We spend a whole lot of time on the first and second amendments here at Constitution.com, but that’s only because they have both been the victim of such blatant and unwarranted attacks in recent years that we’d be ignoring them at our own peril.
And, of course, those are the two biggies. In fact, there are plenty of arguments that say number two is likely more important than number one, based on the fact that the first can be taken away by the second. (As can “life”. And “liberty”. And “the pursuit of happiness”).
How about Amendment Three? Third time’s a charm, right?
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
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This one doesn’t come into play all that often, especially in modern America, where we can stretch our legs from the whipping winds of the Atlantic to the balmy breeze of California’s Pacific Coast. Back when we were but a meager thirteen colonies, the old guard back across the pond still probably had a shot at taking us out if they were to land some preemptive sucker punch. Once we achieved Manifest Destiny, however, the Euro-Conquistador crowd backed off quite a ways.
So, that brings us to amendment number four, and she is a doozy.
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.
In layman’s terms, no one can waltz into your home looking for something to get you in trouble for. [Author’s note: I’m almost out of moonshine.] There has to be a reason for the authorities to come digging around your house, your bank account, your internet browsing history, or your rolodex.
Or your iPhone.
But what happens when you’ve passed on? Who then consents to allowing the police to access these data points of your former existence? That’s a question that we may soon learn the answer to.
Florida authorities went to a funeral home and used a dead man’s finger to try to unlock his cellphone as part of their investigation.
Thirty-year-old Linus Phillip was killed by a Largo police officer last month after authorities say he tried to drive away before an officer could search him.
At the funeral home, two detectives held the man’s hands up to the phone’s fingerprint sensor but could not unlock it.
Phillip’s fiancee Victoria Armstrong says she felt violated and disrespected.
This absurdly brazen attempt to unlock a dead man’s cellular device is unnervingly invasive and will likely make a great case for any Constitution-minded lawyers reading along.