Supreme Court

The Supreme Court and the Fourth Amendment


At SCOTUSblog, George Washington law professor and Volokh Conspiracy blogger Orin Kerr summarizes what the Supreme Court's recently completed 2010-2011 term means for the Fourth Amendment. Short answer: The government did well. Here's a portion of Kerr's analysis:

First, the current Court is rather friendly to the government in Fourth Amendment cases.    Of the three cases on the merits, the government's side won 23 votes and lost only 3 votes.   This Term, at least, none of the Fourth Amendment cases were even close.  Second, it's interesting that Justice Alito wrote two of the three cases.   Of all the current Justices, Justice Alito is perhaps the Justice seen as most often in sync with the government's take in Fourth Amendment cases.  If Justice Alito is writing a lot of Fourth Amendment cases going forward, that is likely to be very good news for the government.

Finally, it's particularly interesting that neither of the two newest Justices, Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, voted for a defendant or civil plaintiff in any of the three cases.  It's important not to make too much of that conclusion, to be sure…. Still, it is noteworthy that the only votes for criminal defendants or civil plaintiffs in the Term's Fourth Amendment cases were two by Justice Ginsburg and one by Justice Breyer.

Read the whole thing here.