Saturday, July 05, 2014

Simpson: Fourth Amendment needs belated protection

David Simpson, a small-l libertarian Republican Texas state rep from Longview, authored an Independence Day column in his local paper opining that the US Supreme Court's recent ruling in Riley v. California was "desperately needed when just about any occasion now is deemed reasonable to search 'persons, houses, papers and effects' without the restraint of first having to obtain a warrant, despite the Fourth Amendment." Noted Simpson,
Interestingly, the Supreme Court recalled some relevant history in the ruling about searching cell phones. In the last paragraph of its opinion, the court recalls the remarkable words and actions of our American patriots, James Otis and John Adams:

“Our Cases have recognized that the Fourth Amendment was the founding generation’s response to the reviled ‘General warrants’ and ‘writs of assistance’ of the colonial era, which allowed British officers to rummage through homes in an unrestrained search for evidence of criminal activity. Opposition to such searches was in fact one of the driving forces behind the Revolution itself. In 1761, the patriot James Otis delivered a speech in Boston denouncing the use of writs of assistance. A young John Adams was there and he would later write that ‘[e]very man of a crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.’” According to Adams, Otis’s speech was “the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born.”
The op-ed ended with this remarkable conclusion:
Regrettably, instances of such abuse of government force are all too frequent today. Just think of IRS audits, DOJ gun-running, TSA groping, assassination of American citizens abroad and, more close to home, the issuance of “no knock” warrants authorizing military-like home invasions by police at all hours of the day or night — not for protecting people from imminent danger such as kidnapping or armed robbery, but for possession of controlled substances … or even raw milk.

As we celebrate our independence and give thanks for our nation’s freedom, let us remember it is not simply our civil servants, police, firefighters and military that have made us a great nation, but a restrained, humble and wise use of the power we have entrusted to them and our own responsible use of freedom as citizens. Ultimately it is the blessing of God which keeps us from treading on our neighbor and keeps us living within the bounds of our Constitution.
That may be the first time I've seen anyone publicly link IRS audits of Tea Party groups and no-knock drug warrants as twin, equivalent government abuses. That's a rhetorical and political game changer if it's truly reflective of how grass roots conservatives feel.

RELATED: From the Texas Electronic Privacy Coalition (July 4): "SCOTUS opens a door: The Texas Legislature should step through."


Anonymous said...

I grew up in Washington DC and worked there for several years and now have lived in Houston for 40 years. I know many country club Republicans and conservatives who oppose both the IRS and war on drugs. I have never met a liberal Democrat who thought EPA or OSHA regulations and bureaucrats are as dangerous and destructive as drug warriors or who think Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights should be applied to commercial transactions. In the fifties and sixties, I knew liberals who opposed government excesses perpetrated by cold war warriors such as Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon. Once liberals came to power following Watergate, they were no longer interested protecting the rights of citizens but were interested in using government power to punish those who disagreed with their policies. What Barack Obama and his minions are doing is the result of 40 years of liberalism being the ascendant political philosophy. I wish everyone understood that unchecked government power is a threat always.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I've met a lot of people and not one single person had a name tag describing themselves as a: conservative, liberal, republican, democrat or, independent. I guess you have to look for bumper stickers and radio stations one is dialed in to, other than that, you hit one of the nails right on the head.

That being - we are issued what we allow to be issued and we deserve what get as a result of being complacent as we ignore acts of violence, false arrests & subsequent wrongful convictions being perpetrated on citizens by bad public servants with quotas agendas and roid-rage that are enabled by those charged with umpire responsibilities. When we depend on or allow rogue criminal justice system(s) to rule, all being in the name of the law(s), the law is deemed to be unlawful by it's victims and will be met with revolutions once it affects the majority. We usually don't give a rat's ass until it directly effects us personally, a family member or a loved one. Give it time folks, your turn to witness it up close & personal will come.

Any form or level of governmental abuses should be met with pitch forks and enough tar & feathers to cover those daring to allow it, enable it & spread it.

Happy Independence Day America. Great article Mr. Simpson and thank you Grits for bringing it to our attention.