Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence

Juval O. Scott, The Myth of Objectivity in Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence, 36 Criminal Justice 13 (No. 1 Spring 2021):

People of color, especially Black and Indigenous Americans, do not have the luxury of revising history and how it defines our existence in the United States. Though this country was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, the founders intended something else. By men, they meant white men— not women nor anyone with melanin in their skin, and especially not the people whose land they stole or whose bodies they owned. Embedded in the fabric of this country is a horrific history, and our legal system continues to perpetuate the less-than-equal historical legacy among Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).


Decades of litigation have assured the BIPOC community access to the promises of the Constitution. But the centimeter-by-centimeter approach to providing basic human rights has done little to truly even the imbalance. The inequity inherent in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence is one of many areas that must be reconsidered from a racially informed perspective. A court that continues to protect police under the guise of qualified immunity, and, at the same time, admits illegally obtained evidence by those same officers, is complicit in gutting constitutional rights for the BIPOC community. This is especially true for the individuals who reside in poor neighborhoods.

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