Fourth Amendment in Shambles

Today, President Obama held a press conference, the chief purpose being to “ease concerns on surveillance” of U.S. citizens. He “threw his administration’s support behind a proposal to change the procedures of the secret court that approves electronic spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.” If Obama really wanted to bolster public confidence, he would eliminate the FISA court altogether. The FISA court has been nothing but a mindless drone that signs any warrant the government brings its way, with no thought given to the 4th Amendment. Any judge or court who is willing to sign a warrant authorizing spying on hundreds of millions of American citizens should be disbarred. 

Warrants are supposed to specifically designate the person or places to be searched, not cover every American citizen with a reckless disregard to their civil liberties and privacy. “[N]o 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.[emphasis added]” Can anyone from the FISA court or Obama administration read?

Obama also mentioned his administration was “planning to release a previously classified legal analysis explaining why the government believes it is lawful under a provision of the Patriot Act known as Section 215 for the N.S.A. to collect and store logs of every phone call dialed or received in the United States.” That statement explains everything that is wrong with the government’s sanctioning of its surveillance in the first place. The Patriot Act has been unconstitutional since Day One. Any legal reasoning building off the PATRIOT Act is an absurdity constructed on top of a farce. 

I don’t doubt that Obama can find legal reasoning under the PATRIOT Act to spy on every American citizen; however, this doesn’t in any way justify the spying under the enumerated provisions of the Constitution. If President Obama issued an executive order to throw every individual of Islamic (or any other) descent into prison and based his legal reasoning off of Korematsu v. United States, would we not say that his legal reasoning is not only seriously flawed, but dangerous and utterly repugnant to a free society? President Obama is doing nothing but paying lip service to the Fourth Amendment and to the justified public concerns over the government surveillance state that’s being erected à la 1948.


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