Posts Tagged ‘SCOTUS’

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Warrants for Taking a Blood Sample

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police officers are required to obtain a search warrant before a blood sample is collected from a suspected DWI offender.  The ruling emerged from a state court case, Missouri vs. McNeely (PDF), in which the Missouri Supreme Court held that a warrant was required to take a blood sample, unless exigent circumstances existed making a warrantless search necessary.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the Missouri Court and, in their written opinion, specifically held that:

In drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.

A number of amicus briefs were filed with the Supreme Court prior to the decision, including one by the organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (PDF), that opposed the warrant requirement, and the National College for DUI Defense (PDF) that argued in favor of securing warrants in DWI cases.

So, what do you think? Did the Supreme Court get it right? Vote in this week’s poll and see the results for yourself!

Thanks to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Kent College of Law, audio recordings of U.S. Supreme Court arguments going back to 1955 are now available online.  If you’ve never heard the Justices deliberate before, doing so can provide some very revealing insights into the positions behind decisions the Court has made over the years.

The Oyez database is searchable and can also be sorted in a number of ways to help locate cases of interest, including by year or by case type.

Cases by Issue - Death Penalty - The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

According to NPR’s article on the project, the recordings also provide a glimpse into how the court has evolved its daily practices over time. According to the article, the founder of the Oyez site, Jerry Goldman, had this to say on that point:

“In the 1950s and ’60s, advocates could elaborate at length without interruption, drone on in some circumstances,” he says. “That is very rare in the Supreme Court today. I don’t think you can get 20 words in before someone on the bench poses a question.”

I would think these recordings would be a rich source of information for students, researchers, journalists, and others interested in mining them for political science, social science, or legal studies.

Give them a listen!