Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Alberto Gonzalez talking about the 4th amendment.

I heard a recent clip of Alberto Gonzalez on the 7/26 Washington Journal CSPAN show. Once again I heard him talking about how a search only needs to be "reasonable" in order to take place. However, the 4th amendment clearly says:

"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".

The rhetoric described by Gonzalez and again a while back by General Hayden, clearly shows that our leadership needs to read up on the Constitution again. In order for any search warrant to take place you must have at least 4 things 1. Probable cause 2. Supported by someone's oath this needs to take place 3. Describe exactly what is going to be searched 4. Describe what will be seized if that needs to happen. But you cannot have a search or seizure without that warrant, otherwise why ever would law enforcement take the time to get one?

Based upon the interpretation of the 4th amendment, he is clearly thinking the two clauses are totally separate, and not connected. I think the founders were clear in saying that a "reasonable" search or seizure would be accompanied by the second clause of 4 rules. If you interpret this any other way, then anyone in law enforcement could do searches and seizures anytime, and any place simply by saying it was "reasonable".

Gonzalez suggests there are “special needs” when a reasonable search or seizure can take place without a warrant. He used the airport as an example of a search not requiring a warrant. However, he did not mention that as a citizen we have the freedom by choosing NOT to travel. By traveling and buying a plane ticket, you have signed some extra provisions on the ticket or by way of a contract with the airline that you will follow certain security rules, one of which is to undergo some measures to protect the safety of all passengers. (In the case of the TSA and secret rules, they take this to a Federal level which violates the free market principal in choosing airlines, but that is another discussion altogether).

Your version of reasonable, my versions of reasonable, or law enforcement's version of reasonable are all going to be different which is why you always need to attach both clauses to these matters at ALL times. You don't just torch part of the constitution when you feel it will get in the way.

Nothing in the 4th amendment gives our legal system provisions or exceptions in times of war OR national security. If you disregard part of the constitution during a crisis, or for some secret reason, you get tyranny. The constitution can be abused in so many ways, torn apart, shredded or torched at will when somebody invokes the national security card. Everything nowadays is "national security", or classified. It gets to a point where all decisions being made are being done under the cloak of secrecy, which bypasses the democratic process. Once that happens we once again get tyranny.

I caught a statement by Gonzalez where he said his primary job as Attorney General is NOT to determine if a law is good for the country, but if it is legal and constitutional. This sounds like something a corporate lawyer would say. Wait…doesn’t he have a past job working for a really well run company called Enron? It shows you that we get really upstanding citizens from well run and legal companies…sigh.

So, we are back again to the police state. This needs to stop very soon. We need to remove the ex-Enron lawyer and get somebody who actually wants to follow the constitution. We need to make sure that laws which get passed are GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY AND OUR CITIZENS. Once a law passes that test, then we hold it up against the constitution and vet it out.

Watch CSPAN archives for the following clip #26505
Alberto Gonzales, U.S. Attorney General, discusses the electronic surveillance program and proposed changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
7/26/2006: WASHINGTON, DC: 25 min

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