Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dude, Where's My Warrant?

Five-four decisions are nothing new for this Supreme Court, but since when are those five Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg, plus Scalia and Thomas? Very strange.

The five majority judges agreed that cops don’t have blanket authority to search your car just because you happen to be in your car when they arrest you. In other words, if you’re busted for driving without a license, they can’t search the car randomly looking for any other violations such as possession of marijuana.

However, the cops still can search your car if they think there might be evidence related to the offense at hand--presumably meaning that if you’re getting arrested for DUI then they can still search the car for booze (and bust you for anything else they find in the process).

I’m not sure where I come down on this issue. Obviously it’s a weird and confusing one to split the Justices like that.

1 comment:

GoldnI said...

It's actually not all that strange, that particular combination of justices have formed the majority in at least a few other criminal procedure cases. Scalia in particular supports strong enforcement of the 4th Amendment.