“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United 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, 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.” Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution of the U.S. (the Bill of Rights) adopted in 1791 impose limits on the government in order to protect the rights and liberties of its citizens. In response to proposed gun restrictions, So-Called Conservatives (“SCC”) have fiercely sought to defend the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. SCCs love sporting tee shirts emblazoned with the message “I ❤ the 2nd Amendment,” which makes the other amendments, chiefly the Fourth Amendment, feel deserted. The goal of both the Second and Fourth Amendments is to protect the rights of citizens against a tyrannous government, so why aren’t SCCs raising their voices when the Fourth Amendment’s scheme is left vulnerable?
SCCs have wholly disregarded the Fourth Amendment’s unreasonable searches and seizures directive that requires a judicially approved warrant for government wiretapping and electronic surveillance. After the attacks of Sept. 11, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) gave explicit authority to the government to engage in electronic eavesdropping and allowed police to investigate, without a warrant, terror suspects (which meant nearly anyone opposed to the Bush regime) and agents of foreign countries. Not surprisingly, when Bush ordered an expansion of surveillance by the National Security Agency (“NSA”), he decided to bypass the FISA process entirely, arguing that compliance would have been too cumbersome.
The Bush years saw a complete repudiation of civil liberties, which might have been rescinded when he exited stage right, but leave it up to SCCs to continue carrying the flame for curbing Fourth Amendment protections. I call this phenomenon the “No Amendment Left Behind Effect”—where SCCs passionately promote the use of unique weapons (the AR-15) to slay an oppressive government but have no regret snubbing the Fourth Amendment. Conservatives such as nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh defended the Bush administration by erroneously claiming that their authorization of domestic surveillance by the NSA without warrants is legal under FISA. In fact, FISA, which was enacted in 1978, contains provisions that limit such surveillance to communications “exclusively between foreign powers.”
President Ronald Reagan cautioned, “[f]reedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Why then is the SCC machine endangering some civil liberties while shielding others? Read on to learn more about SCC’s hypocrisy, the “No Amendment Left Behind Effect,” and how this will all directly impact you.