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David A. Sklansky's view of Katz v. United States - Essay Example

(Sklansky, 2006) According to the author, Katz case remains a landmark both because it provides the constitutional framework that continues to govern electronic surveillance, and because it provides the modern test for a 'search' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
The Fourth Amendment has been the cornerstone in many legal cases for the limits to which the privacy of the person can be breached for the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases. However, the case itself remains rather ambiguous, and there is still doubt, whether taking into account the modern situation after the events of 9/11 electronic surveillance and eavesdropping should be allowed without a warrant Some suppose that the judicial decisions made by Burger and Rehnquist may diminish the effect of Katz's case. It is possible to have a look at least one of the cases ruled by these justices in relation to the Fourth amendment:
'Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979). ...
he urgency of the Katz's case is still relevant and even in the light of terrorist threats in the modern society it has its weight, it gives more questions, than answers. It was interesting to note, that actually Katz is viewed as a failure among scholars. It is agreed, that his striving to prove that surveillance is legal, but only under a warranty, is important, but the case itself has not set any reasonable limits for privacy and it should be defined; whether this framework should be adopted outside the domestic law enforcement and what it has to do with the new communication technologies. Sklansky notes, that 'reasonable expectation of privacy sounds nice, but what does it mean' (Sklansky, 2006) The question is absolutely reasonable, taking into account that the privacy has become a subject of major concern now with the cases of privacy breaches more and more frequent, and inability of Courts to define the reasonable privacy limits when it comes to crime. Noting again the events of 9/11 and bearing in mind that terrorist acts' elimination requires special thorough investigation and action, there is a question how privacy issue and national security issue can be weighted by both public safety entities and the court In Katz's case Justice White still left certain space for consideration, noting that in 'national security cases electronic surveillance upon the authorization of the President or the Attorney General could be permissible without prior judicial approval.' (Kitch, 1968) As a result and following the case, the executive Branch has asserted the power to use unwarranted electronic surveillance in the two specific types of national security situations: against foreign intelligence and against domestic subversion. This has been an attempt to weight privacy and ...Show more


The aim of this work is to understand, why the case of Katz v. United States is still important for the legal practice, especially from the viewpoint of the security threats existing after the events of 9/11, and why Sklansky in his article 'Katz v. United States: The Limits of Aphorism' states that this is one of the most important and universal Fourth Amendment cases ever decided…
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David A. Sklanskys view of Katz v. United States
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