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Drunk Driving Sobriety Checkpoints

Justice Brennan, with Marshall joining, dissented:

Presumably, the Court purports to thaw support from Martinez-Fuentez, supra, which is he only case in which, the Court has upheld a program that subjects tile public to suspicionless seizures. . . In Martinez-Fuentez, the Court explained that suspicionless stops were justified because “a requirement that stops be based on reasonable suspicion would be impractical because the flow of traffic tends to he too heavy to allow the particularized study of a given car that would enable it to be identified as a possible carrier of illegal aliens.'' [Cite omitted.]  There has been no showing in this case that there is a similar difficulty in detecting individuals who are driving under the influence of alcohol, nor is it intuitively obvious that such a difficulty exists. [CRC omitted.] That stopping every car might make it easier to prevent drunken driving...is an insufficient justification for abandoning the requirement of individualized suspicion. Without proof that the police cannot develop individualized suspicion that a person is driving while impaired by alcohol, I believe the constitutional balance must be struck in favor of protecting the public against even the “minimally intrusive'' seizures involved in this case…

Moved by whatever momentary evil has aroused their fears, officials — perhaps even supported by a majority of citizens — may he tempted to conduct searches that sacrifice the liberty of each citizen to assuage the perceived evil. But the Fourth Amendment rests on the principle that a title balance between the individual and society depends on the recognition of “the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. [Cite omitted.]'' [496 U.S. at 458-459.)