Information Otherwise Unknowable: Carpenter as a Window into the Judicial Decision-Making Process


Carol M. Bast & Carlton J. Patrick


Faculty editor: Roy Brooks
Publication: Law Review
Volume: 57
Issue: 2
Start Page: 357
Month: June
Year: 2020
Type: Article
Instititional Repository (IR) location of full article:


In 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided Carpenter v. United States, a landmark decision that expanded the protection of the Fourth Amendment to cell phone location records. In addition to its doctrinal importance, Carpenter—a 5–4 decision that was not split cleanly along ideological lines, and that featured a myriad of theories of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence—also holds great insight as to how judges decide cases, particularly at the level of the Supreme Court. This Article explores the process of judicial decision-making by using Carpenter as a springboard for analysis. Relying on the vast research, both legal and psychological, on judicial decision-making, this Article explores the explicit and implicit factors that influence judges and then analyzes these factors in the context of the Carpenter decision.