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I often wonder in these days why we continue to bother with that pesky Constitution thing.  I mean, it is truly an outdated document, why should we bother with it anymore?  It isn’t like its important or anything.

At least that’s what the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would have us think.

According to them, we might as well just torch things like he Constitution and Bill of Rights.  While we’re at it we might as well shred the Declaration on Independence as well.  Who needs all that yammering on and on about freedom, rights, and liberty.  Liberty. Hmph.  Who needs that?  Or even wants it?

Well, I do, for one.  And, I would imagine that most Americans are pretty fond of it as well.  But, the Ninth District has elected to continue the gradual erosion of our personal rights that has been happening for decades, but really kicked into gear post-9/11.

For those who don’t follow this sort of thing allow me to explain…

In 2007 DEA officials decided that Juan Pineda-Moreno was growing pot.  They were reasonably sure, but apparently needed a bit more evidence to get their conviction.  So, instead of doing further investigative work they went on his property in the middle of the night and hid a GPS device on his vehicle.  Mr. Pineda-Moreno drives out to his little pot farm in the hills.  They GPS track him.  Slam, bam, thank you ma’am he gets convicted, much of the case hinging on this GPS evidence.

Oh, did I mention they never had a warrant to come onto his property or GPS tag his car?

Our pot-growing friend’s lawyer decided this was dirty pool.  No warrant equals no evidence.  His client had a reasonable expectation of privacy on his own property after all.  The appeal was almost assured to happen.  And happen it did, in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, who shot it down not once, but twice.

They made no comment, however, in either instance so we can’t judge as to whether they were intoxicated at the time.

Now, some of you out there may be screaming that this guy was breaking the law and deserved a conviction.  That is hardly the point here.  The point is, if I may be so bold, that the judiciary just handed carte blanche to law enforcement to track vehicles via GPS without having to ever justify such an action to a judge.

Cop thinks your a drug dealer or terrorist, but can’t prove a thing?  You can be tracked.  Cop thinks you drive a little too fast or recklessly, but he can’t get you speeding?  You can be tracked.  Cop gets dumped by his girlfriend and he wants to scare off any other potential suitors?  They can be tracked.  Cop saw you picking your nose at the red light?  Yep, that’s a go on the GPS, my friend.

I don’t care whether you are liberal, conservative, Republican, or Democrat; this country was founded on the concept of freedom.  Liberty is the basic underpinning that should inform every action of every level of our government.  The power in this country was invested in the people, not in the government.

I come back to the words of my one of the truest Americans to ever live, Benjamin Franklin.  I know I have quoted him thus before, but perhaps we need to hear it again.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


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