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Who Needs 'Special Needs'?
By Milton Hirsch
Fourth Amendment Forum columns.
The locution “special needs” has taken its place in the lexicon of political correctness to describe those of our fellow human beings who in my childhood were described as “crippled;” in my youth as “handicapped;” and in my young adulthood as “disabled.” But the locution “special needs” has also taken its place in the lexicon of the Fourth Amendment — so much so that it seems determined to swallow up the whole of search and seizure jurisprudence.
As Fourth Amendment jurisprudence goes, however, the special needs doctrine is . . . well, crippled, handicapped, and disabled. Two prominent recent cases make the point.
Johnston v. Tampa Sports Authority et al.
The Tampa Sports Authority is the public entity1 charged with the administration of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Raymond James Stadium is where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers engage, on a weekly basis during the winter months, in an activity that sometimes bears a similarity to football.
Last year, in response to a directive fro
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