Ipse Dixit


Jeffrey Bellin on Fourth Amendment Textualism

Season 1, Ep. 287

In this episode, Jeffrey Bellin, Professor of Law and University Professor for Teaching Excellence at William & Mary Law School, discusses his paper "Fourth Amendment Textualism," forthcoming in the Michigan Law Review. Bellin begins by exploring the problems with current Fourth Amendment “search” jurisprudence and its reliance on Katz v. United States’ amorphous 'reasonable expectation of privacy' test. He notes that current Fourth Amendment doctrine is nonintuitive and unclear for both state actors and the general public, and recommends, instead, a textualist approach. He expounds upon the approach, defining “search” in an intuitive manner, as well as offering definitions for the remaining applicable textual components of the Fourth Amendment, “their” and "persons, houses, papers, and effects," and discusses how such an approach would work in the twenty-first century. He concludes by discussing why this approach might be an improvement, and what scholars, lawyers, and the courts should take away from his proposal. Bellin is on Twitter at @BellinJ.

This episode was hosted by Luce Nguyen, a college student and co-founder of the Oberlin Policy Research Institute, an undergraduate public policy research organization based at Oberlin College. Nguyen is on Twitter at @NguyenLuce.

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