Foreword: Great Dissents in Fourth Amendment Cases

Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2009

7 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2009

See all articles by Thomas K. Clancy

Thomas K. Clancy

University of Mississippi School of Law

Date Written: December 17, 2009


What makes a dissent “great”? Depending on one’s point of view, there are many candidates for such designation, ranging from Justice Brandies’ dissent in Olmstead, which first proposed privacy as a centralizing principle and offered a broad view of the applicability of the Amendment, Justice Frankfurter’s defense of the warrant preference model of reasonableness, Justice Brennan’s normative approach to privacy in such cases as Greenwood, to Justice Black’s conservative views of the structure of the Fourth Amendment in Katz and Berger. But is there more to a dissent that makes it important beyond espousing a particular point of view? Is it the clarity of the vision? Is it the principled nature of the opinion? Is it merely the author’s facility with language or the sentiment expressed? Is it the fact that, in a subsequent case, that view prevailed?

Five dissents are examined in the artcles written for volume 80 of the Mississippi Law Journal. The authors have chosen the seminal dissents of Justice Brandeis in Olmstead v. United States, Justice Douglas in Terry v. Ohio, Justice Harlan in United States v. White, Justice Marshall in Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, and Justice O’Connor in Atwater v. Lago Vista. The distinguished authors are Professor Paul Butler of The George Washington University Law School, Professor Catherine Hancock of Tulane University School of Law, Professor Arnold H. Loewy of Texas Tech University School of Law, Professor Wayne A. Logan of Florida State University College of Law, and Professor Carol S. Steiker of Harvard Law School.

Keywords: fourth amendment

Suggested Citation

Clancy, Thomas K., Foreword: Great Dissents in Fourth Amendment Cases (December 17, 2009). Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Thomas K. Clancy (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi School of Law ( email )

Lamar Law Center
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
United States
662-832-5244 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics