The Catholic University of America

 

 
 

Professor Clifford Fishman to Deliver Noted 4th Amendment Lecture

 

Catholic University law professor Clifford Fishman has been invited to give the 2010 James Otis Lecture at the National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law at the University of Mississippi on Oct. 5, 2010.
 
The prestigious lecture series offers a forumto leading scholars to comment on search and seizure and other criminal procedure topics. Fishman intends to speak on Fourth Amendment Rights in the workplace in light of last term’s City of Ontario v. Quon
 
The case raised the question of whether a California city’s audit of a police officer’s text messages was reasonable. The United States Supreme Court found that it was, and rejected a lawsuit claiming that the review violated the Fourth Amendment. At the same time, the Court declined to issue “[a] broad holding concerning employees’ privacy expectations vis-à-vis employer-provided technological equipment,” on the ground that such a ruling “might have implications for future cases that cannot be predicted.”
 
The ruling has perplexed scholars. Fishman, the author of two treatises in the areas of evidence and wiretapping, will use the lecture to help interpret its significance.  
 
The James Otis Lecture is named for the Founding Father who took an early and vehement stance against the Crown's arbitrary issuance of writs of assistance, which permitted British authorities to search anywhere they pleased for any reason or for no reason. In one of the first defiant stands against British authority in the Colonies, Otis attacked the writs as "against the fundamental principles of law."