The Fourth Amendment provides that:
In Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678 (1946), we reserved the question whether violation of that command by a federal agent acting under color of his authority gives rise to a cause of action for damages consequent upon his unconstitutional conduct. Today we hold that it does.
This case has its origin in an arrest and search carried out on the morning of November 26, 1965. Petitioner's complaint alleged that on that day respondents, agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics acting under claim of federal authority, entered his apartment and arrested him for alleged narcotics violations. The agents manacled petitioner in front of his wife and children, and threatened to arrest the entire family. They searched the apartment from stem to stern. Thereafter, petitioner was taken to the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, where he was interrogated, booked, and subjected to a visual strip search.
On July 7, 1967, petitioner brought suit in Federal District Court. In addition to the allegations above, his complaint asserted that the arrest and search were effected without a warrant, and that unreasonable force was employed in making the arrest; fairly read, it alleges as well that the arrest was made without probable cause.
Respondents do not argue that petitioner should be entirely without remedy for an unconstitutional invasion of his rights by federal agents. In respondents' view, however, the rights that petitioner asserts—primarily rights of privacy—are creations of state and not of federal law. Accordingly, they argue, petitioner may obtain money damages to redress invasion of these rights only by an action in tort, under state law, in the state courts. In this scheme the Fourth Amendment would serve merely to limit the extent to which the agents could defend
We think that respondents' thesis rests upon an unduly restrictive view of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by federal agents, a view that has consistently been rejected by this Court. Respondents seek to treat the relationship between a citizen and a federal agent unconstitutionally exercising his authority as no different from the relationship
First. Our cases have long since rejected the notion that the Fourth Amendment proscribes only such conduct as would, if engaged in by private persons, be condemned by state law. Thus in Gambino v. United States, 275 U.S. 310 (1927), petitioners were convicted of conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act on the basis of evidence seized by state police officers incident to petitioners' arrest by those officers solely for the purpose of enforcing federal law. Id., at 314. Notwithstanding the lack of probable cause for the arrest, id., at 313, it would have been permissible under state law if effected
Second. The interests protected by state laws regulating trespass and the invasion of privacy, and those protected by the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures, may be inconsistent or even hostile. Thus, we may bar the door against an unwelcome private intruder, or call the police if he persists in seeking entrance. The availability of such alternative means for the protection of privacy may lead the State to restrict imposition of liability for any consequent trespass. A private citizen, asserting no authority other than his own, will not normally be liable in trespass if he demands, and is granted, admission to another's house. See W. Prosser, The Law of Torts § 18, pp. 109-110 (3d ed. 1964); 1 F. Harper & F. James, The Law of Torts § 1.11 (1956). But one who demands admission under a claim of federal authority stands in a far different position. Cf. Amos v. United States, 255 U.S. 313, 317 (1921). The mere invocation of federal power by a federal law enforcement official will normally render futile any attempt to resist an unlawful entry or arrest by resort to the local police; and a claim of authority to enter is likely to unlock the door as well. See Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 386 (1914); Amos v. United States, supra.
Third. That damages may be obtained for injuries consequent upon a violation of the Fourth Amendment by federal officials should hardly seem a surprising proposition. Historically, damages have been regarded as the ordinary remedy for an invasion of personal interests in liberty. See Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73 (1932);
In addition to holding that petitioner's complaint had failed to state facts making out a cause of action, the District Court ruled that in any event respondents were immune from liability by virtue of their official position. 276 F. Supp., at 15. This question was not passed upon by the Court of Appeals, and accordingly we do not consider
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, concurring in the judgment.
My initial view of this case was that the Court of Appeals was correct in dismissing the complaint, but for reasons stated in this opinion I am now persuaded to the contrary. Accordingly, I join in the judgment of reversal.
Petitioner alleged, in his suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, that the defendants, federal agents acting under color of federal law, subjected him to a search and seizure contravening the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. He sought damages in the amount of $15,000 from each of the agents. Federal jurisdiction was claimed, inter alia,
The District Court dismissed the complaint for lack of federal jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1331 (a) and failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted. 276 F.Supp. 12 (EDNY 1967). On appeal, the Court of Appeals concluded, on the basis of this Court's decision in Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678 (1946), that petitioner's claim for damages did "[arise] under the Constitution"
In so concluding, Chief Judge Lumbard's opinion reasoned, in essence, that: (1) the framers of the Fourth Amendment did not appear to contemplate a "wholly new federal cause of action founded directly on the Fourth Amendment," id., at 721, and (2) while the federal courts had power under a general grant of jurisdiction to imply a federal remedy for the enforcement of a constitutional right, they should do so only when the absence of alternative remedies renders the constitutional command a "mere `form of words.' " Id., at 723. The Government takes essentially the same position here. Brief for Respondents 4-5. And two members of the Court add the contention that we lack the constitutional power to accord Bivens a remedy for damages in the absence of congressional action creating "a federal cause of action for damages for an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment." Opinion of MR. JUSTICE BLACK, post, at 427; see also opinion of THE CHIEF JUSTICE, post, at 418, 422.
For the reasons set forth below, I am of the opinion that federal courts do have the power to award damages for violation of "constitutionally protected interests" and I agree with the Court that a traditional judicial remedy such as damages is appropriate to the vindication of the personal interests protected by the Fourth Amendment.
I turn first to the contention that the constitutional power of federal courts to accord Bivens damages for his claim depends on the passage of a statute creating a "federal cause of action." Although the point is not
Thus the interest which Bivens claims—to be free from official conduct in contravention of the Fourth Amendment—is a federally protected interest. See generally Katz, The Jurisprudence of Remedies: Constitutional Legality and the Law of Torts in Bell v. Hood, 117 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1, 33-34 (1968).
The contention that the federal courts are powerless to accord a litigant damages for a claimed invasion of his federal constitutional rights until Congress explicitly authorizes the remedy cannot rest on the notion that the decision to grant compensatory relief involves a resolution of policy considerations not susceptible of judicial discernment. Thus, in suits for damages based on violations of federal statutes lacking any express authorization of a damage remedy, this Court has authorized such relief where, in its view, damages are necessary to effectuate the congressional policy underpinning the substantive provisions of the statute. J. I. Case Co. v. Borak, 377 U.S. 426 (1964); Tunstall v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen, 323 U.S. 210, 213 (1944). Cf. Wyandotte Transportation Co. v. United States, 389 U.S. 191, 201-204 (1967).
More importantly, the presumed availability of federal equitable relief against threatened invasions of constitutional interests appears entirely to negate the contention that the status of an interest as constitutionally protected divests federal courts of the power to grant damages absent express congressional authorization. Congress provided specially for the exercise of equitable remedial powers by federal courts, see Act of May 8, 1792, § 2, 1 Stat. 276; C. Wright, Law of Federal Courts 257 (2d ed., 1970), in part because of the limited availability of equitable remedies in state courts in the early days of the Republic. See Guaranty Trust Co. v. York, 326 U.S. 99, 104-105 (1945). And this Court's decisions make clear that, at least absent congressional restrictions, the scope of equitable remedial discretion is to be determined according to the distinctive historical traditions of equity as an institution, Holmberg v. Armbrecht, 327 U.S. 392, 395-396 (1946); Sprague v. Ticonic National Bank, 307 U.S. 161, 165-166 (1939). The reach of a federal district court's "inherent equitable powers," Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S. 448, 460 (Burton, J., concurring in result), is broad indeed, e. g., Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 401 U.S. 1 (1971); nonetheless, the federal judiciary is not empowered to grant equitable relief in the absence of congressional action extending jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit. See Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, supra, at 460 (Burton, J., concurring in result); Katz, 117 U. Pa. L. Rev., at 43.
The major thrust of the Government's position is that, where Congress has not expressly authorized a particular remedy, a federal court should exercise its power to accord a traditional form of judicial relief at the behest of a litigant, who claims a constitutionally protected interest has been invaded, only where the remedy is "essential," or "indispensable for vindicating constitutional rights." Brief for Respondents 19, 24. While this "essentiality" test is most clearly articulated with respect to damages remedies, apparently the Government believes the same test explains the exercise of equitable remedial powers. Id., at 17-18. It is argued that historically the Court has rarely exercised the power to accord such relief in the absence of an express congressional authorization and that "[i]f Congress had thought that federal officers should be subject to a law different than state law, it would have had no difficulty in saying so, as it did with respect to state officers . . . ." Id., at 20-21; see 42 U. S. C. § 1983. Although conceding that the standard of determining whether a damage remedy should be utilized to effectuate statutory policies is one of "necessity" or "appropriateness," see J. I. Case Co. v. Borak, 377 U.S. 426, 432 (1964); United States v. Standard Oil Co., 332 U.S. 301, 307 (1947), the Government contends that questions concerning congressional discretion to modify judicial remedies relating to constitutionally protected interests warrant a more stringent constraint on
These arguments for a more stringent test to govern the grant of damages in constitutional cases
The question then, is, as I see it, whether compensatory relief is "necessary" or "appropriate" to the vindication of the interest asserted. Cf. J. I. Case Co. v. Borak, supra, at 432; United States v. Standard Oil Co., supra, at 307; Hill, Constitutional Remedies, 69 Col. L. Rev. 1109, 1155 (1969); Katz, 117 U. Pa. L. Rev., at 72. In resolving that question, it seems to me that the range of policy considerations we may take into account is at least as broad as the range of those a legislature would consider with respect to an express statutory authorization of a traditional remedy. In this regard I agree with the Court that the appropriateness of according Bivens
And I think it is clear that Bivens advances a claim of the sort that, if proved, would be properly compensable in damages. The personal interests protected by the Fourth Amendment are those we attempt to capture by the notion of "privacy"; while the Court today properly points out that the type of harm which officials can inflict when they invade protected zones of an individual's life
On the other hand, the limitations on state remedies for violation of common-law rights by private citizens argue in favor of a federal damages remedy. The injuries inflicted by officials acting under color of law, while no less compensable in damages than those inflicted by private parties, are substantially different in kind, as the Court's opinion today discusses in detail. See Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 195 (1961) (HARLAN, J., concurring). It seems to me entirely proper that these injuries be compensable according to uniform rules of federal law, especially in light of the very large element of federal law which must in any event control the scope of official defenses to liability. See Wheeldin v. Wheeler, 373 U.S. 647, 652 (1963); Monroe v. Pape, supra, at 194-195 (HARLAN, J., concurring); Howard v. Lyons, 360 U.S. 593 (1959). Certainly, there is very little to be gained from the standpoint of federalism by preserving different rules of liability for federal officers dependent on the State where the injury occurs. Cf. United States v. Standard Oil Co., 332 U.S. 301, 305-311 (1947).
Putting aside the desirability of leaving the problem of federal official liability to the vagaries of common-law actions, it is apparent that some form of damages is the only possible remedy for someone in Bivens' alleged
The only substantial policy consideration advanced against recognition of a federal cause of action for violation of Fourth Amendment rights by federal officials is the incremental expenditure of judicial resources that will be necessitated by this class of litigation. There is, however, something ultimately self-defeating about this argument. For if, as the Government contends, damages will rarely be realized by plaintiffs in these cases because of jury hostility, the limited resources of the official concerned, etc., then I am not ready to assume that there will be a significant increase in the expenditure of judicial resources on these claims. Few responsible lawyers and plaintiffs are likely to choose the course of litigation if the statistical chances of success are truly de minimis. And I simply cannot agree with my Brother BLACK that the possibility of "frivolous" claims—if defined simply as claims with no legal merit—warrants closing the courthouse doors to people in Bivens' situation. There are other ways, short of that, of coping with frivolous lawsuits.
On the other hand, if—as I believe is the case with respect, at least, to the most flagrant abuses of official power—damages to some degree will be available when the option of litigation is chosen, then the question appears to be how Fourth Amendment interests rank on a scale of social values compared with, for example, the interests of stockholders defrauded by misleading proxies.
Of course, for a variety of reasons, the remedy may not often be sought. See generally Foote, Tort Remedies for Police Violations of Individual Rights, 39 Minn. L. Rev. 493 (1955). And the countervailing interests in efficient law enforcement of course argue for a protective zone with respect to many types of Fourth Amendment violations. Cf. Barr v. Matteo, 360 U.S. 564 (1959) (opinion of HARLAN, J.). But, while I express no view on the immunity defense offered in the instant case, I deem it proper to venture the thought that at the very least such a remedy would be available for the most flagrant and patently unjustified sorts of police conduct. Although litigants may not often choose to seek relief, it is important, in a civilized society, that the judicial branch of the Nation's government stand ready to afford a remedy in these circumstances. It goes without saying that I intimate no view on the merits of petitioner's underlying claim.
For these reasons, I concur in the judgment of the Court.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, dissenting.
I dissent from today's holding which judicially creates a damage remedy not provided for by the Constitution and not enacted by Congress. We would more surely preserve the important values of the doctrine of separation
This case has significance far beyond its facts and its holding. For more than 55 years this Court has enforced a rule under which evidence of undoubted reliability and probative value has been suppressed and excluded from criminal cases whenever it was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914); Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 633 (1886) (dictum). This rule was extended to the States in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961).
The deterrence theory underlying the suppression doctrine, or exclusionary rule, has a certain appeal in spite of the high price society pays for such a drastic remedy. Notwithstanding its plausibility, many judges and lawyers and some of our most distinguished legal scholars have never quite been able to escape the force of Cardozo's statement of the doctrine's anomalous result:
The plurality opinion in Irvine v. California, 347 U.S. 128, 136 (1954), catalogued the doctrine's defects:
From time to time members of the Court, recognizing the validity of these protests, have articulated varying
The exclusionary rule has also been justified on the theory that the relationship between the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Fourth Amendment requires the suppression of evidence seized in violation of the latter. Boyd v. United States, supra, at 633 (dictum); Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25, 47, 48 (1949) (Rutledge, J., dissenting); Mapp v. Ohio, supra, at 661-666 (BLACK, J., concurring).
Even ignoring, however, the decisions of this Court that have held that the Fifth Amendment applies only to "testimonial" disclosures, United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 221-223 (1967); Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 764 and n. 8 (1966), it seems clear that the Self-Incrimination Clause does not protect a person from the seizure of evidence that is incriminating. It protects a person only from being the conduit by which the police acquire evidence. Mr. Justice Holmes once put it succinctly, "A party is privileged from producing the
It is clear, however, that neither of these theories undergirds the decided cases in this Court. Rather the exclusionary rule has rested on the deterrent rationale—the hope that law enforcement officials would be deterred from unlawful searches and seizures if the illegally seized, albeit trustworthy, evidence was suppressed often enough and the courts persistently enough deprived them of any benefits they might have gained from their illegal conduct.
This evidentiary rule is unique to American jurisprudence. Although the English and Canadian legal systems are highly regarded, neither has adopted our rule. See Martin, The Exclusionary Rule Under Foreign Law— Canada, 52 J. Crim. L. C. & P. S. 271, 272 (1961); Williams, The Exclusionary Rule Under Foreign Law— England, 52 J. Crim. L. C. & P. S. 272 (1961).
I do not question the need for some remedy to give meaning and teeth to the constitutional guarantees against unlawful conduct by government officials. Without some effective sanction, these protections would constitute little more than rhetoric. Beyond doubt the conduct of some officials requires sanctions as cases like Irvine indicate. But the hope that this objective could be accomplished by the exclusion of reliable evidence from criminal trials was hardly more than a wistful dream. Although I would hesitate to abandon it until some meaningful substitute is developed, the history of the suppression doctrine demonstrates that it is both conceptually sterile and practically ineffective in accomplishing its stated objective. This is illustrated by the paradox that an unlawful act against a totally innocent person—such as petitioner claims to be—has been left without an effective remedy, and hence the Court finds
Some clear demonstration of the benefits and effectiveness of the exclusionary rule is required to justify it in view of the high price it extracts from society—the release of countless guilty criminals. See Allen, Federalism and the Fourth Amendment: A Requiem for Wolf, 1961 Sup. Ct. Rev. 1, 33 n. 172. But there is no empirical evidence to support the claim that the rule actually deters illegal conduct of law enforcement officials. Oaks, Studying the Exclusionary Rule in Search and Seizure, 37 U. Chi. L. Rev. 665, 667 (1970).
There are several reasons for this failure. The rule does not apply any direct sanction to the individual official whose illegal conduct results in the exclusion of evidence in a criminal trial. With rare exceptions law enforcement agencies do not impose direct sanctions on the individual officer responsible for a particular judicial application of the suppression doctrine. Id., at 710. Thus there is virtually nothing done to bring about a change in his practices. The immediate sanction triggered by the application of the rule is visited upon the prosecutor whose case against a criminal is either weakened or destroyed. The doctrine deprives the police in no real sense; except that apprehending wrongdoers is their business, police have no more stake in successful prosecutions than prosecutors or the public.
The suppression doctrine vaguely assumes that law enforcement is a monolithic governmental enterprise. For example, the dissenters in Wolf v. Colorado, supra, at 44, argued that:
But the prosecutor who loses his case because of police misconduct is not an official in the police department; he can rarely set in motion any corrective action or administrative penalties. Moreover, he does not have control or direction over police procedures or police actions that lead to the exclusion of evidence. It is the rare exception when a prosecutor takes part in arrests, searches, or seizures so that he can guide police action.
Whatever educational effect the rule conceivably might have in theory is greatly diminished in fact by the realities of law enforcement work. Policemen do not have the time, inclination, or training to read and grasp the nuances of the appellate opinions that ultimately define the standards of conduct they are to follow. The issues that these decisions resolve often admit of neither easy nor obvious answers, as sharply divided courts on what is or is not "reasonable" amply demonstrate.
The presumed educational effect of judicial opinions is also reduced by the long time lapse—often several years— between the original police action and its final judicial evaluation. Given a policeman's pressing responsibilities, it would be surprising if he ever becomes aware of the final result after such a delay. Finally, the exclusionary
Today's holding seeks to fill one of the gaps of the suppression doctrine—at the price of impinging on the legislative and policy functions that the Constitution vests in Congress. Nevertheless, the holding serves the useful purpose of exposing the fundamental weaknesses of the suppression doctrine. Suppressing unchallenged truth has set guilty criminals free but demonstrably has neither deterred deliberate violations of the Fourth Amendment nor decreased those errors in judgment that will inevitably occur given the pressures inherent in police work having to do with serious crimes.
Although unfortunately ineffective, the exclusionary rule has increasingly been characterized by a single, monolithic, and drastic judicial response to all official violations of legal norms. Inadvertent errors of judgment that do not work any grave injustice will inevitably occur under the pressure of police work. These honest mistakes have been treated in the same way as deliberate and flagrant Irvine-type violations of the Fourth Amendment. For example, in Miller v. United States, 357 U.S. 301, 309-310 (1958), reliable evidence was suppressed because of a police officer's failure to say a "few more words" during the arrest and search of a known narcotics peddler.
This Court's decision announced today in Coolidge v. New Hampshire, post, p. 443, dramatically illustrates the extent to which the doctrine represents a mechanically inflexible response to widely varying degrees of police error and the resulting high price that society pays. I dissented in Coolidge primarily because I do not believe the Fourth Amendment had been violated. Even on the Court's contrary premise, however, whatever violation
Freeing either a tiger or a mouse in a schoolroom is an illegal act, but no rational person would suggest that these two acts should be punished in the same way. From time to time judges have occasion to pass on regulations governing police procedures. I wonder what would be the judicial response to a police order authorizing "shoot to kill" with respect to every fugitive. It is easy to predict our collective wrath and outrage. We, in common with all rational minds, would say that the police response must relate to the gravity and need; that a "shoot" order might conceivably be tolerable to prevent the escape of a convicted killer but surely not for a car thief, a pickpocket or a shoplifter.
I submit that society has at least as much right to expect rationally graded responses from judges in place of the universal "capital punishment" we inflict on all evidence when police error is shown in its acquisition. See ALI, Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure § SS 8.02 (2), p. 23 (Tent. Draft No. 4, 1971), reprinted in the Appendix to this opinion. Yet for over 55 years, and with increasing scope and intensity as today's Coolidge holding shows, our legal system has treated vastly dissimilar cases as if they were the same. Our adherence to the exclusionary rule, our resistance to change, and our refusal even to acknowledge the need
In characterizing the suppression doctrine as an anomalous and ineffective mechanism with which to regulate law enforcement, I intend no reflection on the motivation of those members of this Court who hoped it would be a means of enforcing the Fourth Amendment. Judges cannot be faulted for being offended by arrests, searches, and seizures that violate the Bill of Rights or statutes intended to regulate public officials. But we can and should be faulted for clinging to an unworkable and irrational concept of law. My criticism is that we have taken so long to find better ways to accomplish these desired objectives. And there are better ways.
