Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Scrutinizing ACLU's Patriot Act Ad

Here's the ad's text (punctuation my own, since narration changes with each phrase):

So the government can search your house? My house...our house...without notifying us. Treating us all like suspects. It's part of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act. They want to make the whole thing permanent, with no debate, no review. Questioning parts of the Patriot Act isn't liberal or conservative, left or right. It's American. American. We can change the Patriot Act so we can be safe, safe and free, free. Safe and free.

www.aclu.org/patriotact ("Because freedom can't protect itself." Paid for by the ACLU Foundation.)

But here's what the Constitution's Fourth Amendment says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So the government has always had the power to search your house without notifying you. And the ACLU's attack on the Patriot Act is indistinguishable from an attack on the fourth amendment. Is this the most cogent, concise case they can put forward? Apparently so, leading me to believe they don't have a case.


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