So let’s start the New Year right with a shout out to another blogger, my nephew, Connor Finch. A recent graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and on his way to a job in DC, he’s spent time in between with the ACLU of Virginia. He recently blogged about a case just argued in the Supreme Court touching on an issue we addressed when discussing about a recent Law Court decision – warrantless searches in the curtilage.
Here’s that recent blog on the Law Court decision to refresh your recollection: The Law Court and human error
Here’s Connor’s blog on the pending Supreme Court case: Get a Warrant: Private Driveways Should Be Protected from Warrantless Searches
Here’s a link to Scotusblog’s page for the pending Supreme Court case, Collins v. Virginia. http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/collins-v-virginia/
The fact predicate and issue in Collins are like a law school exam on the Fourth Amendment: a police officer walked onto private property and searched a motorcycle in the driveway of a house, without a warrant but with probable cause. The transcript of the oral argument, two days ago, is here: Transcript.
Fourth Amendment cases, like First Amendment, can be interesting because they don’t necessarily divide on predictable conservative v. liberal lines. Indeed, in Collins, the NRA and the ACLU are on the same side (yikes!), and Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch seemed to be on the same page (yikes again).
As for the Chief Justice, whom I like to think of as a local because of his summer home in Maine, he invoked Jay Leno and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (see p. 53 of the transcript).
Justice Ginsburg suggested punting, and remanding for an exigency analysis. To quote Ferris: “The question isn’t what are we going to do, the question is what aren’t we going to do?”