The Supreme Court struck a terrifying blow to the 4th Amendment today when it ruled that the police can take DNA samples from arrested people - people who have not yet been convicted of any crime - without a warrant. 

We don't often get a chance to quote Justice Scalia on this blog, but there's a first time for everything, and today he was extremely on point. In siding with dissenting Justices Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor, Scalia said:

"Make no mistake about it: because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason. This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA when you fly on an airplane – surely the TSA must know the `identity' of the flying public. For that matter, so would taking your children's DNA when they start public school."

Indeed. These days, we are asked more and more to surrender our personal liberty in the name of some idea of safety and security. But we have to ask ourselves - do we really want to live in a world where a police officer can swab the inside of your cheek, take your cells and run them through a database where you will be kept on file forever - when you haven't even been convicted of a crime? Where does it end?

Once we surrender our liberties, it's very hard to get them back. The proverbial inch becomes a mile. That's why here at the ACLU of Maine, we're working to put much-needed privacy protections in place before it's too late.