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December 2005
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An editorial gets it right

Yesterday’s Lima News (Ohio) and Ft. Wayne News Sentinal (Indiana) editorials discuss the spying business and bring up the 4th Amendment…

It was bad enough when The New York Times revealed that, since early 2002, under an executive order from President Bush, the National Security Agency has been conducting surveillance inside the United States, almost certainly on U.S. citizens, without any sort of warrant approved by any sort of court. It was doubly disturbing that the president defended this practice and said, in effect, “Don’t talk to me about laws or constitutions, I’ll keep doing it until Congress or a court stops me.”

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution reads: “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.”

This standard has been refined and (especially as relates to the drug war) weakened by the courts over the years. But the requirement to get a warrant remains one of the key distinctions between a reasonably free and civil society and an authoritarian or dictatorial regime. [emphasis added]

Nice to see editors remembering the Fourth Amendment, noting its importance, and recognizing that it’s been weakened by the war on drugs.

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