Understanding the 4th Amendment to the Constitution

This amendment to the Constitution is an important one and safeguards our right to privacy and protection from unlawful activities by law enforcement agencies. The main thrust is to ensure that we are not subject to unreasonable searches and seizures and that probable cause must be identified before any warrant is issued by a magistrate. The exact wording of this amendment is provided below:


“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. Applying to arrests and to searches of persons, homes, and other private places, this amendment requires a warrant, thereby placing a neutral magistrate between the police and the citizen.”


In these times we live in there are those who want to do us harm and will make every effort to accomplish their objectives. The need for law enforcement to have the access it needs to ensure the security of us as individuals and as a country cannot be disputed. It is not known how many planned terrorists activities have been thwarted and to a large extent I feel the patriot act passed by Congress played a role in this activity. Government entities at all levels must have the tools and resources to protect the security of us and our country. Granted there may be instances where individuals were overzealous in the actions they may have taken we should not condemn all individuals by assuming everybody is taking such action. Those who violate our right to privacy should be brought to justice according the applicable laws which were violated.

Many individuals and some organizations feel that the Patriot Act should never have been created with concerns cited with respect to the requirements of the 4th Amendment. The writing of the Constitution and in particular this amendment was created to address issues which were part of the environment in the early days of our country. The control of those in authority throughout the colonies left much to be desired and was in large part the reason this amendment was initiated.

Privacy is something we all have a right to expect as identified in this amendment and others in the Constitution. Privacy violations which have been in the news in recent weeks and months and though we do not know all the details of the activities being investigated the requirements of the 4th amendment should never be violated. While I understand that there are valid concerns about events associated with our right to privacy pointing the blame to entire government entities is not the answer. Granted there appear to have been violations but it does not mean that all individuals within the government are violating our right to privacy.

Another part of this amendment involves protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. The protection from this taking place involves the need for a magistrate to authorize a warrant before such searches or seizures can take place. The warrants issued must identify the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Having a magistrate involved creates a neutral party or it should be between the police or law agency and the citizen or citizens involved.

In summary this is one of the most important amendments to the Constitution not to lessen the importance of the other nine amendments which make up our bill of rights. The rights which are identified in the 4th amendment establish a principle by which all law enforcement agencies must comply. While there may be other laws associated with our right to privacy such as the Patriot Act the basic requirements must not be violated. Laws such as the Patriot Act have specific requirements to address some control over law enforcement agencies to ensure that there are specific reasons identified for a warrant to be issued. The requirements in the Patriot Act as I know them help to ensure the privacy requirements are not violated without just cause.






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6 comments

HSchneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

The Bush Administration railroaded the Patriot Act through Congress after 9/11 without any regards to the 4th Amendment. They employed lawyers in their Justice Department who were very bright but had no regard for Constitutionality. The Patriot Act has many good aspects such as finally shutting down anonymous offshore accounts. Unfortunately it went way over bounds in a hysteric manner to catch terrorists. It totally disregarded the 4th Amendment while paying legalistic lip service to it. It should be revised in the light of time and lessened hysteria.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 3 years ago from usa

HSchneider

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act

The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 is an Act of Congress that was signed into law .... one Senator, Russ Feingold, who was the only Senator to vote against the bill.

Don't sound like a railroad job with a super majority of congress voting on the bill, the word is BI PARTISAN and Compromise that's the way our government works BEST

l


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago Author

Jon

Thanks for your input. The Purpose of the Patriot Act was to provide some communication between law enforcement organizations to have better control in identifying those who want to do us harm.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago Author

HSchneider

Thanks for your input. The Patriot Act was a bi-partisan act and is much needed to protect our security as an individual and a country


HSchneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Jon, You have never been disappointed with anything that the right wing Republicans have put out. Yet you criticize Democrats at every turn no matter the subject or points. You lace my Hubs and others of my opinions with right wing links and label them as truth no matter the self serving source. Please look at yourself truthfully in the mirror.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 3 years ago from usa

HSchneider

'' criticize Democrats at every turn no matter the subject or points. You lace my Hubs and '' You need to be more open to the facts rather than complain about news links from other sources that you refuse to investigate the whole true not a distortion of the truth Please be specific, so to allow me a response. Friendly debate is good for all hubbers interested in the political world of today.

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