"This court. . . is not empowered to suspend constitutional guarantees so that the Government may more effectively wage a 'war on drugs.' '' So said the Supreme Court in a recent majority opinion. Noble words, but in that case and in a subsequent one involving the war on drugs the court's majority did, in effect, suspend constitutional guarantees.
First, the court ruled 6-3 that police officers searching for drugs may board and "sweep" a bus, asking riders for identification and their travel plans, then asking some to submit to searches, even though the officers have no reason to suspect the people they focus on have done anything unlawful. That is a classic "unreasonable search and seizure" of a citizen without a warrant and without probable cause that the Fourth Amendment specifically forbids. It is reminiscent of the 18th century colonial governments' despised "general warrants."
Previous Supreme Court decisions have approved of similar police tactics in circumstances where the individual approached was free to deny the request and leave. But that is not the circumstance in a detained bus in which the police officer stands over a seated passenger and between that individual and the door. For the passenger to leave the bus rather than submit to questioning and search would mean abandoning stored luggage and giving up freedom of travel to a given destination.