Contributor, The Volokh Conspiracy

(Here is the latest edition of the Institute for Justice’s weekly Short Circuit newsletter, written by John Ross.)

This week on the podcast: a special show featuring the Harte family, whose home was raided by a SWAT team after police found tea leaves in their trash. Why were police looking in their trash? Because months earlier, they’d visited a garden store. Their attorney, Rob Bernstein of Kirkland & Ellis, joins us as well. Click here for iTunes.

When the Supreme Court ruled, in 1976, that bank records are categorically excluded from Fourth Amendment protection, the justices envisioned the piecemeal collection of records to assist criminal prosecutions. Today, that ruling— combined with civil forfeiture laws— has given federal agents free rein to troll virtually every American’s bank account looking for property to forfeit — without warrants and without criminal charges. In a recent amicus brief, IJ urges the Supreme Court to consider this history when it decides next year whether cellphone records (so-called “cell site-location data”) are protected by the Fourth Amendment.