Fourth Amendment

Should the government be able to read your emails?

Short Video on Private Servers and the 4th Amendment in the Information Age featuring Amy Peikoff
Amy Peikoff February 10, 2016

Southwestern Law School’s Visiting Associate Professor Amy Peikoff explains the Third Party Doctrine of the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment Doctrine. Under the Third Party Doctrine, the government does not need a warrant in order to obtain information entrusted to a third party, such as a bank, cell phone company, or email server. Thus, individuals who utilize their personal server for email may effectively keep their emails private while those using a commercial email server such as gmail do not have the same privacy.

City of Los Angeles v. Patel - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 3-9-15 featuring Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz
Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz March 09, 2015

On March 3, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in City of Los Angeles v. Patel. This case presents two questions. The first question in this case is whether the Fourth Amendment permits facial challenges to municipal ordinances and statutes or only “as-applied” challenges. The second question is whether warrantless police searches of hotel guest registries, which include information that a guest is required by law to provide, are unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

To discuss the case, we have Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, who is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.

City of Los Angeles v. Patel: What is the Proper Structure of a Fourth Amendment Challenge? - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz March 04, 2015

On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in City of Los Angeles v. Patel. Los Angeles has an ordinance that requires hotels to maintain certain records about their guests and to produce those records for police officers upon request. The officer does not necessarily need a warrant or any particular suspicion. Hoteliers claim that this regime violates the Fourth Amendment. Interestingly, the hoteliers do not allege that any particular search was illegal. Is this kind of “facial” Fourth Amendment challenge to a statute or ordinance (as opposed to an “as applied” challenge to a particular search carried out under the statute) permissible? This issue raises fundamental questions about the constitutional structure of judicial review, with importance reaching far beyond the Fourth Amendment context.

  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Georgetown University Law Center

The Reach of Federal Warrants - The Microsoft Case - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
James M. Garland, David Howard February 11, 2015

In December of 2014, Microsoft filed a brief with the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York to prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from seizing a customer’s data stored in Dublin, Ireland. It’s a case that raises important questions about the right of Americans to know what the government and companies are doing with sensitive electronic data. How do we ensure accountability both to the law through reasonable regulation, and to the courts through effective judicial review? The case also raises questions about the rights of people in other countries. Will they continue to have their privacy rights protected by their own laws? Anticipating a world where every device is a connected device, these are but a few of the important questions raised by this case regarding the future of privacy and regulations going forward.

  • James M. Garland, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP
  • David Howard, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

Heien v. North Carolina - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 1-26-15 featuring Ryan Scott
Ryan Scott January 26, 2015

On December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Heien v. North Carolina, the question in this case was whether a police officer’s mistaken understanding of a law can provide the reasonable suspicion that the Fourth Amendment requires to justify a traffic stop.

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that a police officer's reasonable mistake of law can give rise to the reasonable suspicion necessary to justify a stop under the Fourth Amendment. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Kagan filed a concurring opinion which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion. The decision of the Supreme Court of North Carolina was affirmed. 

To discuss the case, we have Ryan Scott, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.