The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution; Consent, Or Not, Or Change Your Mind Midstream


I must say, by God these are extraordinary times.

Times which demand a new hard look in many directions. For one thing, I know my country’s Constitution peripherally.  I am its admirer, but I am not its student.

When Constitutional bits come up variously for examination I learn, then often forget, the content.

Following the Muslim-inclined scumbag terrorist bastard bombers from Chehnya and their dirty work in Boston, the Fourth Amendment is being scrutinized anew.


Because the entire population of a large American city was in minutes under martial law, by unknown authority, in stunning total lockdown. Flooding the airwaves…pictures and reports of more armed troops and law enforcement and the sophisticated machinery of war came out of nowhere and filled New England’s terrain in a way never before seen in any state of this nation.

Moreover, for some sensible and some alarming reasons in this historic revolutionary hotbed of yore, subjected to house to house searches on Patriot’s Day, there was not one single citizen who said I refuse.

4th Amendment:     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. (The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution).

Which has this fascinating historic sidebar:

In mid-January 1761, a group of over 50 merchants represented by James Otis, petitioned the court to have hearings on the issue. During the five-hour hearing on February 23, 1761, Otis vehemently denounced British colonial policies, including their sanction of general warrants and writs of assistance.

present in the courtroom when Otis spoke,
viewed these events as
“the spark in which originated the American Revolution.”
(Politicians might note……Otis lost in court but became a hero who won election to the Massachusetts Colonial Legislature.)
19 years later, Adams remembered Otis. 
Article XIV of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, written by John Adams and enacted in 1780 as part of the Massachusetts Constitution, added the requirement that all searches must be “reasonable” and served as the basis for the language of the Fourth Amendment:
And before that, the state of Virginia moved thusly:
Seeing the danger general warrants presented, the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) explicitly forbade the use of general warrants. This prohibition became precedent for the Fourth Amendment:[11]
Then there is the business of CONSENT TO SEARCH.
Consent searches are searches made by United States law enforcement personnel based on the consent of the individual whose person or property is being searched.

In the U.S., the simplest and most common type of warrantless searches are searches based upon consent.  No warrant or probable cause is required to perform a search if a person with the proper authority if a person CONSENTS TO A SEARCH.

Which has this interesting bit to it, namely the specified person must be present to all aspects of the search and has the RIGHT TO WITHDRAW CONSENT AT ANY TIME.

A consent search requires the individual whose person or property is being searched to freely and voluntarily waive his or her Fourth Amendment rights, granting the officer permission to perform the search.[1] The person has the right to refuse to give consent,[1] and except in limited cases may revoke consent at any point during the search.[3] In addition, the prosecution in any trial using the search results as evidence is required to prove that the consent was voluntary and not a result of coercion.[4]


I don’t much like excessive force on the part of police officers who I generally do like, so I found this interesting, it goes along with recently challenged citizen’s right to photograph arrests and confrontations……
A police officer does not have the authority to arrest someone for refusing to identify himself when he is not suspected of committing a crime, unless state law says otherwise.
                          Check your own state’s laws.
WWII left horrific impressions on free Americans for a lot of reasons, and one of them was that European governments could demand TO SEE YOUR PAPERS and you better have them in hand and have them up to date or risk getting shot on the spot.  Go watch the opening of Casablanca again, and The Third Man, which instruct much.
To call our Constitution static or dead is a clear lie. It has been in flux since the day it was born. We have demanded the privilege in America of endless legal appeal to address justice.
Bear in mind..If there is the determined removal of all law in these times when so few Americans seem to know what they think or stand for or why, there will be no refuge in certainties which may protect the very life that so confuses. The cry to Suspend The Constitution!! is heard from protesting citizen revolutionaries as well as governments.
Beware of imposition, whenever you find it, because it is a tyrant warring against the good nature of free people.


DRONES. What The Hell Are They. A Primer.

The Fourth Amendment: (<<link: nice Library of Congress site)        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.

COST:   $12,548,710.60 per Drone



By now “Drone Strike” is as much in common usage as the daily weather report. And like Mark Twain said,  Everybody talks about it but nobody does anything Either in direct story content, or direct target, or the CIA operative, or President Obama’s affection for it, or the Drone Kill List, or the Benghazi soldier hoping for one to keep them alive, or northwest hunters shooting them out of the sky, the DRONE is suddenly a part of America’s daily life. Did anybody vote on this? Did I miss the memo from my senator? Is anything being done? Who the hell is up to what. Where’s the money coming from?

