L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 261, February 29, 2004
SCOTUS Amongst Us
Special to TLE
In reference to Groh v. Ramirez, 02-811:
Well, well, well. The infamous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals finally got one right, and the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS, sort of sounds like scrotum) in a NARROW vote (5-4) upheld the Constitution, specifically the 4th Amendment.
5 votes to 4.
THAT is how razor thin your rights are in this country. One bloody vote away from being what? Destroyed? Held in abeyance? What IS the word to describe the constant pressure, the inexorable tide, the repetitive nausea of the United States Gooferment OK, I'll pick a word ablating the Bill of Rights?
Slivver by slivver, piece by piece, the supreme artifact of the Founding Fathers is being ablated, ground down to dust, by the three generations now in power in this country: the Oldies of World War II, the Baby Boomers of the Post-War, and the Generation X'ers.
Now, what I am about to write is broad-brushed indeed, and we should keep in mind that individuals don't all fit these molds. Having said that, we shouldn't let individualism stop us from damning. After all, it doesn't seem to stop the statists from damning individualism, and in this broad brush we find enough red paint to splatter even the cleanest of the canvases on which we paint our portrait of a nation suffering from Van Gogh-like insanity.
The Oldies have allowed the Wilsonian Ideal of World Empire and Foreign Interventionism, combined with domestic giveaways such as Socialist Security, destroy the very purpose of this country. "The Greatest Generation" is, in fact, the proximate cause of generational fratricide, pitting itself against all its descendents in a race to "get what I'm due", but it is dogmatic insistance that the USA must be the world's policeman (if not its Gestapo) is leading us to the Christian Armageddon they predicted.
The Baby Boomers have lost their minds and their souls. Safely ensconced in their middle-class and upper-middle class lifestyles, weaned on self-interest and lacking the vestigial remains of a sense of liberty and freedom, they have only themselves to blame for not correcting the Oldies' incipient statism. Rather, they've embraced the organs of power they suck on for succor, and then wonder whether or not Socialist Security will be there for them. Here's a clue: no.
Generation X, despondent and depressed, simply knows its getting screwed but, except for the Free State Project, doesn't have the brain cells nor the historical education to organize itself to unscrew itself.
SCOTUS belongs, clearly, to the Oldies. One has to wonder whether or not the people of the USA will ever wake up and smell John Marshall's stale coffee grinds. Marshall, you see, first put forth the idea that the Judicial System is the final arbiter of all things Constitutional. This was a massive power-grab of the first order, since before this concept each individual pretty much had all the liberty they wanted (Whiskey-makers in Pennsylvania excepted). They had no doubts about what the Right to Keep and Bear Arms meant, nor what the First Amendment meant, either (Jefferson and Adams being particularly adept slanderers of each other. Neither sued the other, by the way).
In this particular case, SCOTUS ruled that the Gooferment, by God, did NOT have the right to be shielded from personal liability if, in the course of doing their jobs, they violated Constitutional Rights (specifically the 4th Amendment).
"It is incumbent on the officer executing a search warrant to ensure the search is lawfully authorized and lawfully conducted," Justice John Paul Stevens stated in the decision. "Even a cursory reading of the warrant in this case perhaps just a simple glance would have revealed a glaring deficiency that any reasonable police officer would have known was constitutionally fatal."
Five votes to four. It could have gone the other way. What is remarkable is that the Supreme Court had to NOTIFY police officers that they are obligated to uphold the Constitution. Although he didn't say it, Justice Stevens is implying that cops need to READ the Constitution and understand it.
Maybe those Oldies are finally coming to their senses. It may be too late for the Weavers, and a hundred other illegal searches that occur in America each year by cops unschooled on their role in society: employees of the people, responsible TO the people, and the Bill of Rights. At least five of them came to their senses. This time.
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