OMR, ACLU, and EFF oppose the expansion of the Patriot Act.
Bill of rights of US Constitution does not allow unlawful search and seizure in 4th amendment
?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.?
The 4th amendment is based on Based in 17th C. British law from the landmark case of Entick v. Carrington. One of a series of civil actions against state officers who, pursuant to general warrants, had raided many homes and other places in search of materials connected with John Wilkes' polemical pamphlets attacking not only governmental policies but the King himself.
Entick, an associate of Wilkes, sued because agents had forcibly broken into his house, broken into locked desks and boxes, and seized many printed charts, pamphlets and the like. In an opinion sweeping in terms, the court declared the warrant and the behavior it authorized subversive ''of all the comforts of society,'' and the issuance of a warrant for the seizure of all of a person's papers rather than only those alleged to be criminal in nature ''contrary to the genius of the law of England.'' Besides its general character, said the court, the warrant was bad because it was not issued on a showing of probable cause and no record was required to be made of what had been seized. Entick v. Carrington, the Supreme Court has said, is a ''great judgment,'' ''one of the landmarks of English liberty,'' ''one of the permanent monuments of the British Constitution,'' and a guide to an understanding of what the Framers meant in writing the Fourth Amendment.
All well and good, but what can we do about it?
Contact your representatives? offices and be heard.
1. Call Congress today. To look up your Representative's and Senators' direct numbers click here, or you can call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
2. Send a letter like this one from the ACLU (link )
Dear [Decision Maker],
I urge you to oppose expansion of the Patriot Act. As your constituent, I urge you to oppose expansion of the Patriot Act. The PATRIOT Act is an attack on fundamental American values. It needs to be reformed, not expanded.
People across the country have made clear their opposition to the Patriot Act. Hundreds of communities have passed resolutions against the Patriot Act and held town hall meetings to discuss its impact on their residents and our Constitution. Congress should not be tone-deaf to these serious concerns.
There are significant flaws in the Patriot Act, flaws that threaten our fundamental freedoms by giving the government the power to access to medical records, tax records, information about the books we buy or borrow without probable cause, and the power to break into our homes and conduct secret searches without telling us for weeks, months, or indefinitely.
Finally, I believe that the PATRIOT Act is an attack on fundamental American values and that it needs to be fixed. The Constitution and its Bill of Rights emphasize the need for checks and balances on government agents and limits to their power. I understand that the PATRIOT Act rolled back key judicial oversight and gave law enforcement significant new powers that go beyond the war on terrorism. Reforming this legislation would be an important step in bringing the PATRIOT Act back in line with American values.
Once again, I strongly urge you to oppose expansion of the PATRIOT Act.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this very important matter.
[City, State ZIP]