Most who will read this blog will know by now that the U.S. Supreme Courtmade its ruling in U.S. v. Jones, 565 U. S. ____ (2012)(No. 10–1259). Most will believe the press that the court announced sweeping rules requiring a warrant any time law enforcement uses a GPS to track a vehicle. Some, however, will realize like Professor Orin Kerr, that this was actually a very narrow ruling.
The majority of the Court decided that attaching a GPS unit to a vehicle was a “trespass,” and that “trespass” constituted a fourth amendment “search.” Because the government attorneys arguing the case at the courts below theSupreme Court didn’t address fully whether the search was reasonable, but only argued that it was reasonable at the Supreme Court, the Court found that the issue of “Reasonable Search” was waived-but only for the Jones case.i Future cases that can argue that attaching a GPS unit is reasonable may not be excluded by the 4th amendment.