In a 6-3 decision issued today in the case of Rodriguez v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Nebraska police violated the Fourth Amendment by extending an otherwise lawful traffic stop in order to let a drug-sniffing dog investigate the outside of the vehicle.
According to the majority opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, â€œa police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitutionâ€™s shield against unreasonable seizures.â€ […]
During the January 2015 oral argument in the case, Justice Sonia Sotomayor previewed the Courtâ€™s skepticism towards the police officerâ€™s approach. â€œWe can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement,â€ Sotomayor declared. â€œParticularly when this stop is not incidental to the purpose of the stop. It’s purely to help the police get more criminals, yes. But then the Fourth Amendment becomes a useless piece of paper.â€