No More Chipping Away: The Roberts Court Uses an Axe to Take Out the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule
47 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2012 Last revised: 19 Apr 2012
Date Written: March 19, 2012
This article considers the current status of the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule under the Roberts Court, as well as what the future holds for the rule. Despite Justice Kennedy’s 2006 declaration that “the continued operation of the exclusionary rule, as settled and defined by our precedents, is not in doubt,” this Article demonstrates why this is not the case. Kennedy’s statement is noteworthy and has been accorded substantial weight primarily because it was made at a time when it was thought that four Justices (Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) were prepared to announce the demise of the exclusionary rule. Part I of the article provides the background for the Court’s recent suppression rulings and Kennedy’s 2006 statement. Part II then considers the substance and worth of Kennedy’s statement as it pertains to Davis v. United States and Herring v. United States, the Court’s most recent rulings on the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule. Part III considers the meaning of Kennedy’s statement in light of the attenuation rule announced in Hudson v. Michigan, which imposed a significant restriction on suppression as a remedy to deter Fourth Amendment violations.
Keywords: Fourth Amendment, Exclusionary Rule, Roberts Court, Davis v. United States, Herring v. United States, Hudson v. Michigan
JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation