Time Travel, Hovercrafts, and the Framers: James Madison Sees the Future and Rewrites the Fourth Amendment


The Framers could not have contemplated the interpretational problems that cloud the Fourth Amendment because police, in the modern sense, were unknown to the Framers. Also unknown to the Framers, of course, were wiretaps, drug interdiction searches, thermal imagining, helicopters, and blood tests. We can infer from the history surrounding the Fourth Amendment what the Framers hoped it would accomplish in their time. What if the Framers could have seen the future and known the kind of police techniques that are being used today? What kind of Fourth Amendment would they have written with that knowledge? This article seeks to answer this question.

80 Notre Dame L. Rev. 4 (2005). Reprinted with permission © by Notre Dame Law Review, University of Notre Dame. The publisher bears responsibility for any errors which have occurred in reprinting or editing.


Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure

Date of this Version

June 2005