Scalia Gets to the Heart of the Castle Doctrine


Reacting to the raid on Kathryn Johnston's home , a University of San Diego law student recalls a question he posed to Antonin Scalia when the Supreme Court justice visited the school for a lecture:

Me to Justice Scalia: Isn't the Court's holding in Hudson v. Michigan going to mean that cops will feel free to barge in without knocking and announcing their authority whenever it suits their interests?

Justice Scalia to me: Look, the Knock-and-Announce Rule is about not catching people at home in their underwear.

And there you have it. The centuries-old Castle Doctrine boils down to no more than silly modesty—and a modesty Justice Scalia finds worthy of ridicule. The comment echoes a line Scalia wrote in his opinion in Hudson about the only consequence of doing away with knock and announce would be for police to occasionally catch a suspect in his "nightclothes."