Trump a threat to civil liberties? Look elsewhere.
While the left frets and fumes about Trump and some of his policies, the real damage is done elsewhere and the left is either clueless or complicit. The real damage to the Constitution and our individual liberties comes from, mirabile dictu, the courts.
First, in an update to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, there is an expanded Rule 41. But first, a little background on the FRCP.
The rules are a way for the federal courts to standardize practices in all the federal courts across the US. They cover a panoply of matters, most of little interest to non-lawyers. A committee for the Judicial Conference of the United States promulgates the rules. The Judicial Conference adopts the rule, and then punts the issue to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then passes the proposal to Congress, which can either disavow the change or it becomes the rule governing every federal court across the country. This is part of a statutory process through which federal courts may create new procedural rules, after giving public notice and allowing time for comment, under a “rules enabling act.”
The new Rule 41 says that “A magistrate judge with authority in any district where activities related to a crime may have occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district if: (A) the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means…”
Under this rule, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies will be able to search multiple computers across the country with a single warrant. Until the adoption of this rule, the government could only carry out a search of computers located in the district where the federal magistrate had authority, usually only in the district where the judge is sitting.
Remember, the Fourth Amendment specifies that a search warrant requires “particularly describing the place to be searched.” That is apparently no longer required under the new rule. So, be careful. If you conceal the location of your cell phone by not using, on iPhones, location services, a judge can issue a warrant to the FBI to search your phone no matter where in the world your phone is located. So much for the Fourth amendment.
Speaking of the Fourth Amendment, in a case heard by the entire panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Circuit has decided that if you avail yourself of your Second Amendment rights, you forgo not only your Fourth Amendment rights, but other rights as well, including the First Amendment.
In the case of The USA v. Shaquille Montel Robinson, United States Court Of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit, the court decided that if you are armed legally, you can be searched, even in circumstances where such a search would otherwise be prohibited.
In an opinion concurring in the judgment, one judge wrote that, “the majority decision today necessarily leads to the conclusion that individuals who elect to carry firearms forego other constitutional rights, like the Fourth Amendment right to have law enforcement officers “knock-and-announce” before forcibly entering homes. Likewise, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that individuals who choose to carry firearms necessarily face greater restrictions on their concurrent exercise of other constitutional rights.”
So it appears that if I follow the law in Florida and go armed, I forfeit other rights. And you know what, none of this was done by Trump. If you really want to protect your liberties and America’s ever-declining freedoms, don’t look at the President, look to the Courts.
Demand justices and judges who adhere to the constitution. Every time we celebrate a ruling because we like it, whether or not it agrees with the Constitution, we risk losing more of our freedoms.