Instead of continuing to enforce the suppression doctrine inflexibly, rigidly, and mechanically, we should view it as one of the experimental steps in the great tradition of the common law and acknowledge its shortcomings. But in the same spirit we should be prepared to discontinue what the experience of over half a century has shown neither deters errant officers nor affords a remedy to the totally innocent victims of official misconduct.
I do not propose, however, that we abandon the suppression doctrine until some meaningful alternative can be developed. In a sense our legal system has become the captive of its own creation. To overrule Weeks and Mapp, even assuming the Court was now prepared to
Reasonable and effective substitutes can be formulated if Congress would take the lead, as it did for example in 1946 in the Federal Tort Claims Act. I see no insuperable obstacle to the elimination of the suppression doctrine if Congress would provide some meaningful and effective remedy against unlawful conduct by government officials.
The problems of both error and deliberate misconduct by law enforcement officials call for a workable remedy. Private damage actions against individual police officers concededly have not adequately met this requirement, and it would be fallacious to assume today's work of the Court in creating a remedy will really accomplish its stated objective. There is some validity to the claims that juries will not return verdicts against individual officers except in those unusual cases where the violation has been flagrant or where the error has been complete, as in the arrest of the wrong person or the search of the wrong house. There is surely serious doubt, for example, that a drug peddler caught packaging his wares will be able to arouse much sympathy in a jury on the ground that the police officer did not announce his identity and
I conclude, therefore, that an entirely different remedy is necessary but it is one that in my view is as much beyond judicial power as the step the Court takes today. Congress should develop an administrative or quasijudicial remedy against the government itself to afford compensation and restitution for persons whose Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. The venerable doctrine of respondeat superior in our tort law provides an entirely appropriate conceptual basis for this remedy. If, for example, a security guard privately employed by a department store commits an assault or other tort on a customer such as an improper search, the victim has a simple and obvious remedy—an action for money damages against the guard's employer, the department store. W. Prosser, The Law of Torts § 68, pp. 470-480 (3d ed. 1964).
A simple structure would suffice.
(a) a waiver of sovereign immunity as to the illegal
(b) the creation of a cause of action for damages sustained by any person aggrieved by conduct of governmental agents in violation of the Fourth Amendment or statutes regulating official conduct;
(c) the creation of a tribunal, quasi-judicial in nature or perhaps patterned after the United States Court of Claims, to adjudicate all claims under the statute;
(d) a provision that this statutory remedy is in lieu of the exclusion of evidence secured for use in criminal cases in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and
(e) a provision directing that no evidence, otherwise admissible, shall be excluded from any criminal proceeding because of violation of the Fourth Amendment.
I doubt that lawyers serving on such a tribunal would be swayed either by undue sympathy for officers or by the prejudice against "criminals" that has sometimes moved lay jurors to deny claims. In addition to awarding damages, the record of the police conduct that is condemned would undoubtedly become a relevant part of an officer's personnel file so that the need for additional training or disciplinary action could be identified or his future usefulness as a public official evaluated. Finally, appellate judicial review could be made available on much the same basis that it is now provided as to district courts and regulatory agencies. This would leave to the courts the ultimate responsibility for determining and articulating standards.
Once the constitutional validity of such a statute is established,
In a country that prides itself on innovation, inventive genius, and willingness to experiment, it is a paradox that we should cling for more than a half century to a legal mechanism that was poorly designed and never really worked. I can only hope now that the Congress will manifest a willingness to view realistically the hard evidence of the half-century history of the suppression doctrine revealing thousands of cases in which the criminal was set free because the constable blundered and virtually no evidence that innocent victims of police error— such as petitioner claims to be—have been afforded meaningful redress.
