Should Constitution 101 Be a Required Course for Public Officials?

It is easy to excuse a child for making some grave error on his or her math assignment. After all, the purpose of the homework is to ensure the child can learn the topic at hand. It is different when a sitting judge makes serious mistakes, as they are supposed to be the experts on the law. This article shows the absolute stupidy of U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I’ll rebut their position in italics. Sorry for all the repetition, but I understand it helps slow learners.

NEW YORK – Random police searches of subway riders’ bags to deter terrorism in the nation’s largest subway system do not violate the Constitution and are a minimal intrusion of privacy, a federal judge ruled Friday.

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.

“Because the threat of terrorism is great and the consequences of unpreparedness may be catastrophic, it would seem foolish not to rely upon those qualified persons in the best position to know,” Berman said.

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.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg welcomed the ruling. “We have an obligation to keep this city safe, and the [New York Police Department] will continue to use reasonable precautions like bag searches to do so,” he said.

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.

On Nov. 14, the police department began a test project to determine the feasibility of using explosive-detection technology in subways that would do an instant analysis of chemicals on the surface of backpacks or other containers.

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.

5 Comments
  1. I’m pretty confident that this ruling will be overturned on appeal. There’s so little there to support the dismissal. The very randomness that the police are touting makes it almost definitely unconstitutional.

    It’s a bad ruling, but probably a blip on the radar. The Circuit Courts are far less likely to “rely upon those qualified persons in the best position to know,” as opposed to examining the Fourth Amendment implications.

    Yours truly,
    Nick

    …hopeful…

  2. interesting take on the issue. i guess i question it in this way… why is this any more intrusive/less permissable than similar (and usually MORE invasive) searches of airline passengers?

    it seems there is no fundamental right to ride on a subway just as there is no fundamental right to fly on a plane. if you want the convenience of it, you agree to the terms set forth for their use.

    am i missing something here?

  3. From my perspective (as a frequent flyer from Texas, even) it is no more nor less invasive. Rape is rape, whether at the bus terminal or the preferred customer club.

    I understand the mantra du jour of “no means no”. We should insist on that, always.

  4. There is an opt-out plan for those who do not wish to be searched. They can just walk away. I don’t know how many terrorists we are going to get that way. What they will find instead is some kid with a forgotten pack of rolling papers or a little old lady with her unclaimed slot machine winnings. Anything to bring additional inquiry. If only there were an opt-out clause on our tax forms which allowed us to choose not to financially subsidize air and rail lines. Since that is not the case, perhaps it is our right to use, without risk of molestation, what we have paid for.

%d bloggers like this: