Saturday, June 17, 2006

"Knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door..."

Well, not exactly, but maybe yours or mine, and not knocking, but breaking the door down.

As you may have heard, late this week, the Supreme Court gave the green light to law enforcement to barge into your home, seize whatever they wish without knocking, or otherwise announcing themselves, as long as they have a warrant. Well, at least police need a warrant while legally breaking and entering given that federal agents haven't used warrants, or FISA, during their 4 plus year campaign of NSA electronic, and cellular, snooping.

Score yet another victory for the neanderthals who brought us the now infamous USA Patriot Act, yes, that's right, the folks who have been busy deconstructing the Fourth Amendment, and attempting to manufacture other even bigger wars with other even bigger oil-bearing countries.

And yet another victory for this president whose recent appointments to the Supreme Court pushed this ruling through despite protestations of Justice Stephen Breyer who wrote that "It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection." (AP) But, hey, who needs constitutional protections anyway? One thing not mentioned, in this Supreme Court decision, is the so-called "sneak and peek" provision of the USA Patriot Act which suggests that law enforcement can enter, without your knowledge, go through your things, and notify, or not notify, you later (delayed notification.)

For such a devoutly preemptive bunch, they sure aren't proactive when it comes to interpreting the Constitution. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a moderate, joined with the conservatives in favor of the ruling, suggesting that if a citizen's rights are violated when officers enter their home without consent, they may file a civil rights lawsuit afterwards. (AP) Arguably, the outcome may well have been different had Justice O'Connor still been on the bench.

Sadly, in a 5 to 4 ruling, on Thursday, the Supreme Court afffirmed the right of law enforcement to disrespect the sanctity of one's home, barge in, search, seize, sneak, and peek, tell, or not tell, as the spirit moves them. With all due respect to justices of the Supreme Court, isn't that why we have a Bill of Rights, in the first place, to protect the civil rights of citizens, and not just after they've been violated?