Fourth Amendment

Sotomayor Upbraids SCOTUS for a Decision That 'Destroys Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence That Requires Individualized Suspicion'

The justice filed a lone dissent in Kansas v. Glover.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the Fourth Amendment is not violated when the police stop a motorist simply because the vehicle that motorist is driving is registered to someone with a suspended driver's license. In a lone dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor described the majority's handiwork as a decision that "destroys Fourth Amendment jurisprudence that requires individualized suspicion."

The case of Kansas v. Glover originated in 2016 when a patrolling sheriff's deputy ran the plates on a pickup truck and discovered that the truck's owner, Charles Glover, had a suspended driver's license. Was Glover behind the wheel at the time? The sheriff's deputy had no idea and made no additional efforts to find out. He just pulled the vehicle over. Glover was driving and later filed suit, arguing that the traffic stop was an unconstitutional seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

"When a driver loses his license, he and his family must rely on other drivers (a spouse, a driving-age child, a child-care provider, a neighbor) to meet the family's needs," Glover and his lawyers argued before the Supreme Court. "Under Kansas's proposed rule…any of those other drivers can be pulled to the side of the road at any moment merely for driving a lawfully registered and insured car in a completely lawful manner." That rule, they argued, is an "unjustified intrusion on personal privacy."

Kansas told the Supreme Court that it does not matter if an innocent driver happens to get stopped based on the erroneous assumption that someone else is driving. "While it is certainly possible that the registered owner of a vehicle is not the driver, 'it is reasonable for an officer to suspect that the owner is driving the vehicle, absent other circumstances that demonstrate the owner is not driving,'" the state told the Court. "That is the very point of investigative stops—to confirm or dispel an officer's suspicion."

Writing today for an 8-1 Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas sided with the state. The Kansas sheriff's deputy "drew the commonsense inference that Glover was likely the driver of the vehicle, which provided more than reasonable suspicion to initiate the stop," Thomas wrote. "The fact that the registered owner of a vehicle is not always the driver of the vehicle does not negate the reasonableness of [the officer's] inferences."

Writing in dissent, Justice Sotomayor accused the majority of shortchanging the Fourth Amendment. "In upholding routine stops of vehicles whose owners have revoked licenses," she wrote, "the Court ignores key foundations of our reasonable-suspicion jurisprudence and impermissibly and unnecessarily reduces the State's burden of proof."

"The consequence of the majority's approach," Sotomayor maintained, "is to absolve officers from any responsibility to investigate the identity of a driver where feasible. But that is precisely what officers ought to do—and are more than capable of doing."

The Supreme Court's decision in Kansas v. Glover is available here.

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222 responses to “Sotomayor Upbraids SCOTUS for a Decision That 'Destroys Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence That Requires Individualized Suspicion'

  1. Disappointing Gorsuch vote.

    If Probable Cause can mean anything, than it means nothing.

    Why anyone has their vehicle registered in their name is beyond me. Start a business and register the vehicle in that business name.

    1. I suppose that because “probable” is a statistical term, it is just playing the odds. If you see someone taking a long deep drag on a cigarette, is it more likely to be pot than tobacco? If you see someone running away from a busted jewelry store window with a small bag, it might be a good idea to stop them on probable cause.

      But man, 8-1? I really thought it would go the other way and tell Kansas to do better next time. “Probable” doesn’t have much statistical meaning left.

      1. Why are you two going on about “probable cause”? This is the lower standard of “reasonable suspicion.

        Plus, this is a bizarre statement: “The sheriff’s deputy had no idea and made no additional efforts to find out.” Had no idea? Of course he had an idea — the owner of the car. It might have been wrong, but it certainly made some sense. That’s what “reasonable suspicion” is all about.

        1. Indeed.

          And the suspicion was, in fact, so eminently reasonable that the person to whom the vehicle was registered was the one driving the car.

          How anybody thought this could go the other way is beyond me.

          1. Sets a bad precedent. Reasonable Suspicion is not the minimum standard, it’s Probable Cause.

            The same standard required for warrants.

            Vehicles should be treated no differently for 4A protections as real property, persons, and personal property.

            Reasonable suspicion is a bullshit minimum standard for 4A stops and seizures just because its a vehicle.

            That is like giving police the ability to enter a home because the person listed as owner on the property tax database has a warrant. That is NOT how shit works.

            1. //That is like giving police the ability to enter a home because the person listed as owner on the property tax database has a warrant. That is NOT how shit works.//

              Not quite. In your scenario the police could walk over to the home and knock on the door. If the guy with a warrant for his arrest answered the door, the police could arrest him on the spot and it would be completely constitutional.

              “Well, anybody could have been in the house” would be a risible argument.

              1. No, lc1789 is right as there. He is strictly adhering to the language of the 4th and is rejecting the judicial activism that gave us reasonable suspicion and the automobile exception.

                Remember, judicial activism, properly understood, is the kritarchy creating, inter alia, exceptions to the exercise of liberty, in addition to balancing tests.

                1. He is not right, and neither are you. He made a poor analogy and I demonstrated why it didn’t work.

                  1. Police are not allowed on my property to “check it out”. They cannot simply knock on my door.

                    They need to hit the video box and I can see who it is at the gate. They cannot sneak around or drive around.

                    So, once again I prevent government agents from violating my 4A rights on my real property.

                    With my vehicles, they are under a company name and have window tint. I prevent government agents from violating my 4A rights. I dont stop for undercover police cars. I will drive to the nearest police station and call 911 to let them know to send a marked squad car with lights. I have done it in the past and will continue to do it that way.

                    1. As for your comment about a person with a warrant answering the door, that still does not contradict my analogy.

                      Police cannot simply bust down a door of a home because they suspect the person with a warrant is inside. They effectively did that with the vehicle in the stop.

                    2. What if they say they are delivering a Candygram?

                    3. What if they say they are delivering a Candygram?

                      If they are naked and look like Chippendale’s, I’ll take them at their word. If they don’t, I have a “reasonable suspicion” that they are actually police and they won’t get away with it.

            2. Reasonable Suspicion is not the minimum standard, it’s Probable Cause.

              No, it isn’t. The Constitutional right is “against unreasonable searches”, not “against stopping someone to talk with them without probable cause”.

              That is like giving police the ability to enter a home because the person listed as owner on the property tax database has a warrant.

              No, as Geraje Guzba pointed out, it’s like allowing them to walk over to a house and knock on the door because the person listed as the owner on the property tax database has a warrant.

              1. Police can walk up to you and ask you questions without a warrant. You can walk away and never speak to them.

                We are talking about a seizure under the 4A of a vehicle. You cannot simply drive away.

                The cops want a vehicle exception to the 4A requirement for a warrant and Probable Cause. The Nazgul have given it to them in spades.

                1. Hahaha. Yeah, they certainly do want that, uh, what should we call it — automobile exception? They want it so bad they already got it — back in like 1923 or something.

            3. The majority opinion gives a synopsis of the “reasonable suspicion” precedents, going back to Terry v. Ohio in 1968. The reasonable suspicion standard is also the standard accepted and argued in the trial court and before the Kansas Supreme Court. If the Kansas Supreme Court had wanted to prevent its ruling from being overturned by the US Supreme Court, it could have stated that the Kansas Constitution’s provisions on search and seizure afford greater protection to the individual than does the US Constitution. This is not uncommon.

              1. “Reasonable Suspicion” is NOT a greater protection standard. It is a lesser protection standard.

        2. And Reasonable Suspicion is an unconstitutional standard for police to use…ever with the seizure of persons and property. The fact that the courts have let them get away with illustrates how corrupt many judges are.

          Probable Cause is the standard, not some made up term like Reasonable Suspicion.

          1. I’d argue the police even had probable cause. This case never even came close to passing the smell test. It was ridiculous from its inception.

            1. But they didnt have Probable Cause or they would have said that and this never would have gone this far.

              If cops have Probable Cause, I reluctantly submit because that is what the US Constitution sets the minimum standard as.

              These corrupt cops and judges keep pushing and pushing and they wont give in even when the US Constitution says they must.

              This is how Civil Wars start.

              1. They didn’t argue for probable cause because they didn’t need to, because that is not the judicially recognized standard. Don’t make arguments you don’t need to; any lawyer worth his salt understands that.

                1. The standard is Probable Cause. They have carved out a vehicle exception to the 4A. The courts are wrong. They have sold the 4A down the river.

