The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments last Tuesday, January 9th, in Byrd v. United States, Case No. No. 16-1371. The case concerns the question of whether a person can assert Fourth Amendment protections in connection with a search of a rental car in which that person was not an authorized driver. The case raises important questions about privacy in response to law enforcement, including about standing to assert defenses under the Fourth Amendment and about the interplay between private contracts (such as the contract between one renting a car and the rental car company) and Fourth Amendment rights.
The Supreme Court has posted a transcript and audio recording of the oral argument. Helpful reports about the case and argument include:
- Orin Kerr, “Four Thoughts on Byrd v. United States,” The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason (January 2, 2018)
- Amy Howe, “Argument analysis: Rental cars, reasonable expectations of privacy and property rights,” SCOTUSblog (January 9, 2018)
- Mark Walsh, “A ‘view’ from the courtroom: Vehicle problems at the Supreme Court,” SCOTUSblog (January 9, 2018)
- Adam Liptak, “Justices Seem Ready to Back Driver of Rental Car in Privacy Case,” The New York Times (January 9, 2018)
- Orin Kerr, “Three Reactions to the Oral Argument in Byrd v. United States,” The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason (January 12, 2018)
The Cyberlaw Clinic was pleased to have had the opportunity to support our friends and regular collaborators Restore the Fourth with the drafting of an amicus brief, filed in support of petitioner Terrence Byrd. The brief focuses on the interplay between contracts and Constitutional protections, arguing that private agreements should not limit Fourth Amendment rights. Fall 2017 Cyberlaw Clinic students Chloe Goodwin, Matthew Sacco, Devony Schmidt, and Brian Yost worked on the brief alongside Kendra Albert and Vivek Krishnamurthy on the Clinic’s teaching team, and Mahesha Subbaraman, Restore the Fourth’s counsel.
“Route 101 Silicon Valley /SFO – Rental Car return do not use Airport Exit” image courtesy Flickr user ShashiBellamkonda, CC-BY-2.0.