It All Began…
hard to pinpoint the exact moments when the Constitution was explicitly
disavowed by the robed shysters charged (by themselves) with interpreting
Once such moment
was 21 years ago, in 1991, when the robed shysters of the Supreme
Court interpreted the plain meaning of the Fourth Amendment
to mean its opposite.
This was the
year of Michigan
State Police v. Sitz, the case that decided the legality of
random roadside sobriety checkpoints on the basis of compelling
state interest, as lead shyster and Badge Licker in Chief
William Rehnquist put it.
the ends justify the means. Getting drunks off the road
anyway, anyhow is what matters. Not the Constitution.
Hence, screw the rule of law. Just git er done, as they say.
But the Fourth
Amendment does not have qualifiers or exceptions. It reads
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.
the part about shall not be violated. Thats pretty
strident and pretty plain language. Theres no
room for interpretation just perversion and rationalization,
the means by which our robed shysters traduce the legal protections
they were charged by oath to affirm and uphold.
Men such as
Rehnquist are far from stupid, which makes them all the more loathsome
for the tyranny they rain down upon us.
You can argue
until youre blue in the face about the Importance of Getting
Drunks off the Road (or Getting Terrorists or whatever it
maybe). That is not the question and Rehnquist, et al. knew
is whether the Constitution is the law of the land or not.
And decisions such as the one rendered in Sitz prove that it is
not. The law is the whim of the state and its interpreters
and, of course, its enforcers.
protections do not provide exceptions for any reason period
as noted in the Sitz dissent written by William Brennan:
stopping every car might make it easier to prevent drunken
(but this) is an insufficient justification for abandoning
the requirement of individualized suspicion.
is no sufficient justification other than specific, individualized
suspicion if the Fourth means what it plainly says.
Not that it
And now, we
reap the whirlwind.
The Sitz decision
established the case law precedent which is the real
law of the land, as opposed to the Constitution. Ask any lawyer.
What carries legal force is what the various Deeciders say the law
is, not what the Constitution says the law is.
compelling state interest being one provide
the basis for Talmudic parsing by a profession dedicated to making
the intelligible unintelligible, as well as arbitrary precisely
the opposite of the intent of the men who wrote our now-inoperative
What made America
unique in all the world a country in which the individuals
rights were explicit and sacrosanct, without qualification, period
is gone. Has been gone, for many years now.
The case law
precedent established by cases such as Sitz paved the way for the
random gropes were now subject to at airports on precisely
the same basis of the (supposed) Greater Good, as defined by the
the most depressing aspect of this is not the shitting all over
the Constitution by the men charged to preserve and protect it.
Rather, it is the slavish badge-licking endorsement of the same
by freedom loving Americans. If the response to previous
columns on the subject is indicative, there are large numbers of
people out there who either dont understand the Constitution
or (worse) just dont give a damn about it.
Give them some
justification some excuse and they will gleefully
do a jig on the document.
several back-and-forths with one of these people, who constantly
talks about the need to get drunks off the road. His
mentality cant connect the dots or just doesnt
want to. He believes that because he doesnt drink,
hes got nothing to worry about. But when I try
to point out to him that drinking and driving is a sideshow, that
once random and arbitrary laws are enacted once the Constitutions
(ex) protections become inoperative or qualified at whim by the
powers-that-be we are all vulnerable by definition, because
that is what arbitrary and random mean. It is akin
to turning loose a driverless car with its gas pedal jammed to the
floorboards. It can strike anyone and anyone
may just be you.
wrote the Bill of Rights to put a driver behind the wheel. To make
sure the car stayed on course and did not run off onto
the sidewalk, leaving mayhem in its wake.
Oh, I know.
The Clovers out there will huff that mayhem is not created by random
checkpoints or TSA gropes. Just a temporary indignity and
minor inconvenience for the Greater Good.
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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