                  Wouldnt be the first time nor the last. We see the clear language of the 2A where the right of the people to keep and bear Arms not be infringed. We have the Nazgul accept background checks, automatic weapons bans, ex-felon bans, ammo bans, CCW permitting restrictions, Red Flag laws, waiting periods….

                  All those gun control laws are 100% unconstitutional no matter what the Nazgul says. If they dont know, then they should not be on the SCOTUS. If they do know, then they are violating the US Constitution and their oaths of office. Its that simple, really.

                  1. Dude, come on.

                    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against ***unreasonable*** searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

                    Probable cause is the standard for obtaining warrants. I know you know this, so I am confused as to why you keep separating probable cause from its clear link to the issuance of warrants.

                    The Fourth Amendment protects people from “unreasonable” searches and seizures. Warrants are ***not*** required. It stands to reason that there are categories of searches and seizures that do not require probable cause, provided the basis for the search or seizure is reasonable.

                    That’s where reasonable suspicion came from — from the very text of the Fourth Amendment. It wasn’t just made up from whole cloth.

                    1. Stopping me when I have not broken a constitutional law is unreasonable.

                      Warrants are required for the state to search or seize persons and property.

                      Just because cops dont want to wait for a warrant to stop and search a vehicle based on probable cause is too fucking bad.

                      What is a reasonable search? I dont consider any search or seizure reasonable unless there is a warrant. You can let the cops do it but I never have and never will.

                  2. The standard is Probable Cause. They have carved out a vehicle exception to the 4A.

                    They stopped the car and asked for identification from the driver. How is that either a “search” or “seizure” in the first place?

                    1. Stopping the car is a seizure. Its like an arrest. You cannot walk/drive away from an arrest/detain of your person.

                      Cops try to change the lingo and times have changed since the Founders added the 4A. The state needs a warrant based upon probable cause.

                    2. No, it’s not like an arrest. It’s like a Terry stop. Arrests and Terry stops are both involuntary (meaning you can’t just walk away), but they are distinct. The threshold for an arrest is higher than for a Terry stop.

          2. Uh, they’re all made up terms. Including “exclusionary rule.”
            But so what? At least the term “reasonable” is right there in the Fourth Amendment. RS is as good a standard as any for judging whether an officer faced with a possible criminal situation can freeze the situation and at least investigate.

            1. Exclusionary rule is made up but its a made up punishment for violating the 4A. I can live with something that restricts government more.

              Reasonable suspicion is not listed in the Constitution anywhere and judicially give more power to the police in violation of the US Constitution.

              Fuck the government for trying to do this. Fuck the police for stopping out of state plates without probable cause. Fuck the police for telling non-residents that they have to leave the state.

              If government violates the Constitution, then they have zero authority over THE PEOPLE. You can kill them in the street and there is nothing they can do about it legally, since there is no Supreme Law to give them power over you.

              1. The courts overstepped their bounds with the exclusionary rule. Just because the courts limit the other branches of government in some way does not mean that the court actually has the power to do so no matter how much you may hate government and police.

                Suppose the courts, instead of creating the exclusionary rule, had created a “dismissal rule” stating that if any police or prosecutor violated the Fourth Amendment while investigating a crime, any charges related to that crime would forever be dismissed with prejudice even if the Fourth Amendment violation had nothing to do with the identifying the eventual suspect. Would you support that? Why would the courts not have that power if they had the power to impose the exclusionary rule?

                You are also confusing the actions of “police” and the Constitution. Most of what people consider “police” are state and local entities and, unless specifically encumbered by the Constitution (or the expansion of the Constitution by the creation of the “Incorporation Doctrine” as the Fourth Amendment has been), the US Constitution has no say. See the Tenth Amendment if you need clarification.

                1. I agree with you and the courts should punish the Executive by dismissing the criminal case. Until that happens, we have the Exclusionary Rule. I would rather have violations of the Constitution that protect people than give more power to the state.

                  The US Constitution provides the minimum protection of rights that states must protect. Any state law enforcement agency is limited by protections of the US Constitution as well as state constitutional protections. All US citizens have state constitutional protections AND federal Constitutional protections. Additionally, they have protections of unlisted rights where the government has not enumerated power. Parental rights are a good example.

                  1. //I would rather have violations of the Constitution that protect people than give more power to the state.//

                    Ironic, given your name.

                    1. The purpose of the US constitution is to enumerate very few powers of a Republic and protect the rights of citizens.

                      The exclusionary rule protects the rights of the people.

                      The Nazgul allowing cops to stop vehicles without probable cause that a crime was committed is NOT protecting the rights of the people. In fact it directly violates the 4A.

                  2. It seems to me the cop could just say “I saw his face in the rear view mirror” or “his haircut looked the same as his license photo” or “I pulled up next to him and saw his face”

                    And your entire arguement is moot.

          3. Sorry, LC1789, but the courts, specifically the Supreme one, gets to decide when something is reasonable, not you.
            The 4th protects us against unreasonable search and seizure, the probable cause standard is for issuing warrants, something not required before a traffic stop.
            If you love the Constitution, you should know what it says and your interpretation isn’t one shared by the ones in a position to make one that sticks.

            1. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

              Yeah. . .see that? See how it’s all one sentence, explaining how it’s unreasonable to search and seize a person or property without a warrant? Are you and everybody else so ignorant that you can’t even understand something this simple? Your rights shall not be violated except when a warranty is issued, and even then that warrant needs to be specific to the thing you’re looking for and the place it’s in. Not hard, not complicated, not difficult. It’s simply been torn into bits by state loving goons like yourself, and nowadays folks don’t think twice about it because it’s never been any other way for them.

              You’re an ex-cop. Everything you say here is in deference to the state that allowed you to commit whatever abuses of power I’m sure your guilty of over the course of your career. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that you enjoyed your unilateral ability to pull people over and harass the living shit out of them any time you liked. Lotta cops out there use this ability to force women into sex. Some of them even get caught, though they almost never get punished. Was that you, RF? It’s okay, you can admit it. We’re all thinking it anyway.

        3. Change the class from “owner’s license is suspended” to “young black male” and tell us it is still “reasonable” to pull over a car because class members are statistically more likely to commit crimes than non-members.

          There has to be *individual* suspicion, as Sotomayer says. Statistical probability requires more. If the probability was 99%, maybe that’s reasonable. Did Kansas have any such information? No.

          1. There is… THIS INDIVIDUAL owner had a suspended license. This INDIVIDUAL OWNER’S car was operating on a road. It is REASONABLE to conclude, sans any other information, that the operator is this very same INDIVIDUAL. Thus… a reasonable stop to garner MORE information. Had the owner not been driving, the stop would have (giving the “man” the benefit of the doubt here, I know…) ended with a polite, “Thank you and be safe while on your way.” And that would have been the end of it.

            Your standard is such that any criminal is protected from ANY intervention by the state prior to a warrant. But the warrant may only be issued on probable cause. But probable cause may only be established through investigation. But investigation can not occur because the police have no room by which to interact with the suspect until they get the warrant. It’s a circular absurdity.

            1. ^^^^ I think you’ve nailed it.

            2. Its not reasonable because the cop has zero evidence that the owner is the driver.

              I can register my vehicle in any name that I want. I can register it under Donald Trump. That does not allow me to drive into the secure White House parking area.

              1. Its not reasonable because the cop has zero evidence that the owner is the driver.

                You don’t need evidence to initiate a cursory investigation. You need a reasonable suspicion that a crime might be taking place. Are you saying it’s unreasonable to assume that the driver of a given car is also the owner?

                I can register my vehicle in any name that I want. I can register it under Donald Trump.

                Really? Because you generally need to present some form of ID to initially register a car, or to change the person to whom it’s registered. Even if you want to register it to a company you own, you need to provide credentials to the DMV flunky.

                1. In my state, the form, on which you are asked the name of the owner, has a requirement that states the information is accurate, and you sign it.
                  Unless your name is Donald Trump, you can’t list that name as the registered owner.
                  Not sure how it would go if you can register your car in the name of a business, since most government entities want a person that they can hold accountable.

                  1. Has anybody here actually checked into the idea that forcing people to repeatedly pay for a permission slip to use their own vehicles is also inherently wrong?

                    Between drivers licenses and vehicle registration, we’re looking at a bunch of victimless crimes that have been “committed” here. Vehicle registration is amongst my top peeves, since it is literally nothing but outright theft and an excuse to steal even more from people who don’t wish to comply. And of course there’s the completely amoral POLICE OFFICERS that enforce these petty and ethically corrupt laws.

