The United States Supreme Court has given its blessing to the state of Florida to start issuing warrantless search warrants to search homes and businesses under the guise of law enforcement.
The justices unanimously voted 3-2 in June to strike down the Florida Police and Fire Protection Act, which had passed through the state legislature in 2016.
But the justices’ vote was not unanimous.
It came after a lawsuit brought by a local resident, who had been stopped by a police officer, who said the search was illegal.
The law required local law officers to get a warrant before entering homes, and it was aimed at cracking down on people living in or visiting unincorporated areas of the state.
The Florida Police Officers Association, which represented the Florida officers, argued in a lawsuit that the law violated the Fourth Amendment.
The Supreme Court’s ruling last week was a blow to the police officers union, which has waged a public relations war against the new law.
“We are grateful to the Supreme Court for this important victory,” the police union said in a statement, referring to the court’s ruling.
“We have not given up on defending the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”
A spokesman for the Florida Sheriffs Association, another law enforcement group, told Ars that the ruling does not affect its lawsuit against the state that the Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear.
That case is still pending.
In response to the ruling, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced on Twitter that he was reversing the law.
The governor has said the law was necessary because it’s “too difficult for law enforcement officers to find a safe haven in rural areas and small towns.”
The Florida Supreme Senate has been debating the law for two months, and a final vote is expected sometime next week.
The Florida Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments in June, and the Florida Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments in July.