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Friday, Oct. 14, 2005 at 6:38 AM
Watch, learn, and YOU decide
The so called "Patriot" acts are no different in their operation as military surveillance of civilians since 1917 !
Here is a brief excerpt from the dissenting opinion of justice Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court case Laird v. Tatum 408 U.S. 1 (1972) involving military intelligence and surveillance.
"Surveillance of civilians is none of the Army's constitutional business and Congress has not undertaken to entrust it with any such function. The fact that since this litigation started the Army's surveillance may have been cut back is not an end of the matter. Whether there has been an actual cutback or whether the announcements are merely a ruse can be determined only after a hearing in the District Court. We are advised by an amicus curiae brief filed by a group of former Army Intelligence Agents that Army surveillance of civilians is rooted in secret programs of long standing:
"Army intelligence has been maintaining an unauthorized watch over civilian political activity for nearly 30 years. Nor is this the first time that [408 U.S. 1, 28] Army intelligence has, without notice to its civilian superiors, overstepped its mission. From 1917 to 1924, the Corps of Intelligence Police maintained a massive surveillance of civilian political activity which involved the use of hundreds of civilian informants, the infiltration of civilian organizations and the seizure of dissenters and unionists, sometimes without charges. That activity was opposed - then as now - by civilian officials on those occasions when they found out about it, but it continued unabated until post-war disarmament and economies finally eliminated the bureaucracy that conducted it." Pp. 29-30.
This case involves a cancer in our body politic. It is a measure of the disease which afflicts us. Army surveillance, like Army regimentation, is at war with the principles of the First Amendment. Those who already walk submissively will say there is no cause for alarm. But submissiveness is not our heritage. The First Amendment was designed to allow rebellion to remain as our heritage. The Constitution was designed to keep government off the backs of the people. The Bill of Rights was added to keep the precincts of belief and expression, of the press, of political and social activities free from surveillance. The Bill of Rights was designed to keep agents of government and official eavesdroppers away from assemblies of people. The aim was to allow men to be free and independent and to assert their rights against government. There can be no influence more paralyzing of that objective than Army surveillance. When an intelligence officer looks over every nonconformist's shoulder in the library, or walks invisibly by his side in a picket line, or infiltrates his club, the America once extolled as the voice of liberty heard around the world no longer is [408 U.S. 1, 29] cast in the image which Jefferson and Madison designed, but more in the Russian image, depicted in Appendix III to this opinion.
APPENDIX I TO OPINION OF DOUGLAS, J., DISSENTING"
Why post it here, because since 1917 alleged legislation such as the Patriot Act attempts to legitimize acts of unconstitutional behavior committed as early as 1917 !
Even more bothersome that is taught in law school is the doctrine of implied powers. See A Crash Course in Constitutional Law for Harriet Miers--and Everybody Else
By MICHAEL C. DORF at http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20051012.html
Sorry Mr. Dorf, but it appears that the language of the Constitution means what it says and says what it means, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA v. U S, 199 U.S. 437 (1905), url..
" Two propositions in our constitutional jurisprudence are no longer debatable. One is that the national government is one of enumerated powers; and the other, that a power enumerated and delegated by the Constitution to Congress is comprehensive and complete, without other limitations than those found in the Constitution itself.
The Constitution is a written instrument. As such its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when adopted, it means now. Being a grant of powers to a government, its language is general; and, as changes come in social and political life, it embraces in its grasp all new conditions which are within the scope of the powers in terms conferred. In other words, [199 U.S. 437, 449] while the powers granted do not change, they apply from generation to generation to all things to which they are in their nature applicable. This in no manner abridges the fact of its changeless nature and meaning. Those things which are within its grants of power, as those grants were understood when made, are still within them; and those things not within them remain still excluded. As said by Mr. Chief Justice Taney in Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 426, 15 L. ed. 691, 709:"
Today, the national government continues to be hypocritcal mistakenly relying upon implied powers under M'CULLOCH v. STATE, 17 U.S. 316 (1819) while on the other hand implied powers remain excluded in STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA v. U S, 199 U.S. 437 (1905) decided 86 years after the fact.
Then is the Patriot Act written based on implied powers excluded by the Constitution because it doesn't provide persons will be secure in their houses, papers and effects, or that violates both due process and the rights to effective assistance of counsel and to confront the accuser.
Something to think about.
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