FourthAmendment.com points us to an essay by Joseph R. Stromberg on the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). Here’s how it begins:
“All arrests are at the peril of the party making them.”
—Alexander H. Stephens, August 27, 1863
These days the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution means next to nothing. Consider, for example, the choice offered a few years ago: surveillance under routine, easy “warrants” from the drive-through FISA Court or warrantless surveillance at the whim of George W. Bush and his allegedly boundless reserve of unitary-executive authority. A January 2006 Justice Department memo (“Legal Authorities Supporting the Activities of the National Security Agency . . .”) explained the executive’s claims in mind-numbing and unconvincing detail. But the memo at least suggested how far below any practical service to Americans’ liberty the Fourth Amendment has fallen, and did so by heaping up available (and rather bad) search-and-seizure precedents, many of which arose from the terminally futile war on drugs (pages 37–38). The result is something like “your Constitution on drugs”—with the searchers and seizers on steroids.
Read the full essay on FEE.