APPENDIX TO OPINION OF BURGER, C. J., DISSENTING
It is interesting to note that studies over a period of years led the American Law Institute to propose the following in its tentative draft of a model pre-arraignment code:
ALI, Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure §§ SS 8.02 (2), (3), pp. 23-24 (Tent. Draft No. 4, 1971) (emphasis supplied).
This is but one of many expressions of disenchantment with the exclusionary rule; see also:
1. Barrett, Exclusion of Evidence Obtained by Illegal Searches—A Comment on People vs. Cahan, 43 Calif. L. Rev. 565 (1955).
2. Burns, Mapp v. Ohio: An All-American Mistake, 19 DePaul L. Rev. 80 (1969).
3. Friendly, The Bill of Rights as a Code of Criminal Procedure, 53 Calif. L. Rev. 929, 951-954 (1965).
4. F. Inbau, J. Thompson, & C. Sowle, Cases and Comments on Criminal Justice: Criminal Law Administration 1-84 (3d ed. 1968).
5. LaFave, Improving Police Performance Through the Exclusionary Rule (pts. 1 & 2), 30 Mo. L. Rev. 391, 566 (1965).
6. LaFave & Remington, Controlling the Police: The Judge's Role in Making and Reviewing Law Enforcement Decisions, 63 Mich. L. Rev. 987 (1965).
7. N. Morris & G. Hawkins, The Honest Politician's Guide to Crime Control 101 (1970).
8. Oaks, Studying the Exclusionary Rule in Search and Seizure, 37 U. Chi. L. Rev. 665 (1970).
10. Schaefer, The Fourteenth Amendment and Sanctity of the Person, 64 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1 (1969).
11. Waite, Judges and the Crime Burden, 54 Mich. L. Rev. 169 (1955).
12. Waite, Evidence—Police Regulation by Rules of Evidence, 42 Mich. L. Rev. 679 (1944).
13. Wigmore, Using Evidence Obtained by Illegal Search and Seizure, 8 A. B. A. J. 479 (1922).
14. 8 J. Wigmore, Evidence § 2184a (McNaughton rev. 1961).
MR. JUSTICE BLACK, dissenting.
In my opinion for the Court in Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678 (1946), we did as the Court states, reserve the question whether an unreasonable search made by a federal officer in violation of the Fourth Amendment gives the subject of the search a federal cause of action for damages against the officers making the search. There can be no doubt that Congress could create a federal cause of action for damages for an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Although Congress has created such a federal cause of action against state officials acting under color of state law,
Even if we had the legislative power to create a remedy, there are many reasons why we should decline to create a cause of action where none has existed since the formation of our Government. The courts of the United States as well as those of the States are choked with lawsuits. The number of cases on the docket of this Court have reached an unprecedented volume in recent years. A majority of these cases are brought by citizens with substantial complaints—persons who are physically or economically injured by torts or frauds or governmental infringement of their rights; persons who have been unjustly deprived of their liberty or their property; and persons who have not yet received the equal opportunity in education, employment, and pursuit of happiness that was the dream of our forefathers. Unfortunately, there have also been a growing number of frivolous lawsuits, particularly actions for damages against law enforcement officers whose conduct has been judicially sanctioned by state trial and appellate courts and in many instances even by this Court. My fellow Justices on this Court and our brethren throughout the federal judiciary know only too well the time-consuming task of conscientiously poring over hundreds of thousands of pages of factual allegations of misconduct by police, judicial, and corrections officials. Of course, there are instances of legitimate grievances, but legislators might well desire to devote judicial resources to other problems of a more serious nature.
All of these considerations make imperative careful study and weighing of the arguments both for and against the creation of such a remedy under the Fourth Amendment. I would have great difficulty for myself in resolving the competing policies, goals, and priorities in the use of resources, if I thought it were my job to resolve those questions. But that is not my task. The task of evaluating the pros and cons of creating judicial remedies for particular wrongs is a matter for Congress and the legislatures of the States. Congress has not provided that any federal court can entertain a suit against a federal officer for violations of Fourth Amendment rights occurring in the performance of his duties. A strong inference can be drawn from creation of such actions against state officials that Congress does not desire to permit such suits against federal officials. Should the time come when Congress desires such lawsuits, it has before it a model of valid legislation, 42 U. S. C. § 1983, to create a damage remedy against federal officers. Cases could be cited to support the legal proposition which
MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN, dissenting.
