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Brendlin v. California

This Fourth Amendment activity is based on the landmark Supreme Court case Brendlin v. California, dealing with search and seizure during a traffic stop.  Using these talking points to start the discussion, argue your position in answer to these questions: Does the Fourth Amendment protect car passengers from unreasonable search and seizure during a traffic stop?  Does the Fourth Amendment give passengers the right to challenge the stop?

About these Resources

How to Use These Resources

This activity is a modified Oxford style debate.

  1. To get started, have participants read the Brendlin v. California facts and case summary.
  2. Assign student attorneys to the issues listed in the talking points. They are suggested points – not a script–for the debate. Student attorneys are encouraged to add their own arguments.
  3. All other students are jurors who deliberate (and may refer to these talking points) during the open floor debate. They debate among themselves in the large group or smaller groups and come to a verdict after the attorneys present closing arguments.

DISCLAIMER: These resources are created by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for educational purposes only. They may not reflect the current state of the law, and are not intended to provide legal advice, guidance on litigation, or commentary on any pending case or legislation.