Garbage, privacy, and the law
The Supreme Court of Montana recently ruled that citizens have no expectation of privacy with regard to the contents of their trash.
Read Justice James C. Nelson's remarkable concurring opinion. [via CNET]
That really was a remarkable opinion, if for no other reason it was amazingly introspective and personal for a piece of legal reasoning.
And to me, it was kind of refreshing, given the enormous amount of obtuse and ponderous legal writing I wade through every day.
But unfortuantely, I wish he had taken the final step as he threatened to at the end of his opinion, and just dissented, drawn the proverbial line in the sand and said "no, this is the limit to which we are going to allow invasions of privacy."
However, this is also a good example of how slowly law evolves and if you aren't watching closely one morning you wake up and find out that the rights you always seem to take for granted, or at least who's existence you didn't need to question, suddenly don't seem as imutable as they once did.
Thanks to the slow erosion of Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections, not one big reality changing decision just small changes over time, his reasoning was actually the "legally" correct one.
Thanks a lot legal positivists...