Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Marrow Of The Fourth Amendment

To no one's surprise, anti-immunity amendments to the FISA bill went down to defeat yesterday in the Senate in a major expansion of the government's surveillance powers. This doesn't exactly make Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley prescient, but what he said on MSNBC on the eve of the votes is worth noting:
"And you know what's terrible is like one of those stories where someone is assaulted on a street and a hundred witnesses do nothing. And in this case, the Fourth Amendment is going to be eviscerated tomorrow. And 100 people are going to watch it happen because it's just not their problem."
The vote was delayed because the honorables wanted to offer their last respects to the great civil libertarian Jessie Helms.
"And you know, the only reason it didn't happen today was it was delayed for a funeral. That's how much these people put into the Fourth Amendment.

"But you talk about expanding the president's power, it's coming out of the marrow of the Fourth Amendment. It's coming out of the bone. And it's going to hurt. And it's being done for political convenience. There's not an ounce of principle, not an ounce of public interest in this legislation.

"So at least show us respect by not calling it a compromise."

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