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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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How literally should we take the words of the Bill of Rights, particularly the 4th Amendment, and how strongly should we apply it on issues of government surveillance here in the USA, spying on our own citizens (even foreign-born ones who got naturalized), searching through people's records and communications activity, etc?

If we do that in the name of fighting terrorism, is it OK?

Where SHOULD the line be drawn between safety and security?

If that line was already drawn by the Framers of the constitution, is there any room to flex that string or move it over a few inches, or must any change be done by passing and ratifying a constitutional amendment?

In a recent interhew for the Georgia Lawyers magazine, former Deputy Attorney General of the USA, Larry D. Thompson (Republican, black male, age late 60s, self-described "child of the 1960s" and former co-worker with future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) was asked about the balancing of interests between citizens' rights and giving the State the power to investigate and crack down on terrorists.

Q: "how do you think the government should balance national security needs with civil liberties?"

A: "As a private citizen...[ I think] the government should be aggressive. ... Now, that gets to be tricky in our country where we have certain rights. The government can't listen into our telephone conversations without proper authority, and you have to have probable cause to detain us. I'm not saying we should do away with those kinds of things, but I think we should be as aggressive as possible to protect Americans... I'm not being flippant when I say that as an individual, my Fourth Amendment rights would not do me any good if I'm blown up."

To me, that sounds like he's paying lip service to the constitution while wishing it were rolled back and saying when he was in office, he tried to roll it back as far as he could get away with legally.

What do you all think?
 

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NRA Instructor
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I think we need the BoR to stand firm as written with original intent. If you want to even attempt to stop terrorist then stop importing them on a daily basis. Spying on Americans for the sake of spying on them is wrong not to mention illegal and unconstitutional.
 

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I think we need the BoR to stand firm as written with original intent. If you want to even attempt to stop terrorist then stop importing them on a daily basis.
That works for me. If you are not an American citizen and you live in this Country then I have no problem with your being looked at all the time. If you are a private non military type American citizen visiting one of these countries that knowingly harbor terrorist then I have no problem with you being looked at as well Regardless of your reason for being there.
 

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Proud GCO member.
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The bill of rights makes no mention of being limited to citizens. Adding that exception opens the door to having you declared a non-citizen or "enemy combatant" and instantly stripped of all rights.

That exists today, btw. If the government declares you a terrorist, you simply vanish. The Constitution is dead...
 
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We are living in a post-constitutional America and have been for some time. We are a country ruled by political expediency, not law.
 

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Señor Member
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The bill of rights makes no mention of being limited to citizens. .
I'm not so sure I agree. Most of the amendments refer to "the people" (which I believe refers to the people of the United States), as opposed to "people" or "a person". The second, which is worded this way, does not apply to non citizens in practice, and is worded this way. The fifth is worded differently, "No person shall be...", and later "nor shall any person be...", and I might be inclined to agree with you there. The tenth reserves "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states" to the states, or to "the people". You don't think such powers would be the right of non citizens, do you? I sure as hell don't! I believe "the people" can only be interpreted as "citizens of the United States".
 

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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..."

So, are you arguing that your 1st and 2nd amendment rights are granted by government?

If not, are you arguing that only American citizens are in favor with their creator?

Neither of those are solid foundations. And as I mentioned, the ability to declare you an "enemy" and deprive you of the 4th and 5th goes against everything our Founders believed in. That's what kings did....

The Constitution binds government. It applies to all under the authority of said government.
 

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We are living in a post-constitutional America and have been for some time. We are a country ruled by political expediency, not law.
I wanted to hit the like button but I don't like what you said at all, But what you said was said well and sadly the Truth.
 
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Señor Member
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Well, yes, I see your point clearly and agree, our rights are inherently ours, endowed by God. However, I believe that if you have broken our laws by entering the country illegally, or have fought against us in war (including terrorism), you should not expect the same protections afforded by our law. This may not have been the founder's intent, I stand corrected. I do stand by my last statement that they could not have intended for non citizens to hold the powers not granted to the Federal or state governments. Too bad we can't ask them for clarification given today's circumstances. I'm sure they would do their best to err on the side of liberty.
 

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How intrusive would government surveillance be if it weren't for the intrusiveness of entities like Facebook, Google, Microsoft et al? Oh, I'm sure it would still be very intrusive but we, the people, are sure making it far more easier by laying our souls bare in cyberspace like unthinking lemmings.
 
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