Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Georgia v. Randolph


Just a few quick comments on the Supreme Court’s ruling today in Georgia v. Randolph. There, the Court held, by a vote of 5-3, that although an occupant can give effective consent to a police search of premises that she shares with a co-occupant who later objects to the evidence obtained, and although the co-occupant would have had no basis for complaining if the consenting occupant had instead personally delivered the evidence to the police, the occupant’s consent is invalid, for Fourth Amendment purposes, if the co-occupant is physically present at the time and states his own objection to the search. If you find that sentence tough to navigate, good luck getting through Justice Souter’s majority opinion. Note also how Souter, after joining last term’s controversial ruling in the Kelo takings case (and after facing an ensuing effort to take his own home), falsely tries to position himself as a defender of the principle that “a man’s home is his castle.”

Chief Justice Roberts’s dissent provides further evidence that he will be a great justice (though the fact that it’s a dissent makes clear that we need more good justices). And Justice Scalia, who joined Roberts’s dissent, responds devastatingly to a silly concurring opinion by Justice Stevens in which Stevens, misplaying the gender card, misfires at originalism.


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