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'Unreasonable' searches?

by C1ay / January 17, 2006 2:27 AM PST

The 4th Amendment 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."

Does this mean there are 'reasonable' searches or is 'unreasonable' just an extraneous term? Why would Madison use an extraneous term to convey his meaning?

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Of course there are reasonable searches...
by EdH / January 17, 2006 2:42 AM PST

when there is probable cause. The police do it all the time. I'm sure Madison et al. recognized that some searches are necessary.

What's the point of this question?

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The point?
by C1ay / January 17, 2006 3:36 AM PST

Some seem to think it unreasonable to monitor known Al-Qaeda operatives at a time when Al-Qaeda has vowed our citizens harm unless we only play the game by the rules they think we ought to play by. The 4th Amendment specifies that probable cause is required for warrants but says nothing of reasonable searches. Is it reasonable to monitor these people as if they were a regular wartime enemy or should we make sure every i is dotted and every t crossed while they kill americans? In short, should we allow the enemy to use our own Constitution and laws against us to aid and abet their attacks on our people?

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What do you mean here.
by Dan McC / January 17, 2006 4:15 AM PST
In reply to: The point?
...Al-Qaeda has vowed our citizens harm unless we only play the game by the rules they think we ought to play by.

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by C1ay / January 17, 2006 6:05 AM PST
In reply to: What do you mean here.
Some seem to think it unreasonable to monitor known Al-Qaeda operatives at a time when Al-Qaeda has vowed our citizens harm unless we only play the game by the rules they think we ought to play by.

Al-Qaeda has vowed our citizens harm and yet there are those that think these searches of Al-Qaeda operatives are unreasonable. These are the same ones that want us to play by rules that they think we ought to play by, namely rules that require getting the courts involved when time does not allow.

Now, does the 4th Amendment protect such Al-Qaeda operatives from these supposedly 'unreasonable' searches or are these searches reasonable and therefore Constitutional?
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if they are citizens
by Richard Jones Forum moderator / January 17, 2006 7:46 AM PST
In reply to: Those

Hi Clay,

If they are citizens of the U.S.A., then yes, they are protected. However, if one is a known Al Quaida operative, I'd think that would trump their citizenship. "Enemy combatant" would be their designation, Spy, traitor, also.


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Since we know,
by Dan McC / January 17, 2006 10:05 AM PST
In reply to: Those

according to you, that they are Al Qaeda operatives then why do we not have warrants for such eavesdropping already? If we suddenly find out that they are, there are reasonable grace periods in place to allow for eavesdropping while the simple process of getting the warrants is underway.

That seems reasonable.


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The 72-hour warrantless wiretap (to get court permission)
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / January 17, 2006 12:19 PM PST
In reply to: The point?

in the law should be adequate, Clay. The real problem is that there is evidence the NSA is in fact doing much more than monitoring suepects -- that they're in fact monitoring any conversations to certain countries, regardless of who's involved. That's the equivalent of checkpoints to look for drinking drivers, already ruled unreasonable by the SCOTUS.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Checkpoints are unreasonable?
by Roger NC / January 17, 2006 12:41 PM PST

Don't think they've heard of that around here yet, although they may not be calling if for drunk drivers.

You'd be surprised the number of drinking drivers that will drive through a checkpoint that can be seen for a mile before you get there. Sometimes they've even announced what night they'll be set up, and still people drive through them after drinking.


click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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I'd say there *are* reasonable
by Richard Jones Forum moderator / January 17, 2006 2:51 AM PST

searches, similar to the authorities having to have "probable cause" to stop one on the road. "Licence check" type roadblocks here in the Houston/Galveston area have been used to catch intoxicated drivers, but sometimes come under fire for just that reason - the ''dragnet'' approach may work, but it can be misused/abused. There was a recent case here in Houston where teenagers hanging out in a Kmart parking lot were ticketed and some arrested for drinking in public and or underage consumption. The officers were investigated, 'internal affairs' was called in, etc., - AIR some officers were reprimanded.


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I remember a news program testing this
by Diana Forum moderator / January 17, 2006 6:08 AM PST

In LA they were doing a news magazine program and some of the workers (4 blacks) were in a parking lot for about 5 minutes waiting for the producers. The cops stopped and rousted them. When the producers showed up, they asked if they stopped because the kids were black. They said no, they would have stopped no matter what their color.

They tested this. They had four white kids in various parking lots in the wee hours of the morning and not once did the cops stop to question them.


