County of Sacramento v. Lewis Page 16

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Media for County of Sacramento v. Lewis

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 09, 1997 in County of Sacramento v. Lewis

Stephen G. Breyer:

--You believe it will.

All right.

And is the... fine.

Paul J. Hedlund:

I've always believed it would.

You know, one of the things, 40 percent... 40 percent of these high speed police chases--

Stephen G. Breyer:

The chases, if you're going into the statistics, they're very much contested in these briefs, and I'm not certain--

Paul J. Hedlund:

--Okay.

Stephen G. Breyer:

--I mean--

Paul J. Hedlund:

Okay.

Stephen G. Breyer:

--One of the briefs of the municipalities says 300 a year out of the 2.2 million people--

Paul J. Hedlund:

It's now 400.

Stephen G. Breyer:

--All right.

But there are 2.2 or 2.3 million people who die.

It's very bad that there are 3 or 400.

That's terrible, but that's not enormous in terms of the number of people who die in accidents.

That's what one side says, and I guess the other side focuses on this, and I'm not sure that it's directly related, is it, or not, in your opinion?

Paul J. Hedlund:

Well, I believe that it's related from the standpoint, is this a problem that rises to constitutional dimensions, and I think the Court should consider not only... if this were an isolated event, it wouldn't come to the Court's attention.

It wouldn't be fought for all these years by the police departments.

The reason they're fighting like this is because they want to continue this.

They want to continue to take the lives of innocent--

William H. Rehnquist:

Maybe they're fighting it because they think the Ninth Circuit was wrong and didn't follow our cases.

Paul J. Hedlund:

--To be sure, but--

William H. Rehnquist:

It's happened before.

[Laughter]

Paul J. Hedlund:

--I hope that doesn't color the Court's... or give a jaundiced eye towards the Ninth Circuit.

I think the Ninth Circuit correctly determined this.

I think it's the only methodology that we have, and this Court has available to it in a single sweep to announce policy that will make... that will be incorporated into policy immediately, that will make these--

William H. Rehnquist:

But we don't announce policy Mr.--

Paul J. Hedlund:

--No.

William H. Rehnquist:

--You know--