                    “Just doing my job” doesn’t cut it when you’re talking about literally extorting people out of their money under the threat of kidnapping and death, and that is exactly what most traffic stops are. They are almost ALWAYS horseshit, meant for revenue generation instead of any semblance of law and order.

                    You, and everybody who thinks like you, should be jailed. Forever.

              2. At the very least all the cop needs to say is “the reflection in his mirrors looked like the vehicle owner”

                And your premise is moot.

                1. “The reflection in his mirrors looked like he was smoking pot/watching kiddie porn on his iPhone/beating his wife”

        4. Agreed. I think the fact that the car was on the road, and the owner wasn’t legally entitled to drive it, certainly DID create individualized, reasonable suspicion.

          Not remotely enough to convict, or even to bring charges. But enough to stop the car and see who was driving it? Absolutely!

          1. Which is why the standard is probable cause not reasonable suspicion.

            The constitution never mentions suspicion because it gives the state too much power. The standard is probable cause. The same requirement for warrants and indictments.

            Then conviction require an even higher standard.

            Im a little shocked that y’all are letting the government get away with using a made up standard of suspicion to search and seize persons and property.

            1. Oh Lord, let’s try this again.
              The only thing the Constitution forbids is “unreasonable” seizures (I say seizure cuz we’re talking about a traffic stop — so detention = seizure).
              Reasonableness is a pretty flexible standard. Even you would agree. So the courts have come up with ways to attach different standards to different degrees of privacy intrusions. There might be other, stiff arm approaches to this, but this seems to work okay. Not fantastically, but not terrible.
              So…. we have a system where minimal amounts of intrusion (like, drumroll, a temporary traffic stop) needs a minimal reason for the gov’t to get all up in yer business. On the other hand, a search of your house is going to demand a warrant signed by a neutral magistrate.

              There you go. The Constitution in no way demands that every gov’t intrusion be justified by a probable cause standard. Because that would be dumb.

              Also, while you’re sitting there thinking you’re perfectly safe in your compound on the hill and that those dirty agents can’t even get around to your curtilege, you might wanna google “open fields doctrine.” You aren’t as protected as you think.

        5. reasonable suspicion= If the cop believes that someone could go to jail, then anything’s reasonable.

        6. That was my thought. Then there’s “and made no additional efforts to find out.” Like what? Seems like the most reasonable “additional effort” was to stop the vehicle and see who was driving. Turns out it was Glover, so his suspicion was eminently reasonable. Takes a “wise Latina” to find a constitutional violation in that.

          Would the constitutionalists prefer that the authorities suspend the registration of the vehicle of a convicted drunk driver? Then they’d be perfectly justified in stopping it if they find it on the road.

        7. Just so.

          “Was Glover behind the wheel at the time? The sheriff’s deputy had no idea and made no additional efforts to find out. He just pulled the vehicle over. ”

          The officer’s stopping the vehicle seems like a fairly straightforward way to “(make) additional efforts to find out,” doesn’t it? Anyone have good alternatives to that course of action?

          It seems to me there was a lot of straining at gnats going on here.

      2. “Probable cause” is usually defined as evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that it is more likely than not that a crime had been committed and that this person committed it.

      3. I would like to see the statistics for cars owned by drivers with suspended licenses being driven by others. If more than 50% of the time it was ‘others’, then the search isn’t reasonable. Or is there another number that works? 10%? 20%?
        The more/less likely number of 50% works for me. Except that there are zero statistics on this; there cannot be, unless every car of which the owner’s licence has been suspended is stopped every time it is seen.

        1. This challenge would have much better chances of success if the driver hadn’t been the owner, who had a suspended license.
          The argument of having to “rely on other drivers (a spouse, a driving-age child, a child-care provider, a neighbor), is specious, since that wasn’t the case before the court.

          1. If the driver turned out not to be the owner, the case would not be before the courts. The courts have set a much higher hurdle for the _innocent_ person who is stopped, searched, or even arrested to sue the cops than for the _guilty_ person to have the evidence tossed out.

    2. Well put.

      SCOTUS is forcing all of us to take steps (some irritating, some expensive, some inconvenient) to protect ourselves from our public servants.

      Another small step towards invalidating the Bill of Rights.

    3. “Probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion” are fun to talk about and ponder, but both are moot.

      Here we have an officer that does not witness a crime. Has no evidence of a crime. No one has reported a crime.

      So here, probable or reasonable have no bearing. In the end, what we have is that an officer believes a crime could be taking place. That is now the defacto standard. “Could be”

      The officer sees no crime, but believes that car load of teenagers could be smoking pot. An officer witness no crime, and none have been reported, but you could be beating your wife.

      1. This was parallel construction and the Nazgul let the state get away with it.

      2. All the cop has to say is “the reflection in the rearview mirror appeared to be the owner”

        And you’re argument is done.

        Chances are the cop did say that, or something similar, and its buried in the case file and not reported on.

        1. Which in a round about way, is my point.

          “The reflection in the rear view mirror, it appeared that the driver was smoking weed”

          “The reflection in the rear view mirror, it appeared that the driver was watching kiddie porn.”

          The driver could have been the owner of the car. The driver could have been smoking weed. The driver could have been watching kiddie porn in his smartphone.

  2. I can’t believe I’m saying this… but I think she’s wrong here. It sucks… but the state does make a good argument (starting from the assumption that the underlying premises are justifiable like state roads, state police, etc.).

    A police officer SHOULD investigate who is driving a vehicle. But to do that… they need to, you know… interact with the vehicle and the driver. Maybe get their name or ID? And are they supposed to just toss a note through the window as it drives by saying, “Please come back and toss a note back telling me who is driving,” or maybe they can use facial recognition tech? Yeah… that would be good.

    No… it IS reasonable, again assuming the underlying premises, that the registered owner is in fact the driver. The existence of examples in which an owner is not the driver does not undermine the fact that it is still reasonable, absent any other information, to assume that he is.

    Imagine a car is seen at a bank robbery. The car gets away along with its occupants and now the cops are trying to find the perps. They have the plate of the car, so they know the owner. Are you telling me that they can’t now go investigate the owner of the car? Sure, that may lead to them realizing the car was not being driven by the owner but that’s the process.

    Assuming innocence is not the same as restricting logic, reason, or investigative leads. I can ask you all sorts of questions about a murder, thinking the whole time you are innocent. But if I do not ask those questions, I do not have all the information (assuming you have some relation to the event… maybe it was the clerk at the gas station you just left from who was killed in a stuck up by the guy behind you in line).

    1. No… it IS reasonable, again assuming the underlying premises, that the registered owner is in fact the driver.

      As much as it pains me to say this, I agree.

    2. If I have to contort to agree with an opinion, I’m inclined to side against the state. It’s little bites like these that slowly eat the elephant.

      1. My feelings too. There was no real reason to stop the vehicle. It was not swerving, driving erratically, didn’t even have the proverbial broken taillight. Just the onwer’s license being suspended.

        What if the owner was on parole? Would that have justified the hunch that the driver was violating parole in some manner and it would have been ok to pull him over?

        What if the owner was the stereotypical young black male, a class which commits more crimes per capita than older blacks, or females, or even young white males? Would that have justified the stop?

        There has to be some individualized suspicion that the specific driver might be committing a crime or traffic offense at this specific time, not just that he statistically is in a class of likely offenders.

        1. Police are not required to consider and find reasons for dismissing every other alternative explanation, possible in theory, that would render the conduct in question otherwise legal.

        2. I think your analogies are backward. Here, the cop wasn’t assuming the existence of a criminal act because the guy in the car was representative of a class. The assumption (or “suspicion”) was that the owner of the car was the actual driver — if that’s true (perhaps a big “if”) then the crime itself is right in front of the officer. There’s no reason to have a “hunch” about a possible crime.

          The issue is how quantitatively “sure” does the cop have to be that the driver is the owner. Based on reasonable suspicion law, I’d say the answer is “not much.”

          1. Even by your standards, it fails: Kansas had no data to back up their claim that this class (owner has a suspended license) was likely to be driving.

            1. You keep making the “member of a class” argument. That was never the argument.

            2. First of all, quit saying this guy was in a class all by himself. I don’t understand it.
              Second, common sense said he was likely to be driving.

              1. Not just common sense. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety drivers with a suspended or revoked license will continue to drive between 50-75 percent of the time.

