The Fourth Amendment

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."

Here is where we get into the debate as to whether the Constitution is a "living document" or whether it was written in stone and must most narrowly be interpreted. Do you think the framers of this amendment ever considered the availability of E-mail or even the telephone?

Every time that America comes up with a new means of communication must we come up with a new amendment to cover it? Or was the interpretation that what this amendment does imply is a guarantee of a "right to privacy", a right not specifically espoused in the Constitution, correct?

Just because E-mail is not written on paper does not mean it is not covered by the Fourth Amendment. In my opinion they meant ALL private correspondence and records. They covered pretty well everything they needed to worry about in their day. If they had lived in our day they would perhaps been a little more expansive in their descriptions.

Is it necessary for us to wave the flag of surrender upon our Constitution? Is it necessary for us to start calling it what our President calls it "a goddamn piece of paper"?

I think it is time for us to reflect on just what that "goddamn piece of paper" means. Everything I value in America comes from that "goddamn piece of paper" (although I will acknowledge the influence of Christian morals upon that which was written).

I am not willing to surrender to my enemy that which he can not do himself. He can not force us to grind the Constitution under our feet against our will. But perhaps he can get us to beg our government to do it for us?

Look, I am not a Patriot Act scholar. I only know that Dubyah has tried to exceed the powers granted him by the legislature. Some people seem to think the Patriot Act treads too far on the Constitution and Dubyah thinks as President (dictator) he has even more powers then this.

I am a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. I remember the oath I took. It went "I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

But what do you do when the President himself starts disregarding the Constitution?

My inclination is to support the Constitution. We've had 200 years under the Constitution and only how many under the guy that thinks the Constitution is only a "goddamn piece of paper"!

What happens when the President who I am sworn to obey becomes the enemy of the Constitution I am sworn to protect? How did the last sentence go? "So help me God"? Maybe it should have gone, "So God help us."


Blogger Michael said...

I somewhat agree with you.

When you are trying to justify your actions by the letter of the law in the constitution as opposed to the spirit of the law, something has already gone very wrong.

Michael Tam

12/23/2005 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Little David said...

I can understand that you only "somewhat" agree with me.

I myself am still torn by the issue of whether or not the Constitution is a "living document" or written in stone.

Truth is that when you open the door to "living document" some try to morph it into saying things it was never intended to say. But if you stand on "written in stone" then, for example, the Fourth Amendment does not cover things I think it should cover.

I guess I sit on the fence on this issue. I want there to be "a little life" in the document, but I do not want it to have so much life that it becomes a wiggling, writhing snake pit.

I guess that is why we have a Supreme Court and why it is so important to ensure we pick wisely who is to sit on the bench.

12/24/2005 05:41:00 AM  

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