Monday, March 20, 2006

Constitutional Study Part 5

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.



I think the key word there is "unreasonable."

Someone show me where in the Constitution that it says a wartime President cannot wiretap foreign terrorists' incoming calls without a warrant when taking the time to get that warrant might cost lives.

11 comments:

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

Even without reading it I agree with his actions....The other key words are as you stated...."to get that warrant might cost lives."

You are right on..... the key word is "unreasonable" .....in that amendment.

Polls show the majority of Americans are on board with this. I am...If only prior to 9/11...they screamed enough was not done to prevent...Now the few scream b/c the administration is doing everything it can. (So far successful)

I still feel the NY Times should be held accountable for the leak. Their stunt did not work to keep the Patriotic Act from passing after all. Some things in my opinion, NEED to be CLASSIFIED...meaning SECRET. The terrorists know too much as it is now about our national security.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


You quoted it, but you can't read it? The language is plain, and so is the language of the FISA bill, which clearly allows emergency wiretaps without prior clearance, but insists that the courts be briefed on the probable cause, after the fact - which Bush has illegally refused to do.

You also might read the part of the Constitution that reserves the right to declare war to the Congress.

Kat said...

I'm afraid our own country is falling apart. The constitution has as many different translations as the Bible. Do the people really think the government told EVERYTHING to the people back in George Washington's day? Hell no. Now Americans feel freedom is a born right, which it is, but it doesn't come without a price. Freedom isn't free.

DHammett said...

CIP -

Here are a few facts about FISA and the Patriot Act. There are 7 special FISA courts and judges, all of them in DC. The same requirements for probable cause for Title III monitoring exist under FISA as under criminal statutes. It takes months to years for one FISA approval, which only lasts 3 months. Usually, once a Title III is approved under FISA, a renewal needs to be requested immediately or the authorization will expire and the approval process starts anew. The instances in which emergency Title III monitoring is approved are precious few, and justification in the form of probable cause must still be made, after the fact, to the FISA judge. Before information obtained under a FISA wiretap can be used for criminal investigative purposes, its use must be approved by no less than the attorney general of the US.

Now, let me ask you a few questions. First, if there's a chance a terrorist is planning an attack, would you be willing to wait months or years to put a tap on his phone? Didn't the current administration (and to an extent the previous administration) take a lot of heat for not being prepared? You can't have it both ways. Either let the government collect the information it needs to protect us, or take your lumps after the next 9/11 without complaining.

Second, how have you been harmed by the FISA process? If not, what difference does it make to you? Are you a terrorist? Or just a criminal? If the latter, the tap you fear might be on your phone can't be used against you unless the attorney general approves of this use. Did you do something bad enough to warrant the AG's attention? Finally, how would you know if you've been tapped? The fact is, you wouldn't, unless your plot to terrorize the US were uncovered or your egregious crimes against the US were prosecuted in a federal court. Is this what's worrying you? If not, just sit back, relax and let the government do its job.

Rae Ann said...

cip, as I recall Congress did approve the war on terror, even Hillary did.

I do totally understand the plain language of the Amendment. What you've done is parse it out and you can't do that and it keep its original meaning. Think of it as a mathematical formula or something. Here's my own parsing:

"The right of the people (to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects), against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...

My note here: this leaves open the possibility of reasonable searches and seizures

"and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Supported by oath or affirmation? Doesn't that imply that the President, who is Commander in Chief under the Oath of Office, is qualified to say that there is probable cause to 'search' the 'effects' (phone calls) of people who are participating in plots against the State and People?

Following your method of parsing the clauses for benefit of your own point let's look at parts of the 14th Amendment (sections 2,3,4) that imply rights are withheld from citizens who participate in insurrection and rebellion against the United States. This Amendment was targeted to the leaders of the Confederacy and was a way to keep them from holding office after the Civil War was over. And the
Amendment actually specifies that the rights withheld are those of holding office. But, if we're parsing clauses to support our own ideas then I'd use that to say the terrorists (US citizens or not) have forfeited their rights and protections under the Constitution by plotting against the State and People.

I'm not a 'Constitutional scholar', but I don't think you have to be to be able to understand what it really says and what it doesn't say.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Rae Ann and DHammett - I have posted a reply and comments too long to go here at Trust Me, I'm Your President.

Congress, in it's pusillanimous folly, including most of the worthless Democrats, did allow Bush to use force "as a last resort." That was not a declaration of war, however. And Bush lied about the last resort part.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

DHammett - Are you a terrorist? Or just a criminal? If the latter, the tap you fear might be on your phone can't be used against you unless the attorney general approves of this use.

Actually I'm not either. But I am a citizen who remembers when criminal leaders of our government (many of them subsequently duly convicted of those crimes) used the power of the government to punish anyone who told the truth about their crimes. Come to think of it, that's a lot like the situation we have now.

madman said...

I do want people listening to those terrorists--with or without a warrant. What worries me is who determines what is "unreasonable" and what constitutes being a "terrorist." I can remember a recent President who didn't think oral "sex" was sex! And I also remember when Martin Luther King Jr was listed as a threat to this country, by the FBI, for preaching non-violent protest. Putting "qualified" people in charge of determing these things--when they can't even stop a leak in their own administration ,kind of worries me.

DHammett said...

You know, at some point you just have to leave the paranoia behind. Yeah, there have been liars and crooks in places of power in our country, but really, does anybody visiting this blog think the government has the time or resources to be interested in them? Can you seriously say that one of the specially appointed judges or any other government official or investigator has enough interest in cip or madman that they will violate your rights? The fact is that there are far too few people working to stop terrorism in this country, and to think that those few might be distracted from their jobs to persecute you and violate your rights is folly at best and arrogance at worst.

madman said...

"Yeah--you're right--they're to busy with the war to bother with common folk like us." said one Jew to the other before the Houlacoust. Those arrogant bastards.

Now like I said--I want someone listening to the terrorists--but History, and our fore-fathers, teach us that checks and balances are needed.

DHammett said...

MM -

Why do you feel you need to check your common sense at the door before you engage in a discussion on FISA, The Patriot Act and terrorism? Do you really think that Bush, Clinton or any American president is/was/will be planning a holocaust? What do any of them, Republicans or Democrats, have to gain with something like that? Hitler wanted to take over and "cleanse" the world. If you seriously believe that any American leader has similar goals, discussing this with you is a waste of time.