                1. I’m sure that’s low. In my personal experience, the proportion of suspended drivers who continue to drive is 100%.

              2. All my cars are registered in 2 names – what’s common sense say about who’s driving any of them? If you say “either one of them” go back to elementary school math.

            3. owner of the car is not more likely than not to be the driver? Come on man.

            4. The “class” you keep trying to use is incorrect. It is not a class of “owners with suspended licenses”. It is a class of 1… THE sole and singular owner of THIS specific car. Since it is 1 car and 1 owner… it is quite reasonable that he’s the driver. Reasonable does not have to be a certainty.

              Also… there was no search of the vehicle necessary… just an interview with the driver. There was no seizure necessary… the cop didn’t need the car nor the person prior to an arrest in order to investigate the potential crime.

              I suppose the cop could have followed the vehicle until it stopped and the driver exited at which point the cop could have walked up to the driver and talked to him then… but then you would complain about surveillance. Under your system there is no mechanism the cops can use to gather the information needed for probable cause to get the warrant you demand.

        3. “THIS individual is likely driving THIS car… which is happening right before my eyes at this exact moment.”

          Class has zero to do with it.

        4. People get their license suspended for accumulated traffic tickets, DUI, felonies involving a vehicle, vehicular manslaughter or homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, evading the police, driving without insurance, and of course by government mistake. I agree with Justice Thomas. Government exists to protect us from these types of people. And Thomas acknowledges some very strong libertarian leanings per the Wikipedia page on him.

      2. I’m an anarchist… I think all the underlying premises are wrong and as such the whole thing stinks. BUT… if we accept the premises of basic police functions and a state that creates laws…. then the stop is completely reasonable. Small bites or not… reality, logic, and reason are still undefeated. This is why I included the caveat about presuppositions and underlying assumptions.

        1. “Small bites or not… reality, logic, and reason are still undefeated.“

          And we’ve given on more precedent for future jurists to cite when tightening the screws around our necks.

    3. The stipulated facts stated in the opinion are a little weak, but I think they do reach the “reasonable suspicion” standard, which is less than probable cause, but is the standard the trial court and the Kansas Supreme Court were both working on. The facts would have been stronger if there was anything on the record that said the officer could see that the driver was a man, or could see anything that indicated that that he officer knew Glover, either personally or by sight. I am also wondering why he ra the plates on the truck. Was it being driven in an erratic manner or did the officer know such a truck was registered by a person with a suspended license? Presumably this case would be different if the officer had stated that he saw that the driver was a woman and still stopped it or something similar, but on the stipulated facts and accepting that reasonable suspicion is the proper standard, then the decision appears reasonable.

    4. Despite the “muh anarchy” crowd, you’re totally right. Even the Comments Section has been getting clowny lately.

      This article should have been titled “Sotomayor is a Moron”.

      “The consequence of the majority’s approach … ”

      Disparate impact! Racism! …

      This is not about the law, it’s about Sotomoron disliking consequences of applying the law.

  3. >>Justice Clarence Thomas sided with the state.


    1. The fact that he wont retire and let Trump pick his replacement has me lose respect for him.

      In the end all the Nazgul are not friends of American freedoms, some are just far worse than others.

      1. Thomas is 71. Ginsburg is 87. Breyer is 81. Alito is 70.

        Trump is 73.

        Why should Thomas retire?

        1. Who knows who the next Republican president will be in 2025 after Trump completes his second term. Trumps pick of Gorsuch was the best justice selected in my lifetime. Even with this ridiculous affront to the 4A.

          Comparing The President to a SCoTUS justice is apples and oranges. Nazgul are life appointments.

          RBG fucked up not retiring with 2009-2010. I dont want Thomas to make the same mistake.

          1. You worry too much.

  4. “Was Glover behind the wheel at the time? The sheriff’s deputy had no idea and made no additional efforts to find out. He just pulled the vehicle over.”

    So how was the sheriff’s deputy supposed to find out who was behind the wheel, absent stopping the vehicle and checking?

    I think SCOTUS got this one right.

    1. Absolutely. This was a no brainer, which explains the Sotomayor vote.

      This Glover guy and his lawyer’s really had some epic fucking chutzpah to even make this argument.

      1. Sets a bad precedent.

        Probable Cause should be required for all stops and seizures under the 4A, even if the police turn out to be correct in their suspicions.

        The Nazgul have helped turn the USA into a police state with their violations of the US Constitution.

        1. There would likely have been probable cause as well.

        2. There was probable cause. They knew that the car belonged to a man that was prohibited from driving.

          Let me give you another scenario. Let’s say that there was a murder, and the security camera showed the murderer was wearing a letter jacket from the local high school with their name on the back. Do you think the police would be able to get a search warrant for the school locker? Even though the jacket might have been stolen or worn by a friend or relative? The answer is obviously “yes”. That creates reasonable suspicion and probable cause, despite the fact that there might be other alternatives.

          1. I agree that the prob cause standard would apply in your analogy, but wouldn’t it go to the probability that the locker contained evidence of the crime (and I further assume that the cop’s affidavit gives reasons to believe that evidence might be in this guy’s locker)?
            Otherwise, I would disagree that there would be enough probable cause to get an arrest warrant for this guy based on nothing but the picture showing his name on the back of a jacket. Certainly gives a cop enough evid to pull the guy out of class and question him — I just don’t think you can drag him to jail and book him for this offense.

            1. We aren’t talking about dragging someone to jail and booking them.

              We are talking about basic investigation. Enough to justify questioning someone. That is what this is, after all. Stopping someone to question them about the most basic fact, who they are.

              1. Hang on. You said there was sufficient probable cause. That would justify arresting someone. You wouldn’t need probable cause to ask some questions.
                But if you’re limiting your prob cause analysis to a search warrant, well, maybe I can see that.

                1. That’s what I was meaning. They have probable cause to start an investigation. To pull someone over and ask who they are.

                  In the end, that’s the entire point of this discussion, coming back onto the question.

                  1. Driving a vehicle belonging to someone with a suspended license is not illegal.

                    1. And if the driver wasn’t the one who had a suspended license, there wouldn’t have been an arrest.

          2. You always lose the argument once you have to change the dynamics of the original case. When you start saying things like, “imagine if you will…” You already are admitting you can’t support your theory on the facts above.

            1. I’m giving a reducto ad absurdum. Reframing the original case with very slight differences. If my example did happen, he would be featured under “stupid criminal of the week” headlines. To make the argument that despite the criminal having a name on their shirt, the police don’t have the ability to question people of that name would be nonsensical. In fact, they would be justified to question everyone who had that name.

              This is an even simpler situation. There is a car clearly and unambiguous registered to someone who is not allowed to drive. The ONLY way to identify whether the driver is the banned driver is to pull them over and ask. How can any rational person think this is not sufficient basis to perform the simplest and least intrusive investigation possible?

              1. Someone who had their license suspended and owning a car is not illegal.

                Someone who had their license suspended can still drive. They can drive on private property and they have legal exceptions in an emergency.

                Furthermore, there is a constitutional issue that the federal government and states have no enumerated power to prevent Americans from driving. They can regulate them and the roads but cannot outright ban driving.

                Same constitutional principal as no current enumerated power to ban products and services without a change to the US and state Constitutions. Its why the Controlled Substances ACt is unconstitutional.

                1. All of your statements are non-applicable. This was on a public road. If it was on private property, we wouldn’t be here.

                  If it was an emergency, that is an affirmative defense. The driver is REQUIRED to admit wrongdoing and explain why. If that is the case, then it is the officer’s duty to help. Either to take the person in their car or clear the way with lights and sirens.

                  As for the rest of that. No. Stop. Please. You are embarrassing me just reading that

                2. Old sock trolls are always funny.

                3. The simple fact that there are such things as suspended licenses – something even you acknowledge as existing – is proof that states can prevent Americans from driving – even on private property, if they so desire, since virtually all laws extend to being violations, regardless of the ownership of the place it happens.
                  You’re not exempt from murder laws, simply because you kill someone on your own land.

        3. The Nazgul have helped turn the USA into a police state with their violations of the US Constitution.

          Which is why it’s reasonable for a cop to suspect any random person is a criminal rather than not. You see a vehicle going down the road that’s registered to somebody with a suspended license so you assume it must be being driven illegally rather than assume that it must be being driven by somebody other than the person it’s registered to? This is how you wind up with a cop seeing an open door and, assuming there must be a burglary going on, shooting the homeowner inside who, hearing somebody prowling around outside, has sensibly gotten out her gun. Or the other cop who shot the homeowner who come out to see who was prowling around his car right after he had called the police to report somebody had just tried to carjack his wife and the cop showed up but didn’t bother letting the homeowner know he was there. Cops are in a war zone and everybody’s the enemy these days – shoot first and ask questions later is a perfectly reasonable response.

