Does the NSA Violate Your Constitutional Rights?

Many Americans do not know what their constitutional freedoms are or why they were established in the first place. The freedoms Americans have are rare and fragile. They were put in place to protect people and ensure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Professor James Otteson explains the importance of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Prior to the Revolutionary War, King George III issued what are called general warrants. Essentially, this allowed government officials to seek out and look for any wrongdoing without probable cause. Such general warrants were carried out on anyone in America, including among the people that would come to be our Founders.

The Founders instilled in the Constitution rules requiring warrants to have probable cause and limiting them to specific times, places, and people. Why is this important? Prof. Otteson says it’s important “because with unlimited authority, officials inevitably find wrongdoing.” Witch hunts always find witches. Constitutional protections like the Fourth Amendment are especially important for people who want to do things differently than the majority. These freedoms enable Americans to find their own paths to happiness as free and equal citizens.

15 Comments

  1. Greg Gauthier

    It doesn’t MATTER if they "violate" constitutional "rights". The question is, is it morally good to threaten people with theft, kidnapping, assault, or murder, in order to serve the "security interests" of the american state?

  2. andrei.roibu

    The US has reached a vital, paradox question: What do we want? More freedom or more security? From a historical point of view, these two never went along hand in hand, from the simple reason that, if you give people freedom, you also give some individuals the freedom to want to limit other people’s freedom, and if you decide to have a better security, it is very hard to find out the specific individuals in society that pose a threat, so, you have to keep everybody in check (aka, the NSA). Only the american, or, why not, world people will decide what they want for their own future. 

  3. Ryan Boyd

    Sad part is things won’t change. There isn’t real oversight, and why should there be for the elite? It benefits them more to say they aren’t collecting information and keep doing it than any other solution.

  4. Jeremy Harding

    Well, if you want to be technical about it, then I’ll suggest you look up the difference between morals and ethics. If we’re having an *ethical* discussion, then you’re possibly correct. If not, the morality of the Constitution still stands.

    I can agree with you on an ethical level, but to reject the argument against the Constitutional infringements in which the NSA engages, when most people won’t make any distinction between Constitutional rights and human rights, is about as trivial as me throwing out your argument because you failed to make the distinction between morals and ethics, and about as effective as that in advancing the cause of liberty activism. Let’s not make liberty seem hostile and cavilous. We’re trying to get people to like liberty, not think they’ll be snapped at if they say something slightly disagreeable.
  5. Anonymous

    By their very nature, governments grow to the point where they become burdensome to the governed.  At that point, they must do things to ensure their existence – oppression, propaganda, redirection, and control are just the tip of the iceberg.  Throughout the world today, we have a large number of established governments that are becoming an increasing burden to the governed.  The intrusions we see are just the start.

     

    1984 was just a typo to that famous book’s title.

     

    Either that, or I am becoming overly sensitive and paranoid.

  6. anarchyseeds

    If a person worried about constitutional rights, they would be Ron Paul. People worry about all their rights, all at once. 

  7. Matt Wavle

    Next question, What can be done about it?

    And is following an unconstitutional law as bad as violating a legitimate one? 
    If so, shouldn’t all NSA agents violating the 4th amendment be prosecuted for their crime?
  8. Matt Wavle

    Of course the NSA violates the 4th amendment.  Next question, What can be done about it?

    And is following an unconstitutional law as bad as violating a legitimate one? 
    If so, shouldn’t all NSA agents violating the 4th amendment be prosecuted for their crime?
  9. bosthegreat

    Do we even have a 4th amendment anymore? Look at our tax code. It either violates the 4th amendment or the 5th amendment or both depending on how you look at it.

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