Thursday :: Dec 4, 2003

Another True Conservative Emerges

by pessimist

I've been writing for a short while on the rise of the True Conservative, by which I mean a conservative who decides that his/her standards are more important than party loyalty. As a conservative's necessary role in society is to act as a restraint against unwarranted change, I welcome and celebrate when a conservative decides that now is the time for all Good and True Conservatives to rise in defense of the country and its liberty.

The latest to stand and be counted is GOP Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter of Idaho, who is attempting to legislate a ban on "sneak and peek" searches.

Otter, an Idaho congressman, was successful in July at getting the House to approve a prohibition on the use of federal funds for such searches, which are executed without the property owner's or resident's knowledge and with warrants delivered afterward.

Senate and House leaders, though, refused to place that provision in the massive omnibus spending bill coming up before Congress next week, killing it for the year.

"I'm disappointed that it's not in there, obviously," Otter said Tuesday. "But we've come a really long way in the last two years and we've really brought an awareness to the Patriot Act and some of its overreaches."

Indeed, you helped, Congressman.

Otter's opposition is none other than John AshKKKroft's Justice Department, who argued:

"We are pleased that Congress acted wisely in removing this bad amendment," Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo said.

Corallo said he doesn't expect the House to pass Otter's amendment again. "We knew that most members of the House who voted for it didn't realize what it did," he said. "When it was explained to them that it would have a disastrous effect on law enforcement if it would have become law and that the Supreme Court had ruled in 1979 that it was totally constitutional and that arguments to the contrary were frivolous, we were confident that Congress would not move that bad piece of legislation forward."

Let's look at just what a "disastrous effect on law enforcement" is:

Otter's measure would have prevented federal dollars from being spent to implement warrants that delay notification that a covert search is being conducted. The Patriot Act established uniform national standards for what are sometimes known as "black bag" or "sneak and peek" searches.

The warrants must be approved by a judge and are permitted in limited circumstances. The Supreme Court in 1979 ruled that "it is well established that law officers constitutionally may break and enter" when such action is the only way to execute a search warrant.

The law permits agents to search the home of a suspected drug dealer, or plant a listening device in the car of a reputed mobster, or copy a computer hard drive of a terror suspect, without notifying the suspect until a later date. That keeps suspects from escaping, destroying evidence or tampering with witnesses, for example.

BRRRRR!! Annie! Get Your Gun! It's Anarchy, I Tell Ya! [/sarcasm]

Now I don't know about you, but somehow the United States managed most of it's 227 years of continuous existence to do without violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution for any extended length of time.

Just what in this description is so anathema to law enforcement? A prohibition from acting against Americans like the Iraqi Occupation Forces does against Iraqis? Horrors! How DARE someone try to inhibit the American Inquisition!

The good news is that, despite losing this round, Otter intends to carry on - with improvments!

Otter said the success of his amendment in the House laid the groundwork for a more comprehensive rollback of the Patriot Act in 2004. He and other lawmakers call that legislation the SAFE Security and Freedom Ensured Act. "If they liked the Otter amendment, they're going to love the SAFE Act," Otter said.

You've got my support, Congressman. And may other conservatives decide to become True like you.

pessimist :: 3:55 PM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!