Summary of the Opinions in Scott v. Harris
Here's a run-down of the opinions in Scott v. Harris, the high-speed car chase case handed down by the Supreme Court today. (To repeat my interest in the case, I was co-counsel for petitioner Scott, the police officer who was sued.)

  Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, joined by all but Justice Stevens. Scalia's first step is to clarify the facts applicable at the summary judgment stage. He sees a major conflict between what the videotape shows and what the lower courts said, and he concludes that the videotape governs. Scalia writes:
When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment. . . . Respondent’s version of events is so utterly discredited by the record that no reasonable jury could have believed him. The Court of Appeals should not have relied on such visible fiction; it should have viewed the facts in the light depicted by the videotape.
  Scalia next turns to the Fourth Amendment standard. He agrees with Scott's argument that this case is not governed by Tennessee v. Garner's specific rule, but rather must be governed by a general reasonableness standard. However, whereas Scott's brief tried to distinguish Garner on whether it was clear that deadly force was used, Justice Scalia distinguishes it on the ground that car chases are just very different from shooting fleeing felons:
Garner did not establish a magical on/off switch that triggers rigid preconditions whenever an officer’s actions constitute “deadly force.” Garner was simply an application of the Fourth Amendment’s “reasonableness” test, Graham, supra, at 388, to the use of a particular type of force in a particular situation. . . . Whatever Garner said about the factors that might have justified shooting the suspect in that case, such “preconditions” have scant applicability to this case, which has vastly different facts. “Garner had nothing to do with one car striking another or even with car chases in general . . . . A police car'’s bumping a fleeing car is, in fact, not much like a policeman’s shooting a gun so as to hit a person.” Nor is the threat posed by the flight on foot of an unarmed suspect even remotely comparable to the extreme danger to human life posed by respondent in this case.Although respondent’'s attempt to craft an easy-to-apply legal test in the Fourth Amendment context is admirable, in the end we must still slosh our way through the factbound morass of “reasonableness. ” Whether or not Scott’'s actions constituted application of “deadly force,” all that matters is whether Scott'’s actions were reasonable.
  That brings Justice Scalia to the general reasonableness balancing, and he has "little difficulty" concluding that Scott's conduct was reasonable. "[I]n judging whether Scott’'s actions were reasonable, we must consider the risk of bodily harm that Scott’'s actions posed to respondent in light of the threat to the public that Scott was trying to eliminate." Weighing the risks of acting and not acting, and factoring in the culpabillity of the different people who might be harmed, Scalia concludes that Scott acted reasonably.

  Near the end of the opinion, Scalia offers a rule to give guidance to police officers in future cases:
A police officer'’s attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death.
  Notably, that's a significant broader rule than Scott had asked for in his brief (to repeat my interest in the case, I co-wrote Scott's brief). Whereas Scott had argued that reasonable efforts to minimize harm make the seizure reasonable, the Court's rule is that if a high-speed car chase threatens the lives of innocents, the police can terminate the chase under the Fourth Amendment even if it puts the fleeing motorist at serious risk of death. (Exactly what it means to "threaten the lives of innocent bystanders" may be someowhat unclear, though; perhaps this is simply a recasting of the probable cause requirement of Garner? I'm not sure.)

  Justices Ginsburg and Breyer joined the majority, but each wrote short concurring opinions. Ginsburg added her 2 cents that the issue was case-by-case reasonableness, and that she didn't understand the court to be offering a mechanical, per se rule; Breyer adds that to him the video is the key to the case. (They also both address the Saucier v. Katz question of the order of addressing Fourth Amendment and qualified immunity issues, but they weren't really raised in the case.)

  Justice Stevens wrote a spririted solo dissent that essentially adopts the 11th Circuit's view of the case. Justice Stevens looks at the videotape and concludes that the lower court judges were right: Harris didn't pose that much of a threat to the public, and reasonable jurors could conclude that Scott acted unreasonably in stopping him. Stevens accuses the majority of acting as "jurors" who are engaging in "de novo factfinding" rather than deferring to the views of lower court judges "who are surely more familiar with the hazards of driving on Georgia roads than we are." Stevens concludes:
In my view, the risks inherent in justifying unwarranted police conduct on the basis of unfounded assumptions are unacceptable, particularly when less drastic measures —in this case, the use of stop sticks or a simple warning issued from a loudspeaker— could have avoided such a tragic result. In my judgment, jurors in Georgia should be allowed to evaluate the reasonableness of the decision to ram respondent’s speeding vehicle in a manner that created an obvious risk of death and has in fact made him a quadriplegic at the age of 19.
In footnote 5 of the majority opinion, Scalia responds to Stevens:
JUSTICE STEVENS suggests that our reaction to the videotape is somehow idiosyncratic, and seems to believe we are misrepresenting its contents. We are happy to allow the videotape to speak for itself.
Scalia then posts a link -- er, rather, cites the URL -- of the video, which is here.