4th Amendment: Battered but not broken

Well, it’s nice to know that one branch of government still acknowledges the existence of the Fourth Amendment:

The Supreme Court narrowed police search powers yesterday, ruling that officers must have a warrant to look for evidence in a couple’s home unless both of the partners present agree to let them in.

Washingt Post (by way of the Boston Globe): Supreme Court imposes new limits on police searches

Meanwhile, while on the Globe site, this headline came across:
Specter takes lead on Senate lead on eavesdropping

Being the curious type, I had to take a look. The Senate is trying to make Bush’s illegal spying program retroactively legal, but, to Specter’s credit, he’s giving the administration a hard time.

“They want to do just as they please, for as long as they can get away with it,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think what is going on now without congressional intervention or judicial intervention is just plain wrong.”

Here’s more on the two competing bills:

One bill, written by Specter, would require a secretive federal intelligence court to conduct regular reviews of the program’s constitutionality. A rival approach — drafted by Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine and three other Republicans — would allow the government to conduct warrantless surveillance for up to 45 days before seeking court or congressional approval…
Specter’s bill would require the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to provide a broad constitutional review of the surveillance activities every 45 days and evaluate whether the government has followed previous authorizations that are issued.

DeWine, however, wants to give the administration as much as 45 days to operate without a court warrant. If at any point the attorney general has enough information to go to the intelligence court, he must.

Under that approach, Specter said the administration can still “roam and roam and roam, and not find anything, and keep roaming. … I think that’s wrong.”

Andy in Harrisburg

2 thoughts on “4th Amendment: Battered but not broken

  1. Does anyone else find it interesting that the Senate wants to make the program “retroactively” legal, when Bush and Gonzales have been saying all along that it was 100% legal to begin with?

    Why do we to make it legal at all if it already is?

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