The Rehnquist Court (1986–2005)

Criminal Justice

How did the Rehnquist Court rule on the constitutionality of roadblocks?

In its 2000 decision City of Indianapolis v. Edmonds, the Court invalidated a city policy of instituting roadblocks to search for drug smugglers. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in her majority opinion: “We cannot sanction stops justified only by the generalized and ever-present possibility that interrogation and inspection may reveal that any given motorist has committed some crime.” The Court distinguished this type of roadblock from the sobriety checkpoints that it has approved in past decisions.

U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. Getty Images.

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