The Man’s Best Friend

In his opinion for the majority of the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia writes:

The government’s use of trained police dogs to investigate the home and it’s surroundings is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

Ann Althouse has more on the decision.

4 thoughts on “The Man’s Best Friend


  1. Previously the SC said that a search by a dog was a constitutional nothing, not a search at all. In that context it was dogs going by cars. I am not bully on modern 4th A doctrine and exclusionary rule, but it didn’t make much sense if all these other things were called searches, that this was not. So this is a move toward greater consistency.


    • Truth. But the question remains, will the warrant be issued in English so the handlers can understand it or in phonetic Dog so the canine officers can understand it? Must have consistency. If the canine is an officer with all the rights of an officer (it’s death in the line of duty a prosecutable offense of at minimum assault on a police officer in many jurisdictions), then it should be informed of the warrant in a language they understand! /satire


    • If I recall, that case revolved around the aspect that the dog sniff was incidental to the original stop and did not cause the stop to last longer than the original purpose of the stop. i.e. it occured simultaneously while the purpose of the stop (immigration check) was conducted. (Or so was claimed by the state.)

      Still made it a ‘search’ in my book, but, I’m not in a position where my opinion matters…


  2. Eh, from what I understand, it’s the philosophy of the sanctity of the home; a lot of things are searches and seizures in and near your house that aren’t when you’re not in your own demesne.

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