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If George Bush had to get a warrant, would it make any difference?

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The cops come to your door and want to come in, look around, search your house, confiscate whatever looks good, maybe arrest you.  You ask them if they have a warrant.  They reply yes.  You say, oh, well, that's perfectly alright, come on in and do as you please.  Why is it alright with a warrant when it isn't without a warrant?  What's the difference?  What is a warrant, anyway?  It turns out that a warrant is issued by the government to break into your home under the Fourth Amendment, the same amendment that forbids the government to break into your home.

William Pitt, the elder, Earl of Chatham, in a 1763 speech made clear the common law principle that a man's home is his castle by saying: "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown.  It may be frail, its roof may shake, the wind may blow through it, the storm may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter.  All his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement."

What William Pitt said embodies a basic principle of law, the principle that the people have the right to protect themselves from the intrusive power of the government.  Without exception.

The first part of the Fourth Amendment states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated," It doesn't say who gets to do the deciding about what is reasonable or unreasonable.  OK, that's fine, so far, and conforms to established common law, as William Pitt stated it.  It guarantees our right to be secure, defined as, "safe from penetration or interception, to guarantee the privacy or secrecy of."  Secure is synonymous with private.  The right to privacy actually is in the Constitution.  The amendment is addressing the government, telling it what it cannot do.  It says that we are secure in our homes and no one can enter without our permission.  Not even George with all his force dares enter.

The rest of the Fourth Amendment goes on: "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."  This last part of the sentence is exactly the opposite of what we were just guaranteed in the first part.  First, it offers security, then it takes it away with a great big "but," the all encompassing weasel-word used to get out of a commitment.

You notice that it's the second part that is almost exclusively exercised.  The part about getting a warrant to break into your home.  In the rare instances where a person has exercised his right provided in the first part to prevent break-ins by the government, they have been gunned down.

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What this all comes down to is the fact that two government employees, a judge and a cop, can get together and decide to use the government's power to invade your home, for any reason they may think up between them.  The ironic thing here is that the very government power the Fourth Amendment says it protects us from is the very same government power from the Fourth Amendment that the government uses to take that protection from us.  Even though you're guaranteed the right to be secure in your home, secure against invasion, if the government decides you don't have that right, you don't.

The Constitution giveth and the government taketh away.  They can do it indiscriminately, willy-nilly, without rhyme or reason, and now, with or without a warrant, which, as we've seen here, is nothing more than a self-empowerment tool for the government.  It has nothing to do with an independent branch of government, there are none.  It doesn't matter that the judical branch of government says the cops can break into your home, the judicial branch is still the government saying the government can do it.

All that the part of the Fourth Amendment that allows warrants does is to allow law enforcement to break a lot of laws with impunity to satisfy a suspicion, a hunch, a feeling, to go on a fishing expedition.  Actually law enforcement doesn't need a warrant to stop crime and arrest criminals.  It's already within the law to do that.  But, it must be a real criminal.  It can't be someone that they think, maybe, just might, possibly, could be a criminal.  The only requirement is that law enforcement must know exactly what they're doing, that in fact a crime is being or has been committed by a criminal and they can prove it.  The Bush administration doesn't have the vaguest idea what it's doing.  When Bush created his Warn Turr and tasked the existing government agencies, under the fascistically named Homeland Security, to find terrorists, they are by-god going to find some.  And what better place to find them than right here in the Good Old USA.  After all, there are 300 million of us here in one tidy little bunch who make real handy suspects, in arms reach without getting out of the chair.  All you have to do to look like you're fighting terrorism tooth and nail is to place the easiest to reach, those right around you, under suspicion and invade their privacy.  Now, they can do it with or without a warrant, doesn't matter.

I have no objection to being caught as a criminal, which George Bush says I am, as long as the cop does it fair and square, without a warrant.  But, he better be able to prove it.  Even with a warrant, according to the first part of the Fourth Amendment, it is the equivalent of breaking and entering, criminal trespass, assault with a deadly weapon and false arrest under cover of law.  According to the second part, it's perfectly legal.  Go figure.  That's in violation of the first principle of law, that all the law applies all the time, to all people, at all places.  If it doesn't it's not law.  Well, except for law enforcement with their government issued warrants.

Your home is your castle, and not even George Bush may enter, electronically or otherwise.  My sense of good taste would exclude George from those who may enter my home, anyway.

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Ed Martin is an ordinary person who is recovering from being badly over-educated. Born in the middle of the Great Depression, he is not affiliated with nor a member of any political, social or religious organization. He is especially interested in (more...)
 

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