          1. You’re not even letting them ask questions, such as “Let me see your license.” These theories are rapidly descending from the sublime to the ridiculous.

    2. Why did it matter? The driver was doing nothing to draw attention to himself. He was a member of a class more likely to offend than others; not even more likely to offend than not, but simply more likely to offend than non-members of his class (of suspended license holders). Substitute young black male for suspended license; does that still provide reasonable suspicion to investigate?

      1. “Substitute young black male for suspended license; does that still provide reasonable suspicion to investigate?”

        Only if it’s illegal for young black males to drive. That’s one place your analogy fails.

        1. It’s illegal for people with a suspended license to drive, so why wouldn’t the cop assume it must be somebody else, somebody with a valid license, driving?

          1. Well, nothing’s stopping him from assuming that. Also, nothing’s stopping him from suspecting that the driver and the owner are one and the same. And that he pulled the guy over to investigate that possibility.

          2. Assumptions are not evidence and certainly not probable cause.

            Its also not illegal for someone to drive the vehicle registered to a person with a suspended license.

            1. Probable cause is the standard for obtaining a warrant.
              Do you think that is also the standard for a traffic stop?
              In your world, no one would ever get a traffic ticket.
              I don’t think that is the world the Framers envisioned.

      2. The driver was doing nothing to draw attention to himself.

        He was driving a vehicle owned by someone with a suspended license. That tends to draw the attention of cops.

  5. So often the SC defers to cops. They are utterly unreliable when it comes to keeping the pigs in line.

  6. Sotomayor’s dissent proposes that the police officer should have approached the suspect vehicle, and tried to identify the driver’s age and gender by inspection – presumably by pulling alongside and trying to peer through the window.

    Logically though, even that, if accomplished – wouldn’t create the individualised suspicion that Sotomayor thinks is necessary. For the police officer would simply have discovered that the driver was, say, male, white and around 40. It would identify him only as being a person not apparently inconsistent with the owner – one of tens of thouands of such people – not as the actual owner.

    So even Sotomayor’s game is a crap shoot.

    1. Her rationale is bullshit pandering.

      The Nazgul allow violations of the 4A which sets a minimum standard of Probable Cause.

      You know cops are full of shit when they don’t even have enough to have “Probable Cause”. It’s a ridiculously low standard of proof but it is enough to drive most corrupt cops crazy. Which it should.

      Stopping vehicles SHOULD BE hard. Just like the Founders intended in the 4A for persons, real, and personal property.

      1. By your standards stopping vehicles would be virtually impossible.
        I don’t think the Framers intended for law enforcement to have that hard a time in keeping us safe.
        The most common reason for licenses to be suspended is for drunken driving. If the cop ignored this possibility and the driver went on to kill someone, the cop would be pilloried for not taking action.

    2. Let’s also not forget the fact that performing her suggestion involves distracted driving and careful positioning, a relatively risky maneuver that needlessly endangers everyone on the road, all for the very real possibility that glare off the window will make it impossible.

      Even if they have a picture to compare the person’s face to, that’s not going to help, as many relatives look similar, especially in bad light. Will you be able to tell a father from his son or brother?

      A lot of risk for essentially no gain.

      1. If the cop ran the plate then the image of the license of the owner came up. That’s how they knew his license was suspended.

        But even easier than this, all the cop has to say is “the reflection I saw in the rearview mirror appeared to be mr. Owner so i pulled the vehicle over to investigate”

        1. Good, let’s give cops more reasons to stretch the truth on the stand.

  7. “That is the very point of investigative stops—to confirm or dispel an officer’s suspicion.”

    Serious question: Does the law require documentation of “an officer’s suspicion”?

    1. Parallel construction comes later.

      Its why police should need warrants for every stop and seizure of vehicles and persons. To the same minimum standard as real and personal property now kind of gets.

      1. The Constitution does not require warrants in the first place. It only provides protections against “unreasonable” searches and seizures. You are rewriting the Constitution.

      2. Yeah, that’s right. Before a cop stopped me for speeding a couple of weeks ago, he swore out an affidavit and got a warrant from a judge.

        1. No, before the cop stopped you, he witnessed you committing a crime. In this case, what crime did the cop witness? After you got the ticket, is the cop now free to stop your car any time he feels like on the suspicion that you’re more likely than not committing a traffic violation since you’re now a known violator?

          1. Hey, my answer was to the proposition that cops need warrants for every traffic stop.
            But since you brought it up, the difference is that this cop knew Glover’s status as a suspended license guy. That made him automatically in violation of the law IF he drove a car. Whether it was reasonable to suspect that he was driving the car that he owned is kinda the point of the opinion.
            Pulling me over because I’ve sped in the past isn’t remotely the same thing.

      3. Your argument is much better than the alphabet guys

    2. That is what happens when the charge is before the court. At a hearing for a pre-trial motion to suppress the stop, the defense will cross examine the officer to bring out what he saw, what he knew and what he did to establish reasonable suspicion.

  8. Why wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that someone wouldn’t be driving on a suspended license? Why is it reasonable to assume the law is being broken?

    1. Us vs. Them.

    2. I don’t think that’s quite the right question. The law doesn’t require an “assumption,” just a suspicion (albeit a reasonable one). I think that’s quite a lower standard.
      But to answer your question anyway, either suspicion would be reasonable. That’s the beauty of having a standard that’s pretty far below 50% certainty.

      1. The suspicion was based on membership in a class which statistically is more likely to commit crimes than other classes. In this case, the class was the owner has a suspended license. In other cases, it might be the owner was a young black male. Why is one class ok to pull over but not the other?

        1. The suspicion was based on the fact that it is *reasonable* to assume a person to whom a vehicle is registered is driving that vehicle. It had nothing to do with class membership. You are setting up strawmen.

          1. But that means the argument is that it is reasonable to assume that the law is being broken. Why isn’t it more reasonable to assume that the law is being followed? Don’t most people follow the law most of the time?

            1. “Reasonable” does not mean 100% certainty. We have proof it was a reasonable suspicion because the person to whom the vehicle was registered was actually driving the vehicle. People are getting hung up on absurd hypothetical situations.

            2. A pretty fundamental rule of this stuff is that you can reasonably suspect someone of a crime even if their conduct is as consistent with innocent activity as criminal. That probably is the most obvious answer to your question.

          2. You’re begging the question. Why is it reasonable to assume a person to whom a car is registered is the one driving a vehicle when you know that person is forbidden from driving the vehicle?

            1. That’s discussed in the opinion. Short answer: common sense, and the fact that it does happen. A lot.

              1. And it was true in the case at hand. How can anyone argue it is unreasonable to assume they were doing the very illegal thing they were literally caught doing?

        2. “the class was the owner has a suspended license”
          I think you answered your own question. If you’ve decided you’ve got a “class of one,” I think you’re getting pretty close to individualized and particular analysis.

    3. Its just as reasonable to assume the owner of a vehicle is the person driving said vehicle. it basically becomes a fielder’s choice for the cop: which suspicion does he find more reasonable?

      I think the court make the right call in this case, but I can imagine another case, where the driver is not the registered owner and does not have a suspended license, but then the cop makes an arrest over something like (such as finding drugs in the car) In that case I think the evidence would have to be tossed out and charges dismissed since the reason for the stop was not born out

      1. Its not illegal for a licensed driver to drive the vehicle registered to a person with a suspended license.

        The cop cannot stop your vehicle to investigate. Cops needs probable cause to force you to a search or seizure.

        I fuck with cops all the time on this aspect of constitutional law. I dont stop for license or DUI checkpoints because they dont have probable cause to sop my vehicle. The cops are violating the constitution so they dont mess with people who know their rights. They pick on the sheeple who think this was a constitutional decision.

        1. I doubt that you have driven through a license or DUI checkpoint.
          You agree to certain limitations of your freedom, when you obtain your license and register your vehicle for operation on public roads and the courts have accepted those limitations as being legitimate.
          If you have successfully argued that these laws are in violation of the Constitution, your name would be legendary and those stops would be as invalid as the laws stopping homosexuals from pretending to be married, or ones prohibiting the murder of the unborn.

