Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion: Totality Tests or Rigid Rules?

01 Jan 2014

This piece argues that the Supreme Court's April 2014 decision in Navarette v. Calfornia, like last Term's opinion in Florida v. Harris, deviates from longstanding Supreme Court precedent treating probable cause and reasonable suspicion as totality-of-the-circumstances tests. Instead, these two recent rulings essentially rely on rigid rules to define probable cause and reasonable suspicion. The article criticizes the Court for selectively endorsing bright-line tests that favor the prosecution, and argues that both decisions generate rules that oversimplify and therefore tend to be overinclusive.