by Mike Maharrey, TenthAmendmentCenter.com:
Prior to the Revolution, the British claimed the authority to issue Writs of Assistance allowing officials to enter private homes and businesses to search for evidence of smuggling. These general warrants never expired and were considered a valid substitute for specific search warrants.
With British tyranny fresh on their minds many states’ Ratifiers insisted on a Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, and among those fundamental rights, the founders included a provision protecting the people from the arbitrary search and seizure.
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.
Note the Fourth Amendment includes NO exceptions to the kind of blanket warrantless monitors and data collection that the NSA has been engaged in for years.
Not for catching “terrorists.” Not for super secret intelligence agencies. Not to “keep us safe.”
Yet the NSA spies on Americans incessantly. It digs through emails, collects Internet data and sifts through phone records. No warrants. No specification. No restraint. British tyranny pales in comparison.
So what do we do?
We could wait on Congress, but it has had plenty of chances to shut it down. Our representatives and senators keep rubber stamping it. We could rely on the courts. But when was the last time those black-robed federal employees did anything to limit federal power? They rubber stamp it too. Maybe the president will save the day. But the commission Obama formed to review NSA surveillance was packed with government insiders. More rubber stamps.
James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, gave us a blueprint for stopping federal overreach.
In Federalist 46, he argued that action at the state and local level, such as “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union,” should be used in response to unconstitutional federal acts, or even constitutional ones that are just very unpopular.