Meeting the Twenty-First Century Terrorist Threat Within the Scope of Twentieth Century Constitutional Law Academic Article uri icon


  • What ability do the police chief of a large city, the local FBI supervisor, and the FBI director have, under our current understanding of constitutional and criminal law, to meet the terrorist threat? Specifically, does the Constitution, as interpreted by the courts in the past century, permit sufficient flexibility for these officials to identify terrorists, obtain evidence and secure a conviction before an attackwithout fear of either a Bivens civil rights action or the exclusionary rule operating to suppress crucial evidence based on a judicial finding of an illegal roadblock, an unconstitutional search without probable cause, improper "profiling,"' an impermissible electronic interception, a violation by the military of the principles of posse comitatus or a breach of the restrictions imposed by Miranda? Can anything be done to provide more legal guidance to officials in making the critical on-scene decisions that may be thrust upon them when faced with the possibility of a terrorist attack?

published proceedings

  • Houston Law Review

author list (cited authors)

  • Sievert, R. J.

complete list of authors

  • Sievert, Ronald J

publication date

  • November 2000