Justice Ginsburg's Gradualism in Criminal Procedure
Slobogin, Christopher, 1951-
This article, written for a symposium analyzing Justice Ginsburg’s jurisprudence on the 15th anniversary of her tenure on the Supreme Court, is the first sustained look at her views on criminal procedure issues (search and seizure, interrogation, the right to counsel, trial rights, sentencing procedures, and the criminal appeals and collateral review processes). Not surprisingly, given her ACLU background, she tends to vote in favor of criminal defendants’ positions more often than most other justices, and she is the most likely to do so since Chief Justice Roberts joined the Court. At the same time, the gradualist tendencies that she has exhibited in other areas of the law -- involving incremental steps rather than sweeping pronouncements -- is apparent in this area as well. After describing in some detail the major trends in Justice Ginsburg’s voting patterns in criminal procedure cases, the article investigates the effects of this gradualist approach in the Fourth Amendment area, focusing in particular on her decision-making in drug testing and car stop cases.