Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Warrants, Civil Liberty and Hostile Actions

There is an analogy.

Imagine for a moment that this is the War of 1812, and an American citizen sends a note to a known British citizen. Assume that miraculous scanning technology TOLD the local American commander that the note contained the word “burn”. The question is put to us: is the American cammander required by the Fourth Amendment to obtain a warrant in order to seize and read that letter?

OF COURSE NOT. The United States is engaged in congressionally authorized hostilities against an ally of that British subject (i.e., his country). Frankly, he would be a fool and remiss in his duty not to do so.

This isn’t about prosecuting people for criminal offenses or depriving them of their liberty. It’s about having the intelligence necessary to prevent further acts of violence against our country.


At January 31, 2006 3:36 PM, Blogger Omar said...

While the Supreme Court has historically recognized that the president may use his powers as commander-in-chief during wartime to suspend some civil liberties, never has this applied to warrants or invasion of personal privacy. Benjamin Franklin once wrote that he who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserves neither. This is about living up to our nation's ideals and prosecuting the war on terror in a lawful manner.

This is an undeclared war that may continue for the rest of our lifetimes. We have to ask ourselves if we are willing to surrender absolute power to one man and sacrifice the checks and balances our founding fathers intended to prevent corruption and abuse. We are endangering our very form of government the more we give any branch of government absolute power.


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