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Back in 1968, Justice William O. Douglas warned in a dissenting opinion in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, that the Court was opening a Pandora's box by eschewing the traditional "probable cause" standard for Fourth Amendment search and seizures in traffic stop cases, and permitting warrantless detentions based merely on "reasonable suspicion."

More than a quarter-century later, the confusion over the "reasonable suspicion" approach is still commanding the Supreme Court's attention. A pair of cases on the justices' argument calendar this spring address the tension between legitimate traffic stops and those based on pretext.



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