Monday, February 06, 2006


I know the Venn diagram showing the intersection of Common Sense space and Law Space would be very small, but it seems to me that the Fourth Amendment is pretty clear in requiring probable cause for searches.
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. warrants shall issue...

What is meant by a "warrant" in this amendment? Is it an official document, signed by a judge? I think it's less than that. If it's a napkin with a name on it handed to a cop, it's a warrant, for all intents and purposes. If it's a cop whispering in someone's ear, it's a warrant, in effect. If these orders are not issued "upon probable cause," it's unconstitutional.

When Bush approves domestic spying (a type of search) he is likewise issuing a warrant, whether it's from a court or not. The question is not whether the searches and spying are done under warrant, it is whether the de facto warrants that initiate the searches and spying are constitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

Since Bush's domestic spying programs are done without benefit of any court oversight at all, probable cause is not proved, if it is even claimed, and ipso facto his spying is unconstitutional.


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