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4th Amendment ideological blinder of the week

Text of the Fourth Amendment

John Wesley Hall is a Fourth Amendment expert and blogger for whom I normally have tremendous respect. I don’t know his politics, but he’s obviously not a conservative. Otherwise he would know that conservatives in the grassroots and even some in Congress such as Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz have been outspoken in protecting Fourth Amendment rights (although even these constitutionalist senators lag a bit behind grassroots conservatives).

Mr. Hall makes an unfortunate attack on CHQ’s piece promoting better Fourth Amendment protections, “Conservatism: A better future for American liberty, prosperity and security” with his blog post,Exaggeration of the week: The group that gave us the USA PATRIOT Act claims the Fourth Amendment.”

CHQ quotes from The Washington Times op/ed by Richard Viguerie and me (“Distinctly conservative: Clarity on privacy and marriage that surpasses libertarians and neocons”): “We conservatives, on the other hand, take the Fourth Amendment more seriously, and believe that government may not obtain records of persons or businesses without a warrant signed by a neutral judge, and after a showing of probable cause that some law is violated.” 

Mr. Hall writes, “You gave us the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, remember? No, you don’t. And don’t pee on my leg and say it’s raining.” He seems, however, to forget the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of the PATRIOT Act (and very vocal support by future Dem House Speaker Nancy Pelosi), where only one Senate Democrat, Russ Feingold, voted against it.

He also forgets that conservative Republicans expressed skepticism about the PATRIOT Act, although were persuaded in rushed fashion to vote for it based on national security concerns rising to the level of an attack on our American soil.

On September 25, 2001, even before the PATRIOT Act got its name, we wrote at the conservative suggesting the sunset provision, the “traffic light” that ultimately restricted the NSA’s metadata collection:

A sunset provision on legislation will ensure that mistakes do not become embedded in our institutions like ticks. America might trust President Bush, as his current approval ratings topping 90 percent demonstrate, with expanded power. But would Democrats want another Nixon, or would Republicans want another Clinton, using all the powers that will be handed over to this administration?

Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly gave us the PATRIOT Act, but we conservatives gave us the sunset provision. You’re welcome.

And, without Republican Senator Rand Paul, the sunset of the PATRIOT Act would have been passed over again.

By the way, there’s much to write about progressive hypocrisy on privacy and Fourth Amendment rights, such as how they are to blame for most of the erosions of this hugely important Bill of Right. Their ideology has trampled the reasons and bases of the Fourth Amendment. Witness the recent Fourth Amendment facism promoted at PBS.

If the Fourth Amendment can be saved it will be because of conservatives, not Democrats.

In Virginia, for example, conservatives are leading the charge with a “21st Century Fourth Amendment” that corrects Orwellian privacy and property rights problems created mostly by progressives.

If we rain on anyone’s ideological blinders, again, you’re welcome. 

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