“Policing the Open Road” Book Talk with Sarah Seo
Synopsis: When Americans think of freedom, they often picture the open road. Yet nowhere are we more likely to encounter the long arm of the law than in our cars. Sarah Seo reveals how the rise of the automobile led us to accept—and expect—pervasive police power, a radical transformation with far-reaching consequences.
Before the twentieth century, most Americans rarely came into con tact with police officers. But in a society dependent on cars, every one—law-breaking and law-abiding alike—is subject to discretionary policing. Seo challenges prevailing interpretations of the Warren Court’s due process revolution and argues that the Supreme Court’s efforts to protect Americans did more to accommodate than limit police intervention. Policing the Open Road shows how the new procedures sanctioned discrimination by officers, and ultimately under mined the nation’s commitment to equal protection before the law.
About the Author
Sarah A. Seo is Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and legal history. She clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.