and both are a danger to freedom. Let’s hope the courts are up to the task of preserving our freedom.

  2. January 8, 2008 5:51 pm

    Let’s hope so indeed. Proper vigilance and recollection of the ethos behind stare decisis are more important than ever to ensure that situational ethics are not made into situational law.

  3. wutitiz permalink
    January 9, 2008 5:46 pm

    Thanks for a great commentary.
    I experienced the checkpoints in MO and IL where I used to live. I do not drink/drug and drive so I was allowed to go on my way. However, in one case the cop did insist on me telling him where I was going, which to me was none of his business. I don’t like it.

    The same argument that justifies checkpoints could justify random searches of pedestrians for illegal weapons, or random drug tests just because you’re a citizen.

    Which is to say, the concept makes mincemeat of the 4th Amendment.

  4. January 9, 2008 6:49 pm

    Exactly. Once the State is crystallized in its pre-emptive mode when it comes to public safety, every citizen becomes a potential threat to public safety.

    I don’t like it either.

  5. January 13, 2008 3:25 am

    While this should bother me, it really doesn’t. I don’t drink and I don’t plan on drinking any time soon. The only annoyance would come from being held up, but I’m rarely in a big hurry anyways.

    I’m a bit undecided, though. As a libertarian, civil liberties are very dear to me. But as a driver, I know first hand how dangerous people can be when even slightly drunk. Heck, I’ve been followed for miles by people weaving all over the lane. And in the rural area I live in, it’s not a rare occurrence.

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