"It will be difficult for an officer to explain to the family of a motorist killed by that swerve that the police had a tip that the driver of the other car was drunk, but that they were powerless to pull him over, even for a quick check."
Chief Justice John Roberts, talking tough about drunk driving, as he dissents from a denial of certiorari, in a case where the state court said it violates the Fourth Amendment to pull over a driver based solely on an anonymous tip. (The police responding to the call did not see the driver do anything wrong.)
Some state courts have said this is not a search-and-seizure violation and some have said it is. How important do you think it is that this interpretation of federal constitutional law now varies from state to state? Should the U.S. Supreme Court become involved when a state has given what might be an overly generous meaning to a constitutional right? Or can we tolerate this diversity of interpretation?
Roberts displays empathy for potential victims of drunk drivers, but what about empathy for the decent driver who might be the target of some fellow citizen who decides he wants to make trouble for you? There's that ex-boyfriend/asshole neighbor/right-wing blogger having 2 glasses of wine with dinner and then heading out to his car for a super-careful 3-mile drive home. Let's call the cops! Is the world out of whack if the state of Virginia thinks the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures requires a bit more than an anonymous tip?