Two Models of the Fourth Amendment

Fourth amendment critics rank in rows, and it has been repeatedly pointed out that individual cases are inconsistent with each other or that whole chunks of doctrine, such as the automobile exception or the plain view exception, are either misconceived, too broad, or too narrow. But these critics all play the Court on its own field, simply arguing as tenth Justices that the doctrines should be tinkered with in different ways than the Court has done. This Article, in contrast, suggests that current fourth amendment law, complete with the constant tinkering which it necessarily entails, should be abandoned altogether. Instead, there are two, and only two, ways of looking at the fourth amendment which will provide the police with reasonably coherent direction as to how they must proceed and the courts with a consistent basis for decision.