  9. //”When a driver loses his license, he and his family must rely on other drivers (a spouse, a driving-age child, a child-care provider, a neighbor) to meet the family’s needs,” Glover and his lawyers argued before the Supreme Court.//

    1. Because public transportation is never an option. And, what if the driver doesn’t have any family? This case was completely laughable from the outset.

      1. Well, you are right that public transportation is never an option.
        Did you miss the part about Kansas?
        Which is the more reasonable; that most citizens are law abiding and will not drive on a suspended license, or that most citizens are complete scofflaws and have no worries about breaking the law (maybe again)?

        1. Even if it is 50/50, it is reasonable to stop a vehicle.

          1. Its not which is why the Nazgul took this case to try to push another exception to the 4A with vehicles.

            I dont follow unconstitutional laws and I dont let cops violate my rights. Y’all can if you want. Let them search your vehicles without warrants. Good luck with all that.

            1. The only time they can search your vehicle, without a warrant, is if you let them.
              Stopping your vehicle is not a search, or a seizure. It is something you agree to abide by when you get your license. It is just as illegal to not stop for a checkpoint as it is if you are speeding, and punishment can, and will, be imposed.
              Where does the Constitution, you claim to love, allow setting speed limits or any other of the thousands of traffic laws that have been passed?
              The courts, that you would have to go before to be exonerated of your violations, don’t agree with you. Does anybody?

  10. Sorry but I don’t see a problem with this. Had the officer known the driver wasn’t the owner, and made the stop anyway, I could see the problem.
    But not when he didn’t know.

  11. I don’t believe “Possible DLS” should be a stoppable-offense.

    1. He’s not stopping him for committing an offense. He’s stopping him because he has a suspicion that he’s committing an offense. Is that suspicion reasonable? The Court says so, and I tend to agree.

      1. That’s fine we can still be friends. How about I don’t believe “Possible DLS” should cause reasonable suspicion bc I don’t believe “Possible DLS” should be a stoppable-offense?

        Should be like insurance – can’t be pulled over for it but if pulled over and discovered then citation.

        1. I think what you’re saying is that an officer should be pretty sure that the guy has committed a traffic offense before he pulls him over. And some courts used to go that way — that for moving violations, the standard is really prob cause because you either see it or you don’t — there’s nothing to investigate. (This isn’t the law anymore, btw).
          But that can’t be the standard for something that actually requires investigation — like whether the guy driving is actually the guy that my computer says has a suspended license. If I reasonably suspect that he is (i.e., he’s the owner of a car in front of me), then I should be able to pull him over to investigate that possibility.

          1. fair enough. i understand MHO is the losing argument here.

  12. They could have ruled it unconstitutional and police would do it anyway, and any result from that stop would be deemed constitutional.

  13. Your very first sentence of paragraph 2 undermines your entire point. “[He] made no additional efforts to find out”. The effort to find out if Glover actually was driving WAS pulling him over and checking the license. What other “additional efforts” could he possibly have done? Speed up, endanger lives, and see if he can get a good look in the driver’s side window? That’s literally all I can think of, and I think we can agree that would be reckless and needlessly dangerous. Follow him to his destination and stop him after he gets out if the face matches? That’s even worse from both a safety and efficiency perspective.

    Sotomayor’s interpretation makes the entire concept of a suspended license unenforceable.

  14. I am not surprised. SCOTUS has been destroying the 4th for decades. There are so may exemptions now that the 4th means nothing. I wish the conservatives would defend the 4th (and the rest) as much as they defend the 2nd.

    1. +100000

  15. Reasonable “articulable” suspicion. Not only must he have reasonable suspicion, but he must justify that suspicion. Now is it reasonable for him to assume that the owner of the vehicle is currently operating it? Yes. Does he have justification to detain the person driving the vehicle to determine if that is the case? Yes. Did the driver have to identify himself? No. Did the officer justify “why” he believed the driver was in fact the person with the suspended license? Once he interacted with Mr. Glover, it became individualized. After that the entire RAS resets. Why specifically did he suspect the person driving to be Mr. Glover. This case changed from a 4th Amendment case to a 5th Amendment case. Mr. Glover had no obligation to answer any questions or to provide identification. The officer had RAS to stop the vehicle but DID NOT have RAS to assert Mr. Glover was in fact Mr. Glover.

    1. Generally speaking, you don’t have a 5th Amd right to keep your identity secret. More specifically, you don’t have a 5th Amd right to refuse to produce ID at a valid traffic stop.

      1. I was waiting on this. This was not a traffic stop. The officer did not witness a moving violation. This was an investigative detention of someone that he thought MIGHT be committing a crime. Not one that HAD committed a crime.

        1. That’s the catch 22. Did he have reasonable suspicion that it WAS Mr. Glover. And if so WHY? He has to justify Mr. Glovers detention. And the only way to do that was to have Mr. Glover incriminate himself. This wan’t a 4th Amendment case. It was a 5th Amendment case.

          1. Except that I don’t think your right to be silent kicks in at a mere traffic stop. Just like if a cop asks a guy “do you have any drugs in the car” and he says yes — tough. He’s not in Miranda like custody.

            1. Yes the 5th Amendment always applies. Especially when being detained by police. The only thing you are legally required to do is identify yourself when being detained if the officer suspects a person is committing, has committed or is about to commit a crime. He couldn’t suspect Mr. Glover of committing a crime if he didn’t know who Mr. Glover WAS. Therefore the officer had no RAS to identify him. The Supreme Court merely said that it was reasonable to infer that the owner was driving the car therefor the detention was legal. Not that the driver had to wave his 5th Amendment rights. He could have declined to answer any question, including what his name was because there was no crime UNTIL he identified himself.

              1. Not sure where you’re going with this….
                Are you saying that an officer has no right to ask a suspect his name at a garden-variety traffic stop — if the answer might supply proof that he’s violated another crime? That can’t be right — an officer can ask a suspect anything he wants. In some cases, he has to warn him of his 5th amd right to be silent and the suspect can clam up if he wants. As I said above, however, questions at a regular traffic stop do not constitute the kind of “custodial interrogation” that demand one be warned.

                I suppose that the suspect’s rights might kick in (even at a non-custodial traffic stop) if it turns out that the cop has probable cause to arrest him AND he communicates that PC to the suspect. Then he would be in functionally equivalent Miranda custody.

                But that’s not what’s happening here. A guy gets pulled over, the cop asks his name, and he gives it. And I disagree with your statement that there’s no crime until he identifies himself. There’s just not good (i.e., more than reas suspicion) evidence of a crime until he identifies himself.

                1. He can ask whatever he wants. You are not legally obligated to answer ANYTHING unless you are suspected of committing a crime. And rights don’t just “kick in”, they are ever present and inalienable. I would like to know what other parameters were used to suspect that Mr. Glover was indeed Mr. Glover. Was there a picture of him the officer saw? Was there a physical description? Let’s say that Mr. Glovers brother was driving the car. Yes the officer had RAS to stop said car because the license of the owner was suspended. Does the brother have to identify himself? This is why Sotomayor dissented. Anyone driving the car could be considered a suspect and lose that 5th Amendment right.

                  1. I’m starting to warm to Ben’s opinion of what you say…..
                    I see that you really really want your view of the Fifth Amendment to be the law. It’s just not gonna happen, but I respect your enthusiasm.

                    But forget all that. First, even if you aren’t legally obligated to answer anything unless you are suspected of committing a crime — well, that’s exactly what happened. Glover was suspected of of DLS and the officer stopped him to ask about it. There’s no Fifth Amendment violation.

                    Second, did you even read the opinion? all of your questions about the facts of the case indicate not. But I’ll cut to the chase and say that no other facts apart from the fact of the registered ownership of the car led the officer to think Glover was driving.

                    Third, are you a mind reader? You must if you know that Sotomayor was most concerned about the Fifth Amendment. And she must have been concerned because she mentioned it a grand total of zero times.

                    1. The opinion was that the officer was “justified” in inferring that since the vehicle was registered to someone with a suspended license, that it was “reasonable” to assume they were operating the vehicle. And my view of the 5th isn’t my view, it’s the law. Now what happens when the driver in NOT the registered owner of the vehicle? This case was argued that it was a violation of Glovers 4th Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled it was not. It did not rule that it wouldn’t be a violation of someone else’s 4th Amendment. You will see this case again, but it will be brought by someone that is not the registered owner of the vehicle. Because that WOULD be a violation of their 4th Amendment.

