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administrative searches, disentanglement, dragnets


Administrative Law | Law


Scholars have long used the term "administrative search cases" to refer to judicial decisions dealing with searches carried out by officials other than the police and designed to implement prohibitions that are as much regulatory as criminal. These searches include health and safety inspections, roadblocks, drug testing, and searches of school children and public employees for evidence of rule violations. In her article Disentangling Administrative Searches,' Professor Eve Brensike Primus makes three distinct claims about the Supreme Court's decisions on this subject. Her first and most important argument is that, contrary to the usual view, these cases are not all linked jurisprudentially but rather encompass two distinct lines of decisions. The first line of cases is focused on "dragnets" that involve area or group searches aimed at addressing a specific problem (health and safety inspections, roadblocks, group drug testing). The second deals with searches of people belonging to "special subpopulations" associated with a lesser expectation of privacy (students, employees, probationers).



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