In The

Supreme Court of the United States




Decided February 28, 1984

Justice O’Connor, Concurring

Topic: Criminal Procedure*Court vote: 6–3
Note: No other Justices joined this opinion.
Citation: 465 U.S. 605 Docket: 82–786Audio: Listen to this case's oral arguments at Oyez

* As categorized by the Washington University Law Supreme Court Database

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JUSTICE O'CONNOR, concurring.

I concur in both the result and reasoning of JUSTICE POWELL's opinion for the Court. I write separately, however, just to make explicit what is implicit in the analysis of that opinion: that the Fifth Amendment provides absolutely no protection for the contents of private papers of any kind. The notion that the Fifth Amendment protects the privacy of papers originated in Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616, 116 U. S. 630 (1886), but our decision in Fisher v. United States, 425 U. S. 391 (1976), sounded the death knell for Boyd. "Several of Boyd's express or implicit declarations [had] not stood the test of time," 425 U.S. at 425 U. S. 407, and its privacy of papers concept "ha[d] long been a rule searching for a rationale...." Id. at 425 U. S. 409. Today's decision puts a long overdue end to that fruitless search.

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