Panvasive Surveillance, Political Process Theory and the Nondelegation Doctrine

64 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2014  

Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: April 23, 2014

Abstract

Using the rise of the surveillance state as its springboard, this Article makes a new case for the application of administrative law principles to law enforcement. It goes beyond asserting, as scholars of the 1970s did, that law enforcement should be bound by the types of rules that govern other executive agencies, by showing how the imperative of administrative regulation flows from a version of John Hart Ely’s political process theory and principles derived from the closely associated nondelegation doctrine. Part I introduces the notion of panvasive law enforcement — large-scale police actions that are not based on individualized suspicion — and exposes the incoherence of the Supreme Court’s “special needs” treatment of panvasive investigative techniques under the Fourth Amendment. It then contrasts the Court’s jurisprudence, and the variations of it proposed by scholars, to the representation-reinforcing alternative suggested by Ely’s work, which would require that panvasive searches and seizures be approved by a body that is representative of the affected group and be applied evenly. Part II explores the impact of political process theory on panvasive surveillance that is not currently considered a search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment, using fusion centers, camera surveillance, drone flights and the NSA’s metadata program as examples. Part III mines administrative law principles to show how the rationale underlying the nondelegation doctrine — if not the (supposedly moribund) doctrine itself — can help ensure that the values of representative democracy and transparency are maintained even once control over panvasive surveillance is largely ceded to the Executive Branch.

Keywords: surveillance, Fourth Amendment, political process theory, Ely, Ackerman, nondelegation doctrine, drones, fusion centers, NSA, CCTV

Suggested Citation

Slobogin, Christopher, Panvasive Surveillance, Political Process Theory and the Nondelegation Doctrine (April 23, 2014). Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 102, 2014; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 14-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2428391

Christopher Slobogin (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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