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    This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.

99-1030 on Oct 3, 2000

Decided Nov 28, 2000
Indianapolis operates vehicle checkpoints on its roads in an effort to interdict unlawful drugs. Mr. Edmond was stopped at such a checkpoint, and filed suit, claiming that the roadblocks violated the Fourth Amendmentís rule that a search or seizure is unreasonable absent individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.


(OíConnor, joined by Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, & Stevens)
We previously held that brief, suspicionless seizures at highway checkpoints for the purposes of combating drunk driving and intercepting illegal immigrants were constitutional. We now consider [applying that to] illegal narcotics. Because the checkpoint programís primary purpose is indistinguishable from the general interest in crime control, the checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment.


(Rehnquist, joined by Scalia & Thomas)
The Stateís use of a drug-sniffing dog, according to the Courtís holding, annuls what is otherwise plainly constitutional under our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: brief, standardized, discretionless, roadblock seizures of automobiles, seizures which effectively serve a weighty state interest with only minimal intrusion on the privacy of their occupants. Because these seizures serve the Stateís accepted and significant interests of preventing drunken driving and checking for driverís licenses and vehicle registrations, and because there is nothing in the record to indicate that the addition of the dog sniff lengthens these otherwise legitimate seizures, I dissent.

Additional dissent:

I am not convinced [the original drunk-driving & immigration roadblock cases] were correctly decided. I rather doubt that the Framers would have considered ďreasonableĒ a program of indiscriminate stops of individuals not suspected of wrongdoing. But Mr. Edmond did not advocate the overruling [of the original cases, so I join in the dissent].

    Participating counts on VoteMatch question 19. Question 19: Marijuana is a gateway drug Scores: -2=Strongly oppose; -1=Oppose; 0=neutral; 1=Support; 2=Strongly support.
  • Topic: Drugs
  • Headline: No roadblocks with drug-sniffing dogs (Score: -1)
  • Headline 2: Roadblocks with drug-sniffing dogs are OK (Score: 2)
  • Headline 3: Treat drug roadblocks the same as drunk-driving roadblocks (Score: 1)

  • Key for participation codes:
  • Sponsorships: p=sponsored; o=co-sponsored; s=signed
  • Memberships: c=chair; m=member; e=endorsed; f=profiled; s=scored
  • Resolutions: i=introduced; w=wrote; a=adopted
  • Cases: w=wrote; j=joined; d=dissented; c=concurred
  • Surveys: '+' supports; '-' opposes.

Democrats participating in 99-1030

Stephen Breyer j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 

Republicans participating in 99-1030

Anthony Kennedy j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Sandra Day O`Connor w1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2005) 
William Rehnquist w2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (until 2005) 
Antonin Scalia j2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
David Souter j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2009) 
John Paul Stevens j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2010) 
Clarence Thomas w3dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 

Independents participating in 99-1030

Total recorded by OnTheIssues:

Democrats: 2
Republicans: 7
Independents: 0

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