United States v. Jones: Privacy in Public Space? Piece it all Together and You Get 5.

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3 Responses

  1. JB says:

    Great post. Any thoughts on what the five Justices who single out the use of longer term GPS monitoring in investigations “of most offenses” mean to accomplish by limiting their rule to “most offenses”? As the majority points out, Fourth Amendment rules — and particularly definitions of “search” — rarely vary based on the nature of the crime being investigated. Something new here too?

  2. Cilla Smith says:

    Thanks for the reply. In response to your question, “JB”, first, I’d say that it is not clear that when Justice Sotomayor says she agrees “with JUSTICE ALITO that, at the very least, ‘longer term GPS monitoring in investigations of most offenses impinges on expectations of privacy,’” she means to be adopting the “of most offenses” part of the rule or just the rule that prolonged monitoring by GPS intrudes on privacy. Certainly, she doesn’t address the “most offenses” language and spends most of her opinion addressing the ways in which GPS monitoring in public spaces violates privacy. So maybe there are only 4 Justices on that issue. On the other hand, the language is clearly disturbing, and it seems that if she objected to it, especially given Scalia’s riff on it, she would have said so. Or maybe she thinks it’s just so off the wall that it isn’t worth mentioning. As to why Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan would sign on to that language maybe that was Alito’s demand to get him to rule with them on the broader issue. So while I think it is something to keep an eye on, something that potentially blows a huge whole in the Fourth Amendment’s protections, I am finding it hard to get too vexed by it at this point. Savoring what I can.

  3. amara says:

    can you tell me what is the majority opinion of united states v. jones