Dan Wang on Government Violating the Fourth Amendment Rights of Renters


Credit: renegade98 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

In Rochester, New York, renting rather than buying a home is enough cause for a search warrant. In recent years, the city has claimed the power to conduct routine home inspections on the grounds that the inhabitants are renters rather than buyers. As Dan Wang explains, the victims of these suspicion-less inspections argue that the city is violating their Fourth Amendment right to be secure from unreasonable searches. They challenge city-issued warrants that authorize officials to inspect their home not because they are under suspicion for committing a crime, but because officials want to make routine code inspections. And they claim that the renter and owner distinction is based on a discriminatory economic classification which violates their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.