Prior to the American Revolution, the King of England issued ‘writs of assistance’ (general search warrants) against American colonists where it was suspected that taxes had not been paid for goods and after the resultant smuggling occurred. These writs authorized interrogation along with ‘search and seizure’ of homes and property. The British military and others representing the King could, at will, enter any colonist’s home or property and declare that what they found was ‘contraband’ (untaxed) goods.
A history of this type of abuse occurred in England, but it then pertained to ‘seditious libel,’ pamphlets written in criticism of the king and governmental policies.
It is a certainty that the framers of our Constitution had these violations of freedoms in mind when they ensured that American citizens would be protected from writs of assistance/general warrants, making them illegal, as evidenced in the Fourth Amendment, which 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.
and, recalling also, the First Amendment, which states, in part:
Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…
Our Founding Fathers intentionally and by design limited the federal government’s powers and is why they are called ‘enumerated’ powers. As to crimes, the federal government is to be constrained by law. If a criminal act is suspected, the government, federal or state, cannot go on a fishing expedition, armed with writs of assistance, and drag all persons or household goods into its net, hoping that something sticks so that a criminal act can be alleged to have occurred. These actions presume a state of guilt before innocence.
The Fourth Amendment doesn’t allow for such presumption. It is our God-given right to be secure in our persons, property, and effects and this right ‘shall not be violated.’ This is why our legal system requires that warrants may only issue if, with specificity, they spell out its ‘probable cause’ of suspicion and they are supported by statements made under oath and with particularity, the place, person, or thing to be searched or seized and how it relates to the suspicion that a crime has been or is in the process of being committed. It affords an individual the right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. As such, and without such a particular warrant, the government has no Constitutional right to search or seize anything.
Compare this specificity and particularity with what the government is doing with NSA/PRISM. The net is now the internet, cell phone calls, text messages, and a host of other communications/data. The government lacks specificity much less a target individual, but drags in all types of information, storing it for eternity, hoping that ‘something, somewhere, somehow,’ might stick to SOME criminal act, whether or not it has even occurred. Think of the nefarious uses of this much knowledge. It really is a close parallel to the ‘seditious libel’ which occurred under a tyrannical ruler who subjected his citizens to unreasonable search and seizures because words were printed which criticized himself and his governmental policies.
What if dissent against the president or his administration and policies becomes the future ‘crime’ once again? Do you understand this is yet another step in the direction of tyranny? How safe will YOU or YOUR children’s future be since this government has decided that our Fourth Amendment rights “shall be” violated?
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