What Does the Fourth Amendment Protect: Property, Privacy, or Security
Wake Forest Law Review, Vol 33, p. 307, 1998
64 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2010
Date Written: April 3, 2009
In this article, Professor Clancy argues that the essential attribute of the Fourth Amendment’s right of persons “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” is the ability of the individual to exclude the government from unreasonably intruding into those specified objects. Although privacy, human dignity, dislike for the government, and other states of mind may motivate the exercise of the right to exclude, they are not synonymous with the right. Thus, the Fourth Amendment right to be “secure” is not predicated upon positive attributes such as notions of privacy. Rather, the Fourth Amendment right to be “secure” is equivalent to the right to exclude.
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