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We are back in line, ranking the next Constitutional Amendment.
Americans are all about procedures. There are numerous examples.
When Anonymous wants to check out a library book, she uses her app to reserve her super nerdy read. The next procedure is to forget that she reserved the book. The next step is this: the library sends a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to pick up the book. The final step is when she asks me to pick up the book for her because she has decided to be out of town. This is the procedure of her reading numerous books, while it helps me touch a book. It’s a win-win.
There is a procedure at the airport. When you board a plane, the first group to board is pretty much everyone who falls into any category. The next group is Group 1, THEN Group 2. It continues numerically until Group 9. If you fall into this last grouping, there is a procedure for you to follow to move up by acquiring points for upgrades and free flights, but only the airlines understand those procedural details.
Some procedures are pretty basic. Take filing your taxes. The procedure is to find someone who can determine how much tax you owe. You hire them, and they do it for you.
It’s that easy.
Back in 1776, our British Overlords weren’t too keen on procedure. They probably went straight to the library and took whatever book they wanted. They didn’t have planes back then, so I’ll assume there was no order when they boarded ships. And I don’t believe they ever paid taxes; instead, they forced the colonists to pay their share while not providing them experts to follow the procedures. Don’t quote me on that last one, though.
Great Britain abused Colonial America like it was its personal ATM. They needed to reap the financial benefits of having a vast land of subjects producing wealth. Sometimes, they acted in overreaching ways, supported by flimsy legal protections through general warrants searching for stuff to get rich.
When we sought our independence, we made it clear that we would change the procedure.
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This brings us to the Fourth Amendment, the procedure amendment.
Let’s dive in.
7: Amendment IV
Its purpose: The right for people to be secure in their stuff and against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Year proposed: 1789
Year Ratified: 1791
Do you like people looking through your stuff? How about taking your stuff? Of course not. I don’t want anyone going through my possessions and taking whatever they want. I didn’t let my parents search my room unannounced. I’m the youngest, dang it, and I’m spoiled.
I want to be told to go to the library to pick up books for my wife. I want straight lines at airport gates, and I need someone to do my taxes.
The Fourth Amendment takes care of all of this by protecting me from general warrants, illegal searches, and unlawful seizures.
It puts forward the idea that the government must get an impartial judge to determine if there is evidence to come into my room to determine that I haven’t cleaned it for months and the smell is killing everyone in the house.
If the government wants to arrest me, it must abide by the idea of probable cause. The police must have a reasonable suspicion that I entered a plane before my Group Number was called.
Back in 1964, the Supreme Court ruled in Beck vs. Ohio that police violated William Beck’s rights when they pulled him over and arrested him after searching his car. They found nothing, but at the police station, they discovered clearing house slips, whatever those were, hidden in his sock. I guess clearing house strips were illegal back then.
The Court said the police used vague information when searching Beck, that when they pulled him over, he wasn’t doing anything illegal. Whatever they discovered after, be it clearing house slips or a note from his wife asking him to get a library book for her, but dated well past its pick-up, had to be thrown out.
So good on the Supreme Court for protecting against warrantless searches.
The British had these guys called Excise Officers. Their job was to use general warrants to enter colonialists' homes to search and seize goods and break all kinds of stuff while doing so at any time of day or night.
What could the colonists do? If you resisted, they would throw you in jail. If you complied and they took what they wanted, you still may end up in jail. The point is – the Excise Officers were jerks who took stuff and threw people into jail.
Between 2006-2012 about a half million New Yorkers, most of them minorities, were stopped and frisked based on the suspicion that they were doing something wrong. The way the New York Police Department thought about it, it wanted to ensure these people were, in fact, innocent. It's good that they discovered that almost nine of ten stopped and frisked were.
The practice stopped when a federal judge ruled it to be unconstitutional due to racial bias.
Who proposed it?
Oh, hey, it’s James Madison. The first Congress quickly adopted this amendment after working through many details.
The amendment was much more detailed and enforceable than the existing state government constitutions with similar amendments.
Why did I rank it here?
I like the phrase secure in their persons in this amendment. I have no idea what this means, but I have to ask the question – do you feel secure in your persons?
This is a good amendment about procedures and having the government understand what it can and cannot do. As we have seen recently, the lowest-ranking president in OKH’s ranking in 2021 doesn’t care much about procedures; he wants to be left alone to do whatever he wants.
If he wanted to keep top-secret government documents in his bathroom, then dang it, he should be able to do that without the DEEP STATE GOVERNMENT THUGS from taking it.
So props to the Fourth Amendment, a top ten amendment for sure.
What are your thoughts on the Fourth Amendment? Are there areas where police have more leeway regarding probable cause?
Okay, let me know what you think of my ranking.
Good news about Blue.
He is cancer-free! Cancer was all up on his tongue, and he said: NO, SIR! YOU DO NOT HAVE A WARRANT! There was no probable cause for why he got cancer in the first place, so we had the entire thing removed.
Anonymous and I must take him to the vet every three months to ensure this thing doesn’t return. He’ll enjoy the increase in trips to the vet, especially by car.
He’s back to his usual self, although a little skinnier. Beginning today, he is free to do everything he did before we went on this surgical journey. That means jumping on the bed, playing with toys, demanding treats, etc.
We are grateful to have him back to normal and thank the oncology vet people for taking good care of him and the pet insurance company for paying them.
I finished up my work trips for the year. At least, I hope so. December will be a race to finish the Constitution amendment rankings and start the next venture.
Have a great weekend before we are forced to have Thanksgiving with family and friends and judge each other on the food we make.
I’ll see you on Monday.