Sotomayor, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II–A, II–B, and IV, in which Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Kagan, JJ., joined, and an opinion with respect to Parts II–C and III, in which Scalia, Ginsburg, and Kagan, JJ., joined. Kennedy, J., filed an opinion concurring in part. Roberts, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Breyer and Alito, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion.I start with Justice Thomas, who says the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is always the "exigent circumstance" that avoids the warrant requirement. He gives a clear rule.
The Chief Justice writes:
I have no quarrel with the Court’s “totality of the circumstances” approach as a general matter; that is what our cases require. But the circumstances in drunk driving cases are often typical, and the Court should be able to offer guidance on how police should handle cases like the one before us.He would say that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is an exigent circumstance unless there is time to get a warrant. He wants something closer to a rule. Kennedy, who is the one who deprives Sotomayor of a majority in some parts of her opinion, wants less of a rule from the Court, so that states and local governments can work out their own rules.
And here's Sotomayor:
The State’s proposed per se rule... fails to account for advances in the 47 years since Schmerber was decided that allow for the more expeditious processing of warrant applications, particularly in contexts like drunk-driving investigations where the evidence offered to establish probable cause is simple....Basically, using the telephone, it can be made very easy to get these warrants. You wouldn't want to remove the incentive on the police to set up these procedures and to make them efficient and thus to avoid the destruction-of-evidence problem.