Publication Title

Hasting Women's Law Journal


feminist legal theory, Fourth Amendment

Document Type



As I will argue, the Court's consent-to-search cases are driven by this patriarchal ideology to maintain social structures of power disparities and to perpetuate the subordination of women, minorities, and other disempowered members of society.

We need to acknowledge the power and submission paradigm that underlies police-citizen encounters and to scrutinize the entire notion of consent. In order to confront both power and consent, I will turn to feminist critique of consent, particularly in the area of rape, and to feminist writings about choice and agency. Based on these writings I will argue that by distinguishing coerced consent to a search (which is not consent altogether) from truly voluntary consent the Court renders invisible the falsity of the dichotomy between coercion and choice and their interplay in our patriarchal society.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.