In a move that has stunned the nation, the U.S. Supreme has issued a ruling that will determine public policy across the country for many years to come.
The court’s rare, unanimous opinion, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, determined that the Constitution’s 8th Amendment restricts state and local governments from imposing “excessive fines,” and it’s being hailed as a win for individual liberty.
The case in question came from Indiana, in which the state Supreme Court ruled that the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on “excessive fines” does not apply to states, and thereby upheld a judgment against Tyson Timbs.
Timb’s $42,000 Land Rover was confiscated after he was arrested for selling $400 in drugs — a small amount of heroin — to undercover police officers, and the U.S. Supreme Court determined this was out of bounds.
Essentially limiting how state and local governments can raise revenue, Ginsburg wrote, “Protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history for good reason: Such fines undermine other liberties.”
Ratified in 1791 and attached to the Bill of Rights, the 8th Amendment reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
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