                    2. If it was constitutional to pull the car over in the first place (there was reas suspicion to do so), it doesn’t matter who’s driving the car. Even if it was perfectly legal, there’s no Fourth Amendment violation. That’s why cops “investigate” — to find out if a crime is actually taking place.

              2. You’re arguing nonsense, and you know it.

                The office had a reasonable suspicion that Glover was committing a crime because Glover’s car was on the road. This justifies the initial stop.

                If you really want to stretch it, after the car was stopped, he found a man fitting Glover’s description in the driver seat of Glover’s car. That give particular suspicion that the man was Glover. Even in your twisted logic, this would give the justification required to demand ID. No violation of the fifth amendment.

                To say otherwise is just nonsensical.

                1. Yes but what if it wasn’t Glover? Would the driver be a suspect if the officer had no idea what Glover looked like? Would he have to identify himself? The plaintiff lost because it was in fact Glover that was driving the car. But what happens when it isn’t?

                  1. Ummm no. You are arguing nonsense. We are talking about probable cause. The cop has Glover’s license information: age, race, height. Depending on the system, maybe even a photo. They know that they are looking for a mid-forties male. They come up. They see a mid-forties male. They have probable cause to ask for ID.

                    If it turns out to be Glover’s brother, or cousin, or whomever, no problem.

                    I might agree if the driver clearly doesn’t fit after visual look (ie: female, teenage boy, etc), but your argument is tantamount to saying that the police cannot enforce a law at all. Catch-22s are not allowed in law. For either the regulators or the regulated.

                    1. “ If it turns out to be Glover’s brother, or cousin, or whomever, no problem.”

                      If it turns out to be Glover’s brother or cousin, then it’s an illegal stop. The brother/cousin was not committing a crime, the officer witnessed no crime, no crime was being reported.

                      If no crime, then the only way for the brother/cousin to be released from the stop, would have been to waived their 5th and identified themselves when no crime had been identified.

                    2. We’re not talking about probable cause, we’re talking about reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion is a much lower standard. Sotomayors’ dissent spoke specifically about individualized suspicion. Let’s take this to private property. If the owner of a house was a felon, and the cops suspected the home owner to be in possession of a firearm. Would it be legal for them to identify EVERYONE in the house at whatever time they decided to investigate? NO. There is a specific person they are investigating (homeowner) and the other people in the house haven’t waived their 5th Amendment simply by being there.

                    3. I swear to God, if you mention the Fifth amendment one more time, I’m gonna scream. It simply isn’t relevant to any of this. You might as well just randomly say “Third Amendment” over and over.

                      In your example, if the homeowner was in the house, the police would have to get a warrant. An arrest warrant would be easiest, one that justified entry into the home to arrest the guy. Then they could certainly detain the people in there until they determined who wasn’t the guy they were looking for.

                    4. Robert, don’t be stupid. A stop can’t be retroactively illegal.

                      If there is cause to do a traffic stop, which has the lowest burden of proof of any form of investigation, you have a legal requirement to present your driver’s license when driving on a public road. If the person is not who was initially suspected, then that doesn’t make the stop illegal. It’s a legal investigation that turned out to be incorrect.

              3. Now I understand your post a little better.

                1. “the officer had no RAS to identify him”
                Of course he did. If he couldn’t identify him, he had no right pulling the car over. Of course, it was n’t conclusive id. But that’s not required, just RS.

                2. ” Not that the driver had to wave his 5th Amendment rights.” Well, like I said before, he didn’t really have 5th Amendment rights until he was custodially interrogated. Which he wasn’t.

                3. If Glover hadn’t answered questions, I suppose he could have been arrested for whatever Kansas’s version of failure to ID is. They may not even have one — but let’s assume you have to ID if you’re legally detained (which he was). Then you’ve got an interesting question about whether he can be convicted of a crime when he was really trying to exercise his right not to incriminate himself. I think the cases go against this interpretation, but I don’t have the time or energy to do the research…..

                1. I suspect Kansas, like most states, makes it a condition of driving on public roads that you have a driver’s license, carry it with you while driving, and show it to police on request.

                  1. Carrying a drivers license is a requirement for most states. But showing it on request is not. That’s stop and ID. You only have to present an ID if your suspected of committing a crime. They can’t just stop you and ask for ID.

                    1. The reality of ID laws is a little more nuanced than you say, but it really doesn’t matter — Glover WAS suspected of having committed a crime.

              4. Please point to any court decision that says it is incriminating to identify oneself, when asked by a police officer.
                At first contact, it hasn’t risen to the level of a “criminal case”, where the 5A comes into effect, at that point.
                It is a basic piece of information that is in no way incriminating.
                By your cockamamie reasoning no one could ever be apprehended for driving while their license was suspended, since all the violator had to do was claim 5th amendment protection from having to identify himself.
                You even admit that the driver is legally required to identify himself if the officer suspects him of committing the crime of driving on a suspended license.

              5. The 5th Amendment only applies if you are actually incriminating yourself.

                And, yes, police can legally ask you to identify yourself even if you haven’t committed a crime.

  16. That’s interesting, but I don’t think (under current law) there’s any legal basis to distinguish between traffic stops for moving violations and those that require more investigation (think of a cop that thinks he sees a crack in your taillight, so he pulls you over to get a better look).

    1. That’s accurate. But once he sees that the taillight ISN’T cracked, he has no authority to identify the driver. They can issue citations for non moving violations by ticketing the owner (parking tickets). But this specific case involves someone operating the vehicle. Let’s say that it wasn’t Mr. Glover driving. Let’s say it was Mrs. Glover. Who shared neither gender nor race with the owner of the vehicle. Does he still have the right to identify someone who is clearly not the owner of the vehicle?

      1. I agree that if he sees the light isn’t cracked, the stop must end without any further bothering of the driver. (Btw, prolonged detentions seem to be the most common way traffic stops are suppressed — cops think that they can just detain the people for as long as they want after the stop shoulda been completed).

        If it was Mrs. Glover, and she was visible from the cop’s car, and she was obviously not the owner of the car, the officer has no reasonable suspicion to pull the car over. And I think you can read the opinion for that proposition.

        1. No it specifically stated that the officer had no idea who was driving the car and made no effort to find out, he just stopped the car, hence the reason for the suit. But because the fact he didn’t know, made it reasonable for him to infer the driver was the owner who had a suspended license.

          1. What I meant was that if the officer HAD seen it was a woman, he wouldn’t be justified in pulling her over. I don’t think he was under any obligation to try to “get a visual” on the driver before pulling the car over.

            It’s not that he doesn’t know who’s driving — it’s just that it’s reasonable to suspect the owner is driving unless you have information to the contrary.

        2. “ If it was Mrs. Glover, and she was visible from the cop’s car, and she was obviously not the owner of the car, the officer has no reasonable suspicion to pull the car over.“

          If it’s reasonable to assume that Mr. Golver (the owner) is driving the car to validate the stop…

          Then it’s just as reasonable to assume that if the owner is NOT driving the car, the car is stolen.

          The court left no scenario in this case that does not “justify” the stop…so then, any stop is now “reasonable”.

          1. I don’t think the word “assume” is helpful. We’re talking about suspicions, not assumptions.
            Even so, my answer to your assertion that it’s reasonable to “assume” the owner is not driving the car is to say “so what”? That doesn’t make it unreasonable to suspect that the owner is driving the car.

            1. Infer is the word SCOTUS used. And the difference in meaning of those two words is the basis of the entire case. To infer something means to deduce something from evidence and reasoning, to assume is to suppose something to be true without proof. Now what evidence did he have to stop the car? I’m telling you there will be another case in which the plaintiff was NOT the owner of car and was charged with a crime. It is extremely common for other people to drive cars not registered to them. Husbands and wives do it every day.

  17. What I did not see in the article, maybe it is in the brief, is why the officer checked the plates in the first place. There nothing to suggest the vehicle was suspect or the driver made and infractions. Which leaves me wonder what was the reason for the suspicion in the first place?

    1. They do that all the time now. Cuz they get bored.

    2. Police do not need a reason to run the license plate check, they can do it completely on a whim. License plate numbers are (obviously) public. As an analogy, a police officer can stand in the train station with a set of pictures of wanted criminals and look at the face of anybody they want to and compare it to the faces on the pictures. They don’t need to wait for something suspicious to occur before comparing the faces with pictures.

      1. Again, I don’t want police officers doing this without a reason. Yes if they have an alert out looking for some one at a train station is fine. But I have a problem with the idea that I will go hang out at the train station, bus station, or airport and look for criminals.

