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More than two centuries after it was ratified, the Fourth Amendment continues to protect the “right of the people to be secure” from “unreasonable searches.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. Modern technological advances and social developments do not render our rights “any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.” Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2494–95 (2014). This Court plays an essential role in ensuring that the Fourth Amendment retains its vitality as an indispensable safeguard of liberty, even as Americans dramatically change the ways they organize their everyday affairs. This case calls for the Court to play that role once again. The lower courts have sharply diverged over whether a driver of a rental car whose name is not listed on the rental agreement can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car—a frequently recurring issue, because police commonly treat a driver’s use of a rental car as a basis for reasonable suspicion to justify a traffic stop. See, e.g., State v. Adan, 886 N.W.2d 841, 847 (N.D. 2016). As a result of this split, the location where a person is driving at the time of a traffic stop could determine whether he has a Fourth Amendment right to privacy in a rental car.

This Court has provided little guidance to date on the scope of the Fourth Amendment rights of those who use property that someone else has rented. This case offers an opportunity to clear away the confusion about the Fourth Amendment’s scope in a society that uses rental cars with increasing frequency.