UNITED STATES SUPREME COURTBefore:- Roberts, C.J. Alto, Kennedy Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Thomas, JJ.
Nos. 14-1468, 14-1470, and 14-1507. D/d. 23.6.2016.
Danny Birchfield - Petitioner
North Dakota - Respondent
30. The Amendment thus prohibits "unreasonable searches," and our cases establish that the taking of a blood sample or the administration of a breath test is a search. See Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives' Assn., 489 U.S. 602, 616-617 (1989); Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 767-768 (1966). The question, then, is whether the warrant-less searches at issue here were reasonable. See Vernonia School Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646, 652 (1995) ("As the text of the Fourth Amendment indicates, the ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a governmental search is 'reasonableness'").
38. One Fourth Amendment historian has observed that, prior to American independence, "[a]nyone arrested could expect that not only his surface clothing but his body,luggage, and saddlebags would be searched and, perhaps,his shoes, socks, and mouth as well." W. Cuddihy, The Fourth Amendment: Origins and Original Meaning: 602-1791, p. 420 (2009).
96. The "ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is 'reasonableness.'" Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 403 (2006). A citizen's Fourth Amendment right to be free from "unreasonable searches" does not disappear upon arrest. Police officers may want to conduct a range of searches after placing a person under arrest. They may want to pat the arrestee down, search her pockets and purse, peek inside her wallet, scroll through her cellphone, examine her car or dwelling, swab her cheeks, or take blood and breath samples to determine her level of intoxication. But an officer is not authorised to conduct all of these searches simply because he has arrested someone. Each search must be separately analysed to determine its reasonableness.