Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas just sent a strong message to local governments which continue to abuse the power entrusted them by our Constitution.

Thomas’s opinion in Leonard v. Texas was published by Eugene Volokh in The Washington Post, who says Thomas “is sending a signal” that SCOTUS judges like himself are starting to take a much closer look at the constitutionality of civil forfeiture laws and the pattern of abuse among authorities.

The details of the case involve a police officer pulling over James Leonard in April of 2013 for a traffic violation. During a search of Leonard’s vehicle, the officer finds a safe in the trunk. After getting a warrant, the cop finds over $200,000 and a bill of sale for a home in Pennsylvania. The State of Texas initiated civil forfeiture proceedings claiming that large sum of money was most likely used, or going to be used, in criminal drug activity despite the lack of hard evidence. That alone allowed the state to seize the property. Thomas argued that modern civil forfeiture laws allows for local governments to essentially steal another’s property and keep it for themselves:

This system — where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use — has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses. According to one nationally publicized report, for example, police in the town of Tenaha, Texas, regularly seized the property of out-of-town drivers passing through and collaborated with the district attorney to coerce them into signing waivers of their property rights…

These forfeiture operations frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings. Perversely, these same groups are often the most burdened by forfeiture. They are more likely to use cash than alternative forms of payment, like credit cards, which may be less susceptible to forfeiture. And they are more likely to suffer in their daily lives while they litigate for the return of a critical item of property, such as a car or a home.

In his critical remarks, Thomas can plainly see that this type of activity by our so-called servants can’t “be squared with the Due Process Clause and our Nation’s history.”

He’s right.

The entire critique is a must-read. Click CONTINUE to read it for yourself:

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About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.