Warren E. Burger: Opinion in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics

(1971)

In the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court case Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Court ruled that a person whose Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable search and seizure had been violated by federal agents had the right to sue. Federal Bureau of Narcotics Agents had entered the home of Walter Bivens and conducted an extensive search without a warrant and without probable cause. Bivens was arrested, but charges were later dropped, and he filed suit claiming violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Justice William J. Brennan wrote the opinion for the five-member majority, finding that petitioners could sue for damages to their Fourth Amendment rights based directly on the Constitution, even though no statutory provision allows for such a remedy. In his dissent, Warren Burger argues that enforcement statutes are indeed required and needed to be established by legislative action of the Congress and not by the Supreme Court.

Image for: Warren E. Burger: Opinion in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics

Warren E. Burger (Library of Congress)

View Full Size