First and foremost, I am not what you would call a conservative; my views have varied from Anarchist to Libertarian to Federalist. I want to have as little to do with the police myself, and I certainly don’t want them barging into my house. On the other hand, I do believe in due process; and if the police can meet the criteria to satisfy a judge that there is sufficient cause for a search warrant that they should be able to obtain one and execute it promptly.
The Supreme Court has been arguing a case this week that was referenced in an Associated Press article titled “Police Search May Divide Supreme Court“. When I first saw the title I assumed it was yet another Republican driven erosion of our rights and freedoms. Yet, when I read the article I was surprised to find that it wasn’t about police entering a residence on weak probable cause, or a warrant obtained without sufficient supporting evidence. No, this case, which has made it all the way to the supreme court, is about whether the police entered the house ten to fifteen seconds too soon after announcing themselves. The defense is not arguing that the warrant was illegal, they are arguing about seconds of time.
Pardon me if I find this a little petty. Pardon me if I find myself pissed off that the most important court in this country is debating how many seconds the police, executing a legally obtained warrant, need to wait outside. They waited three to five seconds, and the defendant believed he deserved fifteen seconds, and for this his conviction based on evidence in his house should be thrown out?
Our president believes he can personally authorize phone taps, bypassing the legally established FISA court whose job is to vet the supporting evidence presented with phone tap requests. Our president authorized, and implemented via the NSA, a program to analyze the call records of millions of Americans, without a warrant and in violation of federal laws regarding carriers sharing telephone records. Someone in the White House leaked the identity of an active CIA agent. We invaded a country based on faked intelligence, proving that nobody in the white house is able to judge the merit of presented evidence. The 2000 election was won on a technicality, because the Supreme Court ruled a recount could not be completed by an arbitrary date. Our president believes that as a ‘wartime president’ he has been elevated to King and that he can now make decisions normally beyond the scope of the executive branch, and he can’t even imagine a day where he is called to task for illegally starting the war that embued him with these powers in the first place.
We have much bigger problems in this country than whether legally obtained search warrants require five or fifteen seconds between the police announcing themselves and entering a residence. If the powers that be in this country continue to argue that they know better than the courts in regards to authorizing phone taps, you can bet that searches are next in their sights. Our system is based on checks and balances, and we have kept from teetering over the edge into a police state by the separation of powers where the executive branch must petition the courts to issue search warrants. An unchecked police/CIA/NSA would search first and file paperwork later. (If you have any doubt of this just search Google for ‘warrantless eavesdropping‘.) At our current rate of progress in Operation Freedom Erosion the police won’t even need to think the word warrant to sift through your phone records, bank records or underwear drawer before GWB is even out of office; assuming he doesn’t declare that the two term limit doesn’t apply to wartime presidents…
Right now I want to see the Supreme Court taking the Executive Branch to task for their unconstitutional behavior, not debating how many seconds it takes to flush a baggie of coke down the toilet. I appreciate the freedoms and rights we have in this country, and I know that Booker Hudson Jr. deserves the full benefit of due process, but his case seems pretty petty when I see our rights being flushed down that same toilet sometime in the next ten to fifteen seconds on the political clock.