Tag Archives: Fourth Amendment

Supreme Court Unanimously Rebuffs Biden Administration on Warrantless Searches for Handguns, by Matthew Vadum

The community care-taking exception will not be allowed to swallow the Fourth Amendment with regard to handguns. From Matthew Vadum at theepochtimes.com:

The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Biden administration arguments in a case from Rhode Island that police should be allowed to enter homes without a warrant to seize handguns.

The ruling in the case, Caniglia v. Strom, court file 20-157, came May 17.

Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America and the affiliated Gun Owners Foundation, praised the new decision.

“The Supreme Court today smacked down the hopes of gun grabbers across the nation,” Pratt said.

“The Michael Bloombergs of the world would have loved to see the Supreme Court grant police the authority to confiscate firearms without a warrant. But the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Fourth Amendment protections in the Bill of Rights protect gun owners from such invasions into their homes.”

Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor, is an activist and major funder of gun-control groups.

The case came before the high court for oral argument two months ago as President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats began pressing for aggressive new restrictions on Second Amendment gun ownership rights, including controversial “red flag” laws, which allow gun seizures from law-abiding gun owners with limited due process, in the wake of highly publicized deadly mass shootings in March at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket and at Atlanta-area spas.

Police generally cannot conduct searches of private property without consent or a warrant.

In Cady v. Dombrowski the Supreme Court held in 1973 that police may conduct warrantless searches related to “community caretaking functions,” but only for “vehicle accidents.” Since then, the principle has become “a catchall for a wide range of responsibilities that police officers must discharge aside from their criminal enforcement activities,” the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals stated in the Caniglia case.

The community caretaking doctrine holds that police don’t always operate as law enforcement officials investigating wrongdoing, but sometimes as caretakers to prevent harm in emergency situations.

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Biden Administration Urges Supreme Court To Let Cops Enter Homes And Seize Guns Without A Warrant, by Nick Sibilla

The Biden administration wants the Supreme Court to expand an exception to the Fourth Amendment in a way that would swallow it up. From Nick Sibilla at forbes.com:

he U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear oral argument in Caniglia v. Strom, a case that could have sweeping consequences for policing, due process, and mental health, with the Biden Administration and attorneys general from nine states urging the High Court to uphold warrantless gun confiscation. But what would ultimately become a major Fourth Amendment case began with an elderly couple’s spat over a coffee mug.

In August 2015, 68-year-old Edward Caniglia joked to Kim, his wife of 22 years, that he didn’t use a certain coffee mug after his brother-in-law had used it because he “might catch a case of dishonesty.” That quip quickly spiraled into an hour-long argument. Growing exhausted from the bickering, Edward stormed into his bedroom, grabbed an unloaded handgun, and put it on the kitchen table in front of his wife. With a flair for the dramatic, he then asked: “Why don’t you just shoot me and get me out of my misery?”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tactic backfired and the two continued to argue. Eventually, Edward took a drive to cool off. But when he returned, their argument flared up once again. This time, Kim decided to leave the house and spend the night at a motel. The next day, Kim phoned home. No answer.

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Home Invasions: All the Ways the Government Can Lay Siege to Your Property, by John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

The Fourth Amendment and a big chunk of the Fifth Amendment are virtually dead letters. From John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:

How ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and … forcibly enter?”—Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter in Kentucky v. King

Americans are not safe in their homes.

Not anymore, at least.

This present menace comes from the government and its army of bureaucratized, corporatized, militarized mercenaries who are waging war on the last stronghold left to us as a free people: the sanctity of our homes.

The weapons of this particular war on our personal security and our freedoms include an abundance of laws that criminalize almost everything we do, a government that views our private property as its own, militarized police who have been brainwashed into believing that they operate above the law, courts that insulate police from charges of wrongdoing, legislatures that legitimize the government’s usurpations of our rights, and a populace that is so ignorant of their rights and distracted by partisan politics as to be utterly incapable of standing up to the government’s overreaches, incursions and power grabs.

This is how far the mighty have fallen.

Government agents—with or without a warrant, with or without probable cause that criminal activity is afoot, and with or without the consent of the homeowner—are now justified in mounting home invasions in order to pursue traffic violators, seize lawfully-owned weapons, carry out knock-and-talk “chats” with homeowners in the dead of night, “prevent” individuals from harming themselves, provide emergency aid, intervene in the face of imminent danger, serve as community caretakers, chase down individuals suspected of committing misdemeanor crimes, and anything else they can get away with.

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Repeal the Patriot Act, by Andrew P. Napolitano

By any reading of the plain words of the Constitution, which is not how contemporary jurists read the Constitution, the Patriot Act is unconstitutional and should be repealed. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

I have been writing for years about the dangers to human freedom that come from government mass surveillance. The United States was born in a defiant reaction to government surveillance. In the decade preceding the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the villains were the Stamp Act and the Writs of Assistance Act. Today, the villain is the Patriot Act.

Here is the backstory.

In 1765, when the British government was looking for creative ways to tax the colonists, Parliament enacted the Stamp Act. That law required all persons in the colonies to purchase stamps from a British government vendor and to affix them to all documents in one’s possession. These were not stamps as we use today, rather they bore the seal of the British government. The vendor would apply ink to the seal and for a fee — a tax — impress an image of the seal onto documents.

All documents in one’s possession — financial, legal, letters, books, newspapers, pamphlets, even posters destined to be nailed to trees — required the government stamps.

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A Primer on Domestic Spying, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The Fourth Amendment lies in complete ruins. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

“The Framers … conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men.” — Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941)

While we were all consumed by impeachment, a pernicious piece of legislation was slowly and silently making its way through Congress. It is a renewal of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act of 2001 has three sections that are scheduled to expire on March 15. One of those sections is the infamous 215, which authorizes the federal government to capture without a warrant all records of all people in America held by third parties.

Do we really want the federal government to spy without warrants? How can Congress, which has sworn to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, legislate such a blatant violation of it? Here is the backstory.

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More Spying and Lying, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The Trump administration is trying to make permanent the same unconstitutional spying authority that was used on Trump and the Trump campaign! From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

While most of us have been thinking about the end of summer and while the political class frets over the Democratic presidential debates and the aborted visit of two members of Congress to Israel, the Trump administration has quietly moved to extend and make permanent the government’s authority to spy on all persons in America.

The president, never at a loss for words, must have been asked by the intelligence community he once reviled not to address these matters in public.

These matters include the very means and the very secret court about which he complained loud and long during the Mueller investigation. Now, he wants to be able to unleash permanently on all of us the evils he claims were visited upon him by the Obama-era FBI and by his own FBI. What’s going on?

Here is the backstory.

After the lawlessness of Watergate had been exposed — a president spying on his political adversaries without warrants in the name of national security — Congress enacted in 1978 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It prescribed a means for surveillance other than that which the Constitution requires.

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Federal Judges Are Waging War on the Fourth Amendment, by Chris Calton

The search and seizure amendment is basically being read out of the Constitution. From Chris Calton at mises.org:

In 1984, as part of Ronald Reagan’s renewed war on drugs, the Drug Enforcement Administration launched Operation Pipeline. This program was inspired by the strategies employed by state troopers in New Mexico who, after pulling somebody over, asked specific questions designed to determine whether the driver might be a drug trafficker. Combined with the financial incentives of federal grants for drug enforcement and civil asset forfeiture laws, state and local police had strong new incentives to find reasons to stop vehicles and search for drugs. Operation Pipeline was meant, in part, to train officers how to legally harass drivers.

The problem, of course, was the pesky Fourth Amendment, which prohibited warrantless searches without probable cause. The “probable cause” requirement for warrantless searches is conspicuously open to interpretation, but it imposed important constraints on police harassment by placing the burden of proof on the officer to produce specific facts to justify his suspicion. In 1968, however, the Supreme Court granted the first exemption to this constraint by establishing the “stop-and-frisk” rule. In Terry v. Ohio, the Court ruled that as long as a “reasonably prudent man” would believe that a suspect might be armed, the burden of proof to show probable cause is unnecessary.

