This Article examines the Supreme Court’s application of the "special needs" principle, which is part of its Fourth Amendment search and seizure jurisprudence, with an emphasis on suspicionless searches. It argues that both courts and commentators have insufficiently acknowledged the tension between the modern regulatory state, which is significantly dependent upon such searches, and adequately protecting liberty interests. The commentators who criticize the Court’s deference ignore that a deferential approach can be justified. Suspicionless civil searches, for example, are not necessarily incompatible with original intent. Moreover, the many proposals for reforming suspicionless civil search jurisprudence, such as reinvigorating the individualized suspicion requirement, fail to acknowledge that the Court has applied deferential review in the special needs cases because the modern regulatory state’s effectiveness is in large measure dependent upon suspicionless searches. As a result, this Article suggests that one way to understand these cases is by drawing a parallel to the Court's deferential review in administrative law cases under the Chevron doctrine.
Fabio Arcila, Jr.. "Special Needs & Special Deference: Suspicionless Civil Searches In The Modern Regulatory State" Administrative Law Review 56.4 (2004): 1223-1261.