Court to hear case on searches

Saturday, January 5, 2002

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a case about police power to search passengers on public transportation, a case the Bush administration says applies to the war on terrorism.

The court said it will decide if police who want to look for drugs or evidence of other crimes must first inform public transportation passengers of their legal rights. The ruling could clarify what police may and may not do as they approach and search a passenger.

Buses and trains are sometimes used by drug couriers. Airplanes are also commonly used to transport drugs, although it is not clear whether the Supreme Court's ruling would apply to plane passengers.

Without mentioning the Sept. 11 jetliner hijackings specifically, the Bush administration invoked the war on terrorism and the concern over airplane security in trying to persuade the high court to take the case.

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