Take a look at a map created by the ACLU showing their interpretation of Homeland Security’s “Constitution Free Zone”. Now throw that map away because the courts are prepared to expand the border zones to cover any location in these United States.
A little background information might be helpful.
In April of 2011 David Kravets wrote an article, Appeals Court Strengthens Warrantless Searches at Border. A known pervert had all his electronic gear seized by ICE agents wherein they discovered child pornography and gained a conviction in criminal court, a conviction which was appealed and overturned.
“At issue in the case decided Wednesday was the prosecution of a California man on child pornography charges. In 2007, ICE agents seized three laptops and a camera from convicted child molester Howard Cotterman, and transported them 170 miles away for a two-day search that uncovered hundreds of child porn images.”
I have no liking for perverts who destroy the lives of children by exploiting them and it’s a shame to have to let this particular deviant go; but the rules of evidence apply to everyone, including degenerates who molest and photograph children.
Apparently the majority of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t agree with the rule of law or the 4th Amendment.
“We find this position simply untenable,” 9th Circuit Judge Richard Tallman wrote for the majority, reinstating the evidence. Limiting searches “would only reward those individuals who, either because of the nature of their contraband or the sophistication of their criminal enterprise, hide their contraband more cleverly or would be inclined to seek entry at more vulnerable points less equipped to discover them.” (emphasis added)
You may recall how travel within these United States changed dramatically after the attacks on 9-11. Air travel was actually suspended for a time while government officials came up with a way to address the issue. Immediately airports were turned into check point stations which required travelers to produce picture identification, a boarding pass and unwarranted random searches as a means of restricting terrorists from using airplanes as bombs.
Americans grumbled at the inconveniences imposed by TSA; but permitted the bodily intrusions as a trade off, individual God given liberties in exchange for safety. In actuality these check points have yet to stop any terrorists; but folks believe their government is trying.
History records Benjamin Franklin’s warning, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither”. (Some historians have attributed this quote to Thomas Jefferson as well; but as Hillary Clinton has reminded us, “What difference does it make!”)
We’d already lost over three thousand lives when two jet passenger planes took out the World Trade Center, another crashed into the Pentagon while yet one more headed for Washington D.C. crashed into an empty field when valiant passengers took on the terrorists rather than permit them to complete their assigned target of the White House…, or was it the Capitol Building. (I keep hearing that voice in my head, Hillary Clinton shrieking, “What difference does it make!”)
Okay, most folks would agree some kind of security measures are needed; but how far is too far?
There’s a more current news item regarding Homeland Security ignoring the 4th Amendment as Julian Hattem’s article records how government agents methodically go about randomly searching electronic devices of anyone within reach; you’ll observe these searches are no longer limited to the confines of an airport. (See ACLU map once more)
You only need to be within a hundred miles of any U.S. border to be considered a national threat, which I can testify of personally.
“A federal court has tossed out a lawsuit trying to prevent the government from searching laptops, cellphones and other devices at U.S. border checkpoints.”
Interestingly the ACLU took up the fight; but lost their case, at least at this particular level of appeals.
“According to government documents, officials at the border search and copy the contents of thousands of people’s devices each year. Border agents are allowed to look into the devices and detain them for a short period of time without a reasonable suspicion that the traveler has committed a crime.” (emphasis added)
The ACLU responded appropriately. (Unfortunately the ACLU is as much a threat to the standards of America since their sole purpose is to undermine and destroy the foundations upon which our nation was founded.)
“Unfortunately, these searches are part of a broader pattern of aggressive government surveillance that collects information on too many innocent people, under lax standards, and without adequate oversight.”
The 4th Amendment was put in place for a reason, to prevent our government from conducting unwarranted searches and seizures. It didn’t include exceptions for the state to get around obtaining warrants, warrants which are based on probable cause and it certainly didn’t define an extended border area wherein constitutional protections were not recognized; exceptions have been added, by our courts acting as representatives of our government, over the years which basically nullify the intended restrictions placed on government. The inmates are running the asylum!
Judge Tallman and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has given us insight as to the lengths and measures our government may operate in order to obtain convictions.
“Limiting searches “would only reward those individuals who, either because of the nature of their contraband or the sophistication of their criminal enterprise, hide their contraband more cleverly or would be inclined to seek entry at more vulnerable points less equipped to discover them.” (emphasis added)
What about smaller airports located well within the borders? Add to that train stations, bus depots, cruise ships or even river boats where criminals often are found; are we to simply accept that officers of our government may indiscriminately stop and search individuals without warrant or probable cause? If this ruling stands the 4th Amendment has been abolished. Our founders fought a war over things like this.
I’ll use Judge Richard Tallman’s line, remember, he wants to make sure any and all criminals are within the grasp law enforcement regardless of the rule of law…
“We (as in We The People) find this position simply untenable”.
The Moral Liberal’s Senior Editor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Houston police officer, self-employed locksmith, and gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.