Friday, June 16, 2006

Fourth Amendment slashed
The cost of acquiescence

If her devotees had at times seen your blogstress's dire warnings about the state of the U.S. Constitution in a Chicken Little light, your cybertrix finds herself sadly vindicated by yesterday's decision by the Supreme Court, which renders the Fourth Amendment -- the one that ostensibly protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable search and seizure -- virtually toothless. No longer are police required to announce themselves before barging into your home with a warrant. (And, of course, the Great Decider has already determined that his minions do not need a warrant of any kind in order to monitor your telephone calls and e-mails.) From Charles Lane in today's Washington Post:

At issue in yesterday's case, Hudson v. Michigan, No. 04-1360, was the "knock and announce" rule, which has deep roots in Anglo American law. In 1995, the court made it part of what defines a "reasonable search" under the Fourth Amendment, without saying how it should be enforced.

[...]

[Justice Antonin] Scalia's opinion focused on the guilty defendants who go free when otherwise valid evidence is thrown out of court. He concluded that that "social cost" is too high in relation to whatever additional privacy protection residents get from the "knock and announce" rule.
So to those apologists for the rollover executed by the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the nomination hearing for now-Justice Samuel Alito (a.k.a, "Scalito"), don't you dare to ever again tell your Webwench to hold her tongue while the rights of her nieces, nephews, grandnephews and grandniece are sold down the river. This is what your acquiescence hath wrought.

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