In typical liberal Seattle fashion, the government has reached down into residents’ trash cans, with citation-wielding garbage men enforcing draconian recycling and composting regulations.
But some citizens are fighting back against the garbage-snooping.
A new law, which went into effect Jan. 1, requires that no more than 10 percent of a trash can’s contents may be food waste or recyclables. Garbage collectors can tag violators’ trash cans, which will soon lead to fines ranging from $1 to $50.
A lawsuit filed in July by the Pacific Legal Foundation argued, “A person has a legitimate expectation that the contents of his or her garbage cans will remain private and free from government inspection,” the Seattle Times reported.
According to a Monday Fox News report, the city has responded to the suit. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes wrote that the garbage policy doesn’t violate state civil liberties because “there is no intention of opening trash bags. Containers are only tagged if the contamination is clearly visible.”
The United States Supreme Court ruled in California v. Greenwood that trash left at the curb is not protected from search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. However, Washington state courts have ruled that trash deserves privacy.
Ethan Blevins, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, said that the Supreme Court of Washington state held that “our state Constitution provides better protection, and we believe that people expect that our garbage is going to be protected from prying eyes.”
Not only does the new law effectively “deputize” garbage collectors, it also doesn’t provide any process for appealing a violation.
“The law makes garbage collectors the judges and the juries,” said Brian Hodges, Pacific Legal Foundation’s principal attorney.
“I understand people have noble goals,” said resident Keli Carender, whose cans were tagged two weeks in a row. “But at some point we have to say, ‘you can’t violate my rights to achieve this noble goal.’”
Some Twitter users took up the trash cause.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 14, 2015
@FoxNews welcome to socialism.
— Magic (@MagicManRAW) September 14, 2015
@FoxNews another liberal paradise ?
— Michael Darling (@mdd0027) September 14, 2015
Watch the Fox News video below.