Category Archives: U.S. Constitution

Evolution of the Fifth Amendment

5thAmendmentIn the uproar over the SCOTUS decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Prop 8, was what I feel is a pretty significant decision on our Fifth Amendment rights. Most of us are familiar with our Fifth Amendment rights, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything that you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you…” These are, hopefully, familiar to us because we like to watch police procedurals like Law & Order. The actual text of the Fifth Amendment reads, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Read the rest of this entry

Who You Gonna Call?

That’s what the government wants to know.  News broke overnight that the National Security Agency (NSA) has a warrant to get information on every call made over the Verizon network.  There has been no word yet as to whether or not other carriers are under a similar order. According to a report in the Washington Post, “The order appears to require a Verizon subsidiary to provide the NSA with daily information on all telephone calls by its customers within the United States and from foreign locations into the United States.”  Seems pretty outrageous, right?  But the order is signed by a judge overseeing domestic intelligence surveillance.  The Obama administration maintains that this is required to help fight terrorism.  The ACLU maintains that the practice of collecting these records is “beyond Orwellian.”  What is at play here is the inherent tension between the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment. Read the rest of this entry