The Taft Court (1921–30)

Criminal Justice and Procedure

CourtSpeak: Carroll v. United States
Fourth Amendment Automobile Exception Case (1925)

Chief Justice William Howard Taft (majority): “The intent of Congress to make a distinction between the necessity for a search warrant in the searching of private dwellings and in that of automobiles and other road vehicles in the enforcement of the Prohibition Act is thus clearly established by the legislative history of the Stanley Amendment. Is such a distinction consistent with the Fourth Amendment? We think that it is, the Fourth Amendment does not denounce all searches or seizures, but only such as are unreasonable.”

Justice James McReynolds (dissenting): “The damnable character of the ‘bootlegger’s’ business should not close our eyes to the mischief which will surely follow any attempt to destroy it by unwarranted methods.”


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