Write a Constitutional Amendment to Restore our Freedom

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by Affection, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Affection

    Affection Original Member

    Things seem to be progressing downhill rapidly as far as our rights to be free from government here in the United States, and although I expect the courts to push back on it, I'm sure that slowly things will continue down that hill. If the courts do refuse to push back on nude body scanners and groping, just as they've refused to push back on absurd border searches, I think perhaps the only thing that can save our freedom without revolution would be a constitutional amendment.
    So, I attempted to draft an amendment that would solve the issues that I see, and I'd be interested to hear what you think and what your proposed amendment would be to solve these problems. The abuses that I wanted to prevent in my amendment were:
    • TSA abuses and other abuses of the administrative search doctrine
    • Border search abuse, including the "constitution-free zone" and the confiscation of laptops
    • Any potential for a US person being held without probable cause, including incidents like the recent flight from Detriot in which 3 people were arrested and strip-searched without probable cause, as well as long-term detention by classifying someone as a terrorist or enemy combatant, or by declaring some kind of emergency (WWII-style round-ups).
    • Express prohibition of secret laws, rules, proceedings, and evidence, from the terms of the SOP to sections of the Patriot Act
    • A guarantee of the ability to seek redress in court without limitations via immunity or laws interfering with jurisdiction
    Here's what I came up with:
    --Jon
     
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  2. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    It'll just get eviscerated in the courts. The Fourth already guarantees these things, and we've seen how that went.

    I need a bigger cluebat when speaking with people who say, "Well, the Constitution doesn't say they can't do that."

    The Constitution and its Amendments aren't about prohibitions. It's very clear that they grant very specific powers to the Federal Government, and "...The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
     
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  3. Affection

    Affection Original Member

    The idea is to be as specific as necessary to get through to the courts the things that we think are unreasonable. To you and me, the fourth amendment already says those things, but the courts apparently need to have things made more clear to them.

    --Jon
     
  4. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    You should know by now that it doesn't matter how clear and unambiguous the law is to a corrupt judge.
     
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  5. Affection

    Affection Original Member

    Perhaps, but I suppose I'm just not quite cynical enough to assume that a majority of the Supreme Court is corrupt. I'm young, though, maybe I'll get there. :)

    --Jon
     
  6. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    I appreciate what you're trying to do here. Unfortunately, it is not "constitutions" which protect us from state oppression, but "constitutionalism". There's no magic words that will stop a dictatorship, only the belief in law.
     
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  7. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Hi there, Jon. I'm with you on the idea of a constitutional amendment. I think it's exactly what we need.

    I had been thinking that a new amendment should be couched as a privacy right (but I'm a privacy advocate so I'm just naturally bent that way) so I came up with the following draft:

    “All people are by nature, free, independent, and have an alienable right to privacy. Privacy encompasses anonymity, dignity, security, autonomy, and self-determination. No one may impair the privacy rights of a living person.”

    I came up with this wording mostly as a thought experiment for a presentation I was giving at a conference a few years ago. Lively discussion ensued. :)

    The first sentence goes to the notion that privacy, freedom and independence should be fundamental rights (that's how I see it anyway). I wanted to model the first sentence on the Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - as positives, rather than prohibitions.

    The second sentence covers the travel issues. For example, the courts/TSA will have to overcome the dignity requirement before they can strip search people in any way without some kind of showing, preferably probable cause. They will have to overcome the autonomy and self-determination requirements before they can engage in any 'DYWTFT' garbage.

    The last sentence is to make sure we can still write biographies.

    I made it short and general in order to try to make it sound as non-threatening to the status quo as possible.

    Can the two drafts be merged into one? Can essential elements from the two be teased out to form a new amendment?
     
  8. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Fascinating, and I appreciate the effort. But if we can't even get the common man to acknowledge what's going on at airports, let alone fight it, how can we get them to see the need for a new Constitutional amendment? Especially when, as others have already pointed out, the 4th guarantees these things already. The Orwellian addition of the word "administrative" to eviscerate these rights is an indication of the path our overlords can always take. Specify "administrative" in your amendment, and they'll come up with something else.
     
  9. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Case law and statutory law have both weakened the Fourth Amendment almost to the point where it's not recognizable. Think about FISA -- 'warrantless wiretaps' or the expansion of administrative searches -- which is all about the reasonableness standard. It means that body scanners can be used to strip you naked, all without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion, because that strip search is 'reasonable' under the circumstances. Surveillance is out of control - man, talk about panoptic environments!

    We need a constitutional amendment. We've needed one for years. And like all amendments, we should start talking about it now - what does it look like, what's in it, is it general or is it specific, what areas does it protect - because it will take years for something to pass (if ever).
     
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The risk with an amendment that echoes language in current amendments is that existing "settled law" (with all its exceptions) will continue to be "settled law".

    What's needed is something along the lines of the Reconstruction Era amendments (which applied the Bill of Rights to the states) to end the practice of carving out exceptions to the Bill of Rights. More rights aren't the answer. It's the structure and process of how those rights are handled that need to be addressed.
     
    Lisa Simeone likes this.

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