    3. How else can police check for stolen vehicles and license suspension violations and enforce said laws?

  18. Amazing to see what i could assume would be Libertarians siding with the state. I guess libertarians believe in drivers licenses now?

    1. Libertarians have always believed in driver’s licenses, just not state issued ones.

  19. As usual, the affirmative action Justice is wrong yet again.

    If a driver with a suspended license wishes to have their family use the car, then co-register that car. Police have to be allowed and able to track vehicles, for numerous reasons.

    Why do the liberals always side with criminals and illegals ?

    1. In this case not even the liberals sided with the criminals, just Obama’s one lunatic SJW appointee.

  20. It’s great to see Reason blindly siding with an insane SJW.

  21. Sorry, it is reasonable to stop a car registered to someone who is not supposed to be driving. Since these people probably do not have insurance they would be driving illegally. Add to that it harms NO ONE to be stopped and to show their ID since the officer would then find that this is not the owner and let them go (provided they can prove THEY have insurance. Not all Proactive Policing is a bad thing.

    1. Running plates at random fishing for excuses to pull someone over just shows us that police have too much time on their hands. I much prefer officers responding to calls or taking action when criminal activity is witnessed. There’s far too much “someone must be guilty of something” mentality.

  22. Amazing to see what i could assume would be Libertarians siding with the state. I guess libertarians believe in drivers licenses now?

    1. Wow, im posting under two accounts now without me knowing. Technology never ceases to amaze me.

    2. Libertarians have always believed in driver’s licenses, just issued by private authorities; we call them “contracts”. Private enforcement differs from police in that the penalties would be limited to contractually defined remedies (which might well be severe but determined by markets). On the other hand, private enforcement would not be limited by 4A restrictions, so private road patrols could stop you at any time and take away your driving privileges on the owner’s road at any time (unless specified otherwise in your contract, which is unlikely).

    3. We don’t believe in marriage licenses either, but that didn’t stop us from supporting the gay flavor of them.

  23. Car that belongs to someone whose license was suspended.

    There are two possible issues that would warrant a stop.

    Either the owner is driving with a suspended license


    The car may have been stolen.

    Both of those are legit grounds to stop the car to check.

  24. It would seem to me that stopping a vehicle to ask the driver for identification is a simple Terry stop. For that, the fact that the vehicle is registered to someone with a suspended license seems sufficient. If drivers found this too inconvenient, they could always transfer the registration. After all, if the suspended driver can’t drive it and someone else habitually drives it, that seems like the correct thing to do anyway, if not for any other reason than for insurance rates.

    And I don’t know what Sotomayor’s motivations were with this dissent, but I’m certain it wasn’t to uphold the Constitution or protect individual liberties.

    1. Absolutely, on two counts:

      1. It would be an illegal stop.

      2. To be released from the illegal stop, the driver would have had to waive their 5th and identify themselves when no crime had been committed.

  25. Thought experiment: imagine the same situation from the cop’s initial point of view, but upon pulling the vehicle over, the registered owner is not driving. Does the driver have a lawsuit against the cop for an unreasonable seizure?

    1. Absolutely, on two counts:

      1. It would be an illegal stop.

      2. To be released from the illegal stop, the driver would have had to waive their 5th and identify themselves when no crime had been committed.

      1. 1. The legality of the stop doesn’t depend on the result of the identification. So, not illegal.

        2. The 5A doesn’t apply here.

        1. “but upon pulling the vehicle over, the registered owner is not driving.”

          What is the purpose of the stop? Broken tail light? The smell of marijuana? No. The purpose of the stop would only be to identify the driver; not as a result of a crime or driving infraction.

          If the officer ask for ID, for what purpose is he asking? Is he investigating a crime or infraction? No.

          If the non-owner driver wants to be released from the stop, what course of action can the driver take? As the officer observed no crime or infraction, and none were reported…the non-owner driver is not suspect in a crime or infraction. However to be released from the stop, the non-owner drive can not plead the 5th, therefore the non-owner driver must identify himself in the course of an investigation of a crime or infraction that does not/did not exist at the time of the stop.

          If the non-owner driver refuses to ID himself, suddenly there’s a “broken taillight”…the “smell of marijuana”….”driving over the line”.

          1. Driving with a suspended license is a crime.

            And that’s what the owner of the vehicle was doing.

            1. The cop did not know the driver was operating with a suspended license until after the stop. The cop thought that the driver “could be” operating under a suspended licenses.

              If that is now the standard, then any vehicle the cop witness on the road, “could be” operated by someone with a suspended license. Any vehicle “could be” operating with an impaired driver. The only way to know, is to start pulling everyone over.

              Most people only think of the ramifications for the guilty. Few think of the ramifications for the law abiding citizen. The OP posited such a scenario in which I responded.

              A great, current example is our current States “stay at home order”. However, even with a stay at home order, we are “allowed” to go to the grocery store, pharmacy etc.

              So today, I need to go to the pharmacy. A cop witnesses me along that drive. How will he determine if I am abiding by the stay at home order? Well, given this courts decision, he could pull me over and ask. I would have to waive my 5th, answer and ID to be released from the stop.

              But of course I could be lying to the cop about going to the pharmacy. The cop doesn’t believe my story. I “could be lying”, so he gives me a ticket.

              If I decide to go to court, I have no presumption of innocence. I would have waive the 5th again and testify to as to where I was going. The cop needs to present no evidence other than I was on the road.

  26. eh, I could see the case for reasonable suspicion here. Personally, I think that it would be better to take a look at suspended licenses. In this day and age, with how important cars are, I’d say that the only reason you should suspend someone’s license is if they’re a danger behind the wheel (reckless driving, alcohol, etc). Suspending it because they can’t pay a fine just makes the problem worse.

    1. More than half of license suspensions are from unpaid fines.
      7 out of 10 here in TX.

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  28. Was Glover behind the wheel at the time? The sheriff’s deputy had no idea and made no additional efforts to find out. He just pulled the vehicle over.

    Wait a minute, in the ‘hills to die on’ category, it seems the deputy did in fact make an addition effort to find out… he pulled the vehicle over.

  29. If Reason wants to rail against the fact that we need licenses to drive cars, I’m all for it. If Reason wants to rail against the fact that a license can be suspended, I’m all for it.

    But given that we have licenses and they can be suspended, complaining that a police officer correctly suspects as person with a suspended license of having a suspended license based on the common fact that the drivers of cars are generally the owners of those cars, this is a really pathetic hill to die on.

  30. Is there reasonable individual suspicion when you’re driving a stolen car? Just because you’re driving it doesn’t mean you stole the car, after all.

    How exactly is an officer supposed to enforce a suspended license if the only manner of doing so is pulling over the affected vehicle to confirm the identity of the driver? I like the underlying logic here from Sotomayor and she’s right about what families have to do when licenses get suspended, but this is a bit silly…

  31. I have witnessed my FIRST MIRACLE. I actually agree with the Wise Latina about a Constitutional Principle. It’s stunning to me that the other leftists did not support her. The deference given to law enforcement concerning car stops is unjustifiable.

  32. flogging a dead thread but…
    it seems to me that the only reason (heh heh drink) this is an issue is because two disparate government databases have been unconstitutionally mingled…

    What I’m saying is that vehicle registration (the visible part – the license plates, stickers, and other required killjoy devices) requires the name of the owner and payer of taxes of a individual movable.

    A driver’s license is evidence of government level competence in operating a motor vehicle and applies solely to one individual.

    You can own a vehicle and not have a license to drive one (still, but YMMV), And you can have a license to drive a vehicle but not own a vehicle.

    So that when officer revenue enhancement scans your tax status from license plate, he should only find ‘paid’ or ‘unpaid’ and then act to collect that needed revenue. In this case – tax paid, move along to easier pickings.

    If you annoy an officer in traffic, like pointing out their lack of directional usage, they may stop you and ask to see your credentials for making a critique such as that. When they find out you are not police and they continue the action, they may find out that you were at the top of your class at “McDriverU dotcom and that you have 6 points already against you. They will certainly find your name and address. Most states will tell them that you dare to be prepared to defend yourself. (If you haven’t already disarmed and exposed yourself to them by that point you will now be standing outside your car). What they should not get from that permission card is any linkage to vehicles you own.

    The two have no reason (he he drink) to be linked in a government database. And so in this case, would never have been looked at. It was a legal vehicle and otherwise undifferentiated from any other.

    Perhaps the discussion is “do cops need that linkage of information”.

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