Fourth Amendment advocates scored a victory today when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against a warrantless police search that involved an officer entering private property for the purpose of examining a motorcycle stored under a tarp in the driveway near a home. “In physically intruding on the curtilage of [Ryan Austin] Collins’ home to search the motorcycle,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the majority in Collins v. Virginia, the officer “not only invaded Collins’ Fourth Amendment interest in the item searched, i.e., the motorcycle, but also invaded Collins’ Fourth Amendment interest in the curtilage of his home.”
The central question before the Supreme Court in Collins v. Virginia was whether the so-called automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment, which allows the police certain latitude to search vehicles on public streets without a warrant, also allows the police to walk up a driveway without a warrant and search a vehicle parked in the area near a house. The Court ruled 8-1 that the automobile exception should not apply in this scenario.
Read the rest at Reason.com.
How clear are these opening words of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”? Judging by the U.S. Supreme Court's many ventures into this area, we'd have to say not very clear...