Supreme Court delivers a win to former addict in excessive fines case

Gorsuch and Thomas, who did not sign onto Ginsburg’s opinion, each wrote separate concurrences agreeing with the majority’s conclusion. The two conservatives would have used a different mechanism to incorporate the 8th Amendment, they wrote, relying on the 14th Amendment’s privileges and immunities clause, rather than its due process clause, as Ginsburg and the rest of the court did..

…Ginsburg delivered a staunch defense of the prohibition against excessive fines, tracing the lineage of the protection back to the Magna Carta to the current day.

She wrote that protection against excessive fines has been a “constant shield” and argued that high tolls can be used to undermine other liberties, to “chill the speech of political enemies,” and as a form of retribution. Citing a brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ginsburg wrote that the court’s concerns were “scarcely hypothetical.”

In its brief, the ACLU argued that the “explosion of fines, fees, and forfeitures has buried people under mountains of accumulating debt.”

The group wrote that the fines can “lead to a host of collateral harms — wage garnishment, loss of employment and housing, poor credit ratings, driver’s license suspension, incarceration, prohibitions on the right to vote, and even family separation.”

Supreme Court delivers a win to former addict in excessive fines case


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