L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 200, November 25, 2002
"Close" Enough is Good Enough? - Time to Get a Rope!
Exclusive to TLE
Americans who still value freedom and privacy cheered back in May when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that Herr Ashcroft's little infringements of the Constitution - warrantless wiretaps, infiltrations, and the like - were just that: Illegal infringements, violations of the Constitution.
Well, Ashcroft isn't one to let a little thing like respect for his own laws get in his way. The Injustice Department appealed the decision on the grounds that, in passing the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress had said it was okay to rape the Constitution.
The appeal was heard by a panel of three judges appointed by that cross-dressing idiot Rehnquist, who is on record as maintaining that there is no right to privacy. So their... peculiar ruling shouldn't come as much of a surprise:
Close? The new standard for the Constitutionality test is close?
This appellate panel recognized that the Injustice Department wasn't even meeting the minimum standards required by the Fourth Amendment, but they approved the Constitutional violations anyway. Because they were "close" enough.
I hope you Constitutionalists can appreciate just how darned amusing this is to us outsiders.
When Rehnquist determined that privacy is an illusion, one might've chalked that up to simple stupidity, the inability to read and understand the Bill of Rights. But this time, the judges acknowledged the Fourth Amendment, admitted that the feds were violating it, but decided it was OK anyhow. If you aren't going to use your Constitution, why not officially chuck it?
At this point, I can only see two options for Constitutionalists:
Option 1 is fine if you like living in a police state. But if you have any taste whatsoever for freedom, you'd better get off your complacent butts and do something.
These judges swore to uphold and protect your Constitution. Yet they are issuing rulings that acknowledge and endorse violations of that document. They've broken their promises; they're liars. They've trashed your Constitution, the republic it was supposed to guarantee, and your rights and freedom, all in favor of the convenience of a government that wants to monitor you.
In a few short months, America has gone from a republic in which government was supposed to prove a crime had happened and get permission before spying on you, to a pre-Orwellian, burgeoning police state where surveillance can be conducted on a bureaucrat's whim, and no (other) crime needs to occur at all.
Taken on its own merits, applying only to the federal snooping authorized by USA PATRIOT, this is horrifying enough: Feds reading your mail, tracking your web browsing, tapping your phones, infiltrating your church and clubs. But this sickening decision establishes a precedent.
A precedent that will apply to Poindexter's Total Information Awareness electronic data-harvester being developed over at IAO.
And there's Homeland Security coming, too.
Comforting thought, eh?