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Thompson v. Clark

Description:  Police officers in New York entered a home without a warrant and arrested Larry Thompson for alleged child abuse that was later determined not to have occurred, as the 911 caller accusing Thompson was a member of his family who had a history of mental illness. Thompson sued the police officer for violating his Fourth Amendment rights.


U.S. Supreme Court
Monday, Apr 4, 2022

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday in Thompson v. Clark, a case in which police officers in New York entered a home without a warrant and arrested a man for alleged child abuse that was later determined not to have occurred, as the 911 caller accusing Larry Thompson was a member of his family who had a history of mental illness:

“The government is well equipped under the Constitution to further its interest in protecting children from abuse without violating the rights of innocent parents. The Supreme Court’s decision will give both parents and children a fair shot at justice without subjecting them to substantial and embarrassing hardships. When officials unlawfully seize children, they can inflict terrible harm—stigmatizing families, dashing their sense of privacy, and traumatizing the very ones they aim to protect. The Fourth Amendment is designed in part to prevent vulnerable families from suffering these harms, while still allowing child-welfare officials to continue their critical work to protect children from true abuse and neglect.”

ADF filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of the Home School Legal Defense Association, the world’s largest homeschool advocacy organization, in support of Thompson’s Fourth Amendment rights. The brief explains how it is often innocent families who suffer from unjust searches and seizures as part of child-welfare investigations, “yet 80% of these raids uncover no wrongdoing.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT John Bursch

John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. Bursch has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases and more than 30 state supreme court cases since 2011, and a recent study concluded that among all frequent Supreme Court advocates who did not work for the federal government, he had the 3rd highest success rate for persuading justices to adopt his legal position. Bursch served as solicitor general for the state of Michigan from 2011-2013. He has argued multiple Michigan Supreme Court cases in eight of the last ten terms and has successfully litigated hundreds of matters nationwide, including six with at least $1 billion at stake. As part of his private firm, Bursch Law PLLC, he has represented Fortune 500 companies, foreign and domestic governments, top public officials, and industry associations in high-profile cases, primarily on appeal. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1997 from the University of Minnesota Law School and is admitted to practice in numerous federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.