State v. Pallone, 2000 WI 77, 236 Wis.2d 162, 613 N.W.2d 568

Under the “new federalism” doctrine, the United States Constitution establishes minimum individual rights, but state courts may interpret their own constitutions as providing greater rights. Following New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454 (1981), a majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that when officers arrest the driver of a car, the 4th Amendment permits them to search the entire car including containers, purses, bags or luggage in the passenger compartment. Abrahamson dissented arguing that the scope of warrantless searches had reached a shockingly low standard and that, under “new federalism”, Article 1, §11 of the Wisconsin Constitution can and should be construed to preclude police from searching passenger areas of a car without a warrant, and that therefore Wisconsin should reject Belton. Ten years later, the United States Supreme Court rejected the majority’s understanding of the 4th Amendment, which prompted the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overrule Pallone. See State v. Dearborn, 2010 WI 84, 327 Wis. 2d 252, 786 N.W.2d 97.