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‘A More Majestic Conception:’ The Importance of Judicial Integrity in Preserving the Exclusionary Rule


Robert M. Bloom


Boston College Law School

David H. Fentin


Boston College

May 3, 2010

University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Forthcoming
Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 196

Abstract:     
In Mapp v. Ohio (1961), the Warren Court held that the so-called exclusionary rule was applicable to the states. Subsequent Supreme Courts have shown their disenchantment with the rule by seeking to curb its applicability. Most recently, the Court has characterized the exclusionary rule as a “massive remedy” to be applied only as a “last resort.” The Courts’ analytical framework for the last thirty-five years for cutting back the exclusionary rule was a balancing test which weighed the costs of suppressing reliable evidence with the benefits of deterring future police violations.

This balancing has been used most recently in two Supreme Court cases, Michigan v. Hudson (2006) and Herring v. United States (2009). In Herring, Justice Ginsberg’s dissent pointed out that there was a “more majestic conception” for the exclusionary rule due to its important role in preserving judicial integrity. Judicial integrity was the original reason for adopting the exclusionary rule in the Supreme Court case of Weeks v. United States (1914). The Court in Weeks saw the exclusionary rule as a remedy that would give meaning to the Fourth Amendment as well as prevent the Court from participating in an illegality by utilizing unlawfully obtained evidence. Through balancing, the Court has eviscerated the relevance of judicial integrity as the original justification for the exclusionary rule. This article will demonstrate that the exclusionary rule is the only viable remedy to give meaning to the Fourth Amendment, and argues that the exclusionary rule be returned to its previous prominence by reinstating judicial integrity as its primary purpose.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: Exclusionary rule, 4th amendment, Fourth amendment, judicial integrity

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Date posted: May 4, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Robert M. and Fentin, David H., ‘A More Majestic Conception:’ The Importance of Judicial Integrity in Preserving the Exclusionary Rule (May 3, 2010). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Forthcoming; Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 196. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1599890

Contact Information

Robert M. Bloom (Contact Author)
Boston College Law School ( email )
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
David H. Fentin
Boston College ( email )
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States
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