I, too, dissent. I do so largely for the reasons expressed in Chief Judge Lumbard's thoughtful and scholarly opinion for the Court of Appeals. But I also feel that the judicial legislation, which the Court by its opinion today concededly is effectuating, opens the door for another avalanche of new federal cases. Whenever a suspect imagines, or chooses to assert, that a Fourth Amendment right has been violated, he will now immediately sue the federal officer in federal court. This will tend to stultify proper law enforcement and to make the day's labor for the honest and conscientious officer even more onerous and more critical. Why the Court moves in this direction at this time of our history, I do not know. The Fourth Amendment was adopted in 1791, and in all the intervening years neither the Congress nor the Court has seen fit to take this step. I had thought that for the truly aggrieved person other quite adequate remedies have always been available. If not, it is the Congress and not this Court that should act.
"The observation may be made that the language of the proposal did not purport to create the right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizures but merely stated it as a right which already existed."
N. Lasson, History and Development of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution 100 n. 77 (1937), quoted in Brief for Respondents 11 n. 7. And, on the problem of federal equitable vindication of constitutional rights without regard to the presence of a "state-created right," see Hart, The Relations Between State and Federal Law, 54 Col. L. Rev. 489, 523-524 (1954), quoted in Brief for Respondents 17.
On this point, the choice of phraseology in the Fourth Amendment itself is singularly unpersuasive. The leading argument against a "Bill of Rights" was the fear that individual liberties not specified expressly would be taken as excluded. See generally, Lasson, supra, at 79-105. This circumstance alone might well explain why the authors of the Bill of Rights would opt for language which presumes the existence of a fundamental interest in liberty, albeit originally derived from the common law. See Entick v. Carrington, 19 How. St. Tr. 1029, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (1765).
In truth, the legislative record as a whole behind the Bill of Rights is silent on the rather refined doctrinal question whether the framers considered the rights therein enumerated as dependent in the first instance on the decision of a State to accord legal status to the personal interests at stake. That is understandable since the Government itself points out that general federal-question jurisdiction was not extended to the federal district courts until 1875. Act of March 3, 1875, § 1, 18 Stat. 470. The most that can be drawn from this historical fact is that the authors of the Bill of Rights assumed the adequacy of common-law remedies to vindicate the federally protected interest. One must first combine this assumption with contemporary modes of jurisprudential thought which appeared to link "rights" and "remedies" in a 1:1 correlation, cf. Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 163 (1803), before reaching the conclusion that the framers are to be understood today as having created no federally protected interests. And, of course, that would simply require the conclusion that federal equitable relief would not lie to protect those interests guarded by the Fourth Amendment.
Professor Hart's observations concerning the "imperceptible steps" between In re Ayers, 123 U.S. 443 (1887), and Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), see Hart, supra, fail to persuade me that the source of the legal interest asserted here is other than the Federal Constitution itself. In re Ayers concerned the precise question whether the Eleventh Amendment barred suit in a federal court for an injunction compelling a state officer to perform a contract to which the State was a party. Having concluded that the suit was inescapably a suit against the State under the Eleventh Amendment, the Court spoke of the presence of state-created rights as a distinguishing factor supporting the exercise of federal jurisdiction in other contract clause cases. The absence of a state-created right in In re Ayers served to distinguish that case from the perspective of the State's immunity to suit; Ayers simply does not speak to the analytically distinct question whether the Constitution is in the relevant sense a source of legal protection for the "rights" enumerated therein.
"Thus, even if the Constitution itself does not give rise to an inherent injunctive power to prevent its violation by governmental officials there are strong reasons for inferring the existence of this power under any general grant of jurisdiction to the federal courts by Congress." 409 F. 2d, at 723.
The description of the remedy as "inferred" cannot, of course, be intended to assimilate the judicial decision to accord such a remedy to any process of statutory construction. Rather, as with the cases concerning remedies, implied from statutory schemes, see n. 4, supra, the description of the remedy as "inferred" can only bear on the reasons offered to explain a judicial decision to accord or not to accord a particular remedy.