The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Court for a long period followed a rule of
standing by which it determined whether a party was the appropriate person to move to suppress allegedly illegal evidence. Akin to Article III justiciability principles, which emphasize that one may ordinarily contest only those government actions that harm him, the standing principle in Fourth Amendment cases
require[d] of one who seeks to challenge the legality of a search as the basis for suppressing relevant evidence that he allege, and if the allegation be disputed that he establish, that he himself was the victim of an invasion of privacy.1 Subsequently, the Court departed from the concept of standing to telescope the inquiry into one inquiry rather than two. Finding that standing served no useful analytical purpose, the Court has held that the issue of exclusion is to be determined solely upon a resolution of the substantive question whether the claimant’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated.
We can think of no decided cases of this Court that would have come out differently had we concluded . . . that the type of standing requirement . . . reaffirmed today is more properly subsumed under substantive Fourth Amendment doctrine. Rigorous application of the principle that the rights secured by this Amendment are personal, in place of a notion of ‘standing,’ will produce no additional situations in which evidence must be excluded. The inquiry under either approach is the same.2 One must therefore show that
the disputed search and seizure has infringed an interest of the defendant which the Fourth Amendment was designed to protect.3 The Court has clarified that this
concept of standing in Fourth Amendment cases . . . should not be confused with Article III standing, emphasizing that
Fourth Amendment standing is subsumed under substantive Fourth Amendment doctrine and is not a preliminary
The Katz reasonable-expectation-of-privacy inquiry largely supplanted property-ownership concepts that previously might have supported either standing to suppress or the establishment of an interest that has been invaded—but has not entirely replaced or
repudiate[d] the Fourth Amendment's
concern for government trespass.5 In the 1960 case Jones v. United States, the Supreme Court held that a person could establish standing to challenge a search or seizure where that person was
legitimately on [the] premises as a guest or invitee of the owner of the premises.6 This statement about legitimate presence was later limited by the Court in Rakas v. Illinois,7 which emphasized that to challenge a search, a person must assert a personal interest protected by the Fourth Amendment.8 And while prior case law had seemed to suggest that ownership of a seized item would alone suffice to establish standing, the Court clarified in Rakas that under Katz,
capacity to claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment depends . . . upon whether the person who claims the protection of the Amendment has a legitimate expectation of privacy in the invaded place.9 Under the reasonable-expectations-of-privacy test, a person may
have a legally sufficient interest to implicate the protections of the Fourth Amendment even if that interest
might not have been a recognized property interest at common law.10 Nonetheless, a
possessory interest in the premises searched remains relevant to the inquiry.11