Likening NSA Surveillance to Abusive Colonial-Era General Warrants, TRI Asks Appeals Court to Declare Domestic Spying Illegal

Posted: March 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

Likening the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic spying program to a modern-day incarnation of the abusive colonial-era general warrants and writs of assistance which prompted the Framers of the U.S. Constitution to adopt the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, The Rutherford Institute has asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to strike down the government’s surveillance program. In filing an amicus curiae brief in ACLU v. Clapper, Institute attorneys have asked the court to enforce the historic purposes of the Fourth Amendment by reversing a district court ruling that the government’s broad monitoring of citizens’ telephone calls does not constitute an illegal search.

“James Madison, who was one of the primary drafters of our Constitution, once warned that we should take alarm at the first experiment with our liberties,” stated John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “He also warned that ‘the essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.’ To our detriment, we have failed to heed Madison’s warning. As a result, we now find ourselves operating in a strange paradigm where the government not only views the citizenry as suspects but treats them as suspects, as well. Thus, the fact that the NSA is routinely operating outside of the law and overstepping its legal authority by carrying out surveillance on American citizens is not really much of a surprise. This is what happens when you give the government broad powers and allow government agencies to routinely sidestep the Constitution.”


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