America knows DRONES.  Except we don’t. How come they’re standard military equipment all of a sudden. Weren’t we all just talking about ‘boots on the ground’ and troop increases and battleship movements? And today, the DOJ says using Drones to kill Americans, who may be a threat with some sketchy figuring, is, constitutionally, okey-dokey.

The concern over American turf surveillance, prettily called Civilian Drones, worried a couple of states enough to produce some stunningly swift legislation this week, both parties, to keep their state’s skies Drone Free or restricted: 

Montana, California, Oregon, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, Florida, Virginia, Maine, Oklahoma.

Include the unlikely bedfellows the ACLU and the Tea Party allied in that mix. For some reason things flying overhead and collecting data on our daily lives, are causing a huge political stir. Which the really penetrating surveillance of Google never did. How come on that. Or was Google the cartographer. And the country can be falling off a cliff for a year but in a week states are making decisive laws protecting their overhead, while on the Federal level they haven’t produced a budget in five years. Gee whiz. Oh by the way, according to Time Magazine (DronesNov. 06, 2012)   $12,548,710.60— the cost, per drone, of 10 MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft the Air Force announced Monday that it is buying. Ten = $125,487,106.00. That was the day before the election, three months ago.

 Drones are getting cheaper and smaller by the minute. Law Enforcement agencies are liking them for searching out suspects, searching out in rescues, and searching out natural disaster details. Whole lot of searchin goin on. And accumulating data on civilians who never committed a crime.

Eleven States Take Steps to Restrict Drone Flyovers

“Our founders had no conception of things that would fly over them at night and peer into their backyards and send signals back to a home base.” (Sen. A. Donald McEachin, Democrat, sponsor of the Virginia Senate bill.) 

They will not be allowed in the hands of private citizens, not equipped with weapons, nor owned by local & state governments either, said Montana’s Senate on Tuesday. But state agencies can cooperate with federal investigators, and the ACLU says states can’t stop the feds, not agencies or border patrols. And added, “The use of drones across the country has become a great threat to our personal privacy. The door is wide open for intrusions into our personal private space.” (ACLU of Montana policy director Niki Zupanic).

Eleven States Take Steps to Restrict Drone Flyovers

There is a stunning plethora of info on Drones most of which answer questions you weren’t looking for and leave out the huge void, that Presidential Fireside Chat that should have come four years or ten or twenty years ago. How easy to forget we hired our politicians who are supposed to write us letters or go on radio or TV and ask:

“Yo! Would you like this for our country? How would you like me to vote, my dear electorate?”

before they go off doing things in total secrecy and we find out because somebody in Yemen gets hit by something somebody in power here okayed before we knew they existed, and an Ambassador and three other Americans in a land faraway didn’t get the Drone they were waiting for. Helluva way to run a country.


1915 –  Nikola Tesla dreamed them.  

1935 – Actor Reginald Denny develos first Remote Piloted Vehicle   

WWII – US, Allies, Nazis developed 

1955 – US Navy                                                    Vietnam – beginning of tomorrow.

The following is from Wikipedia so who knows, more intrigue but it’s a start……………..

Ryan Firebee was a series of early target drones/unmanned aerial vehicles.

The earliest attempt at a powered unmanned aerial vehicle was A. M. Low‘s “Aerial Target” of 1916.[3] Nikola Tesla described a fleet of unmanned aerial combat vehicles in 1915.[4] A number of remote-controlled airplane advances followed, including the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane, during and after World War I, including the first scale RPV (Remote Piloted Vehicle), developed by the film star and model airplane enthusiast Reginald Denny in 1935.[3] More were made in the technology rush during World War II; these were used both to train antiaircraft gunners and to fly attack missions. Nazi Germany also produced and used various UAV aircraft during the course of WWII. Jet engines were applied after World War II, in such types as the Teledyne Ryan Firebee I of 1951, while companies like Beechcraft also got in the game with their Model 1001 for the United States Navy in 1955.[3] Nevertheless, they were little more than remote-controlled airplanes until the Vietnam Era.

I’ll keep looking. You too, pay attention. It may be coming to a state capital near you, up for a vote. The debate continues over the right of citizens to shoot down Drones over their back gardens. I’ll put the Fourth Amendment in a second time for good measure:                   

“The Fourth Amendment  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.”