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The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches by the state without a warrant. The Court has long struggled with questions of what constitutes a search and under what circumstances the acquisition of a warrant by police is an unreasonable hurdle to legitimate safety concerns of the public. Mitchell asks these questions in the context of drawing a blood alcohol test from an unconscious driver. One side argues that drivers have provided implied consent when signing up for a license in order to protect the entire public from harm, while the other side argues that such a personal bodily invasion is not allowed under the Fourth Amendment.
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A plurality opinion is the controlling judgment when a majority of Justices agree on the outcome but not on the justification or reasoning; only a smaller number—the plurality—offer an opinion that explains the Court’s position, which may limit the power of the ruling.
Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ___ (2016).
Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. 141 (2013).
Schmerber v. California, 383 U.S. 757 (1966).
Mitchell decision, page 10.
Ibid., page 11 (quoting McNeely, 169).
Ibid., page 8 (quoting McNeely, 149).
Ibid., page 9.
Ibid., page 13.
Ibid., page 15.
Ibid., page 16.
Mitchell Thomas concurrence, page 1.
Mitchell Sotomayor dissent, page 11.
Ibid., page 13.
Ibid., page 18.
- Mitchell v. Wisconsin on Blood Alcohol Tests Under the Fourth Amendment
Pamela C. Corley
- Springer International Publishing
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- Chapter 10
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