When it accepted the case, the Supreme Court ordered that it would rule “whether the warrantless seizure and search of historical cell phone records revealing the location and movements of a cell phone user” violates the Fourth Amendment. The Institute’s brief argues that the answer to that question also has grave implications for the First Amendment. The technological ability to precisely locate citizens over time – 127 days in Carpenter’s case – could allow the government to determine a person’s associations with advocacy groups opposing government policies. Requiring a warrant for accessing this information would provide the best check against unreasonable or politically-motivated inquiries into individuals’ private associations.
The Institute is joined on this brief by the Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, and Tea Party Patriots.