When SCOTUS decided the Jones case and said placing a GPS device on a car was a search, the Court did not decide whether a warrant was required. Texas law has not required a warrant. But here is one federal court that has said a warrant is required:He could have added the example of the Texas Legislature becoming the first state to require a warrant for law enforcement to access cloud-based emails. Moreover, legislation with 107 joint and co-authors in the Texas House, which received 126 votes as an amendment on the House floor, would have required warrants both to place GPS devices on vehicles as well as to access people's cell-phone location data if procedural machinations hadn't kept the amendment off the final bill. (Maine and Montana passed similar legislation this year.) Also, Texas' new law regulating drones requires law enforcement to secure warrants to use them for investigative purposes, even tacking on a powerful exclusionary rule if drones are used without them.
Given the SCOTUS requirement for a warrant in the McNeely blood draw case, is the national trend toward requiring warrants?
I think JB's right that we're witnessing a "national trend toward requiring warrants" and, moreover, Texas has been a leader in that trend as it regards electronic privacy issues. The Fourth Amendment has been so battered in recent decades by judicial-manufactured exceptions that significant factions in both political parties are beginning to endorse its revival through the legislative process. Hell, it's one of the few issues that seems capable of drawing bipartisan support even in Washington, D.C..
Perhaps that's just false hope and/or wishful thinking on my part, but clearly Grits isn't the only one observing these changing trends. IMO there's a window opening over the next few years during which the opportunity to bolster the Fourth Amendment will re-assert itself. The question will be whether judges, politicians and advocates can discover the courage and wherewithal to seize the moment.