In Hudson v. Palmer, the United States Supreme Court, by a 5–4 majority, adopted a "bright-line" rule holding that "the fourth amendment proscription against unreasonable searches does not apply within the confines of the prison cell." For the substantial number of citizens who are presently or will in the future be incarcerated, this rule will have a significant impact. It is the conclusion of this article that the Supreme Court, in Hudson v. Palmer, unnecessarily deprived prison inmates of minimal fourth amendment protections without a concomitant enhancement of the state's asserted interest in penal security. This conclusion is substantiated in several sections that discuss the pre-Hudson case law, exploring its rationales, analysis, and factual settings. In addition, the Hudson opinion is critiqued to demonstrate that the Court needlessly withdrew the fourth amendment's protection of an inmate's privacy in his prison cell.
Blinding Fundamental Rights with "Bright-Line" Rules: Hudson v. Palmer, 104 S.Ct. 3194 (1984),
64 Neb. L. Rev.
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