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Drivers Beware: The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in the American Police State, by John Rutherford

Any encounter with the government carries risks, even a traffic stop. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official. The framers would be appalled.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation

We’ve all been there before.

You’re driving along and you see a pair of flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror. Whether or not you’ve done anything wrong, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach.

You’ve read enough news stories, seen enough headlines, and lived in the American police state long enough to be anxious about any encounter with a cop that takes place on the side of the road.

For better or worse, from the moment you’re pulled over, you’re at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”

This is what I call “blank check policing,” in which the police get to call all of the shots.

So if you’re nervous about traffic stops, you have every reason to be.

Trying to predict the outcome of any encounter with the police is a bit like playing Russian roulette: most of the time you will emerge relatively unscathed, although decidedly poorer and less secure about your rights, but there’s always the chance that an encounter will turn deadly.

Try to assert your right to merely ask a question during a traffic stop and see how far it gets you.

Zachary Noel was tasered by police and charged with resisting arrest after he questioned why he was being ordered out of his truck during a traffic stop. “Because I’m telling you to,” the officer replied before repeating his order for Noel to get out of the vehicle and then, without warning, shooting him with a taser through the open window.

Unfortunately, as Gregory Tucker learned the hard way, there are no longer any fail-safe rules of engagement for interacting with the police.

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Unconstitutional Searches of Electronic Devices at American Airports Have Quadrupled, by Dagny Taggart

The government, particularly the TSA and border authorities, continue their wars on the First and Fourth Amendments. From Dagny Taggart at theorganicprepper.com:

“Go to any airport in this country and you’ll see how well our government is dealing with the terrible danger you’re in. TSA staffers are wanding 90-year-old ladies in wheelchairs, and burrowing through their suitcases. Toddlers are on the no-fly list. Lipsticks are confiscated. And it’s all done with the highest seriousness.

It’s a show of protection and it stirs the fear pot, giving us over and over an image of being in grave personal peril, needing Big Brother to make sure we’re safe.” – Ann Medlock, Home of the Brave

The federal government wants us to believe that its growing disregard for our First and Fourth Amendment rights is in the interest of national security.

Thankfully, there are organizations that are attempting to bring attention to the ever-expanding police state – and are even willing to fight them in court.

America is turning into a Constitution-free zone.

Since 2015, U.S. government searches of travelers’ cellphones and laptops at airports and border crossings have nearly quadrupled.

You might be tempted to believe that these searches are done for good reasons.

You’d be mistaken.

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Uncle Sam Wants Your DNA: The FBI’s Diabolical Plan to Create a Nation of Suspects, by John Whitehead

The government wants your DNA and they’re going to get it whether you want them to have it or not. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“As more and more data flows from your body and brain to the smart machines via the biometric sensors, it will become easy for corporations and government agencies to know you, manipulate you, and make decisions on your behalf. Even more importantly, they could decipher the deep mechanisms of all bodies and brains, and thereby gain the power to engineer life. If we want to prevent a small elite from monopolising such godlike powers, and if we want to prevent humankind from splitting into biological castes, the key question is: who owns the data? Does the data about my DNA, my brain and my life belong to me, to the government, to a corporation, or to the human collective?”―Professor Yuval Noah Harari

Uncle Sam wants you.

Correction: Uncle Sam wants your DNA.

Actually, if the government gets its hands on your DNA, they as good as have you in their clutches.

Get ready, folks, because the government— helped along by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget)—is embarking on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.

As the New York Times reports:

“The science-fiction future, in which police can swiftly identify robbers and murderers from discarded soda cans and cigarette butts, has arrived. In 2017, President Trump signed into law the Rapid DNA Act, which, starting this year, will enable approved police booking stations in several states to connect their Rapid DNA machines to Codis, the national DNA database. Genetic fingerprinting is set to become as routine as the old-fashioned kind.

Referred to as “magic boxes,” these Rapid DNA machines—portable, about the size of a desktop printer, highly unregulated, far from fool-proof, and so fast that they can produce DNA profiles in less than two hours—allow police to go on fishing expeditions for any hint of possible misconduct using DNA samples.

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