Judging by the response, there seems to be near universal agreement that the 4th Amendment is in serious jeopardy.
So I decided to look at some of the lesser known, but equally important amendments.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
If you are like most Americans, all you know about the 5th Amendment is that you've heard actors on TV shows about court cases say, "I'm pleading the 5th."
You may or may not know that the Miranda rights comes from the 5th Amendment.
The Founding Father thought the idea of due process was so important that it exists not just in the 5th Amendment, not just in the 14th Amendment, but in the main text of the U.S. Constitution. In fact it was considered so important that it is one of only two civil right that exists outside of the Bill of Rights.
And that is the part of the 5th Amendment currently under attack.
Lawmakers charged with merging the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act decided on Tuesday to drop a provision that would have explicitly barred the military from holding American citizens and permanent residents in indefinite detention without trial as terrorism suspects, according to Congressional staff members familiar with the negotiations.You read that right. Congress is working with the Administration to gut the oldest civil right in the western world. A right that goes back to the Magna Carta.
And don't kid yourself - it's a bipartisan thing.
Of the four main negotiators on the defense bill, only one of the Democrats, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), opposes domestic indefinite detention of Americans. The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), believes detaining Americans without charge or trial is constitutional, and only voted for the Feinstein amendment because he and some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate convinced themselves through a convoluted legal rationale that Feinstein's proposal didn't actually ban the practice. Both of the main Republican negotiators, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) believe it's constitutional to lock up American citizens suspected of terrorism without ever proving they're guilty.Of course, this just involves the government locking you up forever without charging you with a crime or letting you talk to a lawyer.
They've already gone waaayyy past that.
The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.These kill lists have been created with zero transparency, zero oversight, and zero accountability.
Since then, senior Obama officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, have explicitly argued that the president is and should be vested with this power. Meanwhile, a Washington Post article from October reported that the administration is formally institutionalizing this president's power to decide who dies under the Orwellian title "disposition matrix".
The power to decide who lives and who dies is the domain of kings, warlords, and dictators. Not for an elected official.
The president's underlings compile their proposed lists of who should be executed, and the president - at a charming weekly event dubbed by White House aides as "Terror Tuesday" - then chooses from "baseball cards" and decrees in total secrecy who should die. The power of accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner are all consolidated in this one man, and those powers are exercised in the dark.There is no difference between this and a Star Chamber. Does Obama admire the power of Henry VIII?
And let's not forget torture. After all, it is designed to get you to incriminate yourself.
Obama made an executive order banning torture, but failed to prosecute any of the torturers.
Plus, our military continues to work with torturers of other nations.
And then there is the fact that the government can use eminent domain to seize land and give it to a private developer.
In fact, the only part of the 5th Amendment that is currently strong is the double jeopardy clause.