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by Richard Jones Forum moderator / January 17, 2006 7:39 AM PST

Hi Diana,

Same type thing here with "driving while black" - at least in some neighborhoods, and in certain 'upscale' automobiles. I myself sometimes wonder when a really expensive car like a Lexus or Infiniti, etc. , goes by me, driven by a young man (less than twenty five-ish) - of whatever skin colour. Back in my street rodding days my pals used to jibe with " take daddy's car home! " when we'd see a young 'rich kid' with a 'vette or Jag. Anyhow, I can see how 'profiling' actually works, though in some cases I'm sure it's abused, and have experienced it myself - not near as frequently as a person of colour, I'm sure, but enough to know the sting of it.

Rick " '68 Camaro, top speed 105 mph, 'only' , but ya get there quick! " Jones, or "rather amazing I'm still alive, too" Happy

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Not much of a 'test'...
by Edward ODaniel / January 17, 2006 8:08 AM PST

as actual location as well as events in the area immediately preceeding the check as well as "history" of the specific area and the individual police involved ALL have an effect.

What the "test" really demonstrated is only that the media was either rather uninformed on necessary situational aspects or their "investigative reporting" and the people who lap it up without concious thought leave a bit to be desired.

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(NT) (NT) I know, the cops - even Lennix ones - are always right
by Diana Forum moderator / January 17, 2006 8:41 AM PST
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(NT) (NT) ''Lap''?
by Dan McC / January 17, 2006 10:21 AM PST
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No one even suggested that...
by Edward ODaniel / January 17, 2006 10:32 AM PST

but in light of all the little bits and pieces overlooked the "test" wasn't much of a test.

You seem, from your comments, to be imbued with the idea that the police are always wrong or if not wrong are all liars and that members of the media are omniscient despite strong evidence to the contrary.

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Perspective: Not long ago a TV news documentary
by drpruner / January 17, 2006 3:56 AM PST

on private contractors in Iraq who chauffeur VIPs around. Dangerous work; in order to be successful they often stop and search Iraqi vehicles or force them off the road. IMO similar to actions by British troops in Colonial era that led to aforementioned Amendment. US Army also, I believe, taking actions like mandatory quartering of troops also disliked by Colonials.

"All this I have seen, and there was an applying of my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, during the time that man has dominated man to his injury."
King Solomon, ca. 1000 BCE.

"What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up, like a raisin in the sun?
Or does it explode?"
Langston Hughes, ca. 1930 CE.

"For Jehovah is a lover of justice, and he will not leave his loyal ones. To time indefinite they will certainly be guarded, but as for the offspring of the wicked ones, they will indeed be cut off."
The bible.

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Yes and that is the basic reasoning behind...
by Edward ODaniel / January 17, 2006 5:26 AM PST

the courts having upheld the Presidential power to conduct warrantless searches in the past (Carter and Clinton for example and Lincoln, FDR and Truman before that).

It is a power that legislation without amendment cannot alter as again determined by the courts in many decisions.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISA), composed of three federal appellate court judges, said in 2002 that "All the ... courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence ... We take for granted that the president does have that authority."

In the Supreme Court's 1972 Keith decision holding that the president does not have inherent authority to order wiretapping without warrants to combat domestic threats, the court said explicitly that it was not questioning the president's authority to take such action in response to threats from abroad. That was one of the decisions the FISA court considered in their 2002 decision.

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Houston Chronicle Editorial on the issue...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / January 22, 2006 2:20 AM PST
Opposition to warrantless domestic spying creates a welcome alliance of liberals and conservatives.

>> The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution bars the government from conducting warrantless searches and seizures. The Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act recognizes the need to protect national security and gives government broad latitude to conduct electronic surveillance ? so long as the surveillance of persons in the United States is subject to judicial review by a special court formed for that purpose.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stated that Congress authorized warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens when it resolved to give the president authority to wage war against al-Qaida. However, Congress is not empowered to suspend the Bill of Rights by majority vote. More to the point, Congress explicitly rejected an administration request to use military powers within the United States. Gonzales also alleged that the Clinton administration conducted warrantless searches. Has the Bush administration forgotten the president's promise to set more exacting standards of conduct than his predecessor did? <<

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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(NT) (NT) The Supreme Court of Houston speaks again.
by Kiddpeat / January 22, 2006 3:04 AM PST
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HC more "official" than FISA or the Federal Supreme Court?
by Edward ODaniel / January 22, 2006 4:00 AM PST
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