"No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent."--John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States
"How "secure' do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and " forcibly enter?"--Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter in Kentucky v. King
If the government can tell you what you can and cannot do
within the privacy of your home, whether it relates to what you eat, what you
smoke or whom you love, you no longer have any rights whatsoever within your
If government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard,
praying with friends in your living
room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard,
you're no longer the owner of your property. If school officials can punish
your children for what they do or say while at home or in your care, your
children are not your own--they are the property of the state.
If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings
and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure--it
belongs to the government. Likewise, if police can forcefully draw your blood, strip search you, and probe you intimately, your body is no
longer your own, either.
This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks
like, where the lines between private and public property have been so blurred
that private property is reduced to little more than something the government
can use to control, manipulate and harass you to suit its own purposes, and you
the homeowner and citizen have been reduced to little more than a tenant or
serf in bondage to an inflexible landlord.
Examples of this disregard for the sanctity of private
property--whether in the form of one's home, one's possessions, or one's
person--abound. Here are just a few.
In San Rafael, California, it is now illegal to smoke a
cigarette or other tobacco product inside "apartments, condos, duplexes, and
multi-family houses." Although lawmakers hope the ordinance will be
"self-enforcing," they're encouraging landlords to threaten tenants with eviction should
they run afoul of the law.
In Ohio, it's illegal to alter one's car with a
hidden compartment if the "intent" is to conceal illegal drugs. Although Norman
Gurley had no drugs on his person, nor in his car, nor could it be proven that
he intended to conceal drugs, he was still arrested for the "crime" of having a
hidden compartment in the trunk of his car.