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The Implementation of Supreme Court Precedent

The Impact of Arizona v. Gant on Police Searches

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Ethan D. Boldt*
Affiliation:
University of Georgia
Michael C. Gizzi
Affiliation:
Illinois State University
*
Contact the corresponding author, Ethan D. Boldt, at edboldt@uga.edu.

Abstract

While many scholars have focused on the relationship shared between the Supreme Court and lower courts, fewer have studied how those outside the judicial branch implement court policy. This study examines how police implemented a major shift in vehicle search law after the Supreme Court placed limits on search incident to arrest. Comprehensive traffic-stop data from two states are relied upon for time series intervention analyses to test the decision’s impact. Evidence of the Court’s influence is found in seriously limiting searches incident to arrest and expanding the use of alternative searches as a means to circumvent the ruling.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2018 by the Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

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Footnotes

We would like to thank Christina Boyd, Sara Mitchell, Jamie Monogan, Clayton Webb, and Teena Wilhelm for their helpful comments on early versions of this project. We also wish to thank David Klein and the anonymous reviewers for their useful insights and suggestions. Data and supporting materials necessary to reproduce the numerical results in the article are available in the JLC Dataverse at https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/8FIENH.

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