Over Easy: The Legitimacy of Secret Laws
The Declaration of Independence tells us a lot about conditions under which our government finds legitimacy. We are endowed with certain rights including life and liberty, and we have the right to seek happiness in our individual lives.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence declares that the purpose of government is to protect our rights and government is given legitimacy based on our consent.
Liberty is one of the natural rights our government was tasked with protecting. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees protection from government intrusion into our homes to survey and collect personal papers and effects without reasonable suspicion of finding proof of criminal activity.
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.
Yet, our government has granted itself the power through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) not only to indiscrimnately search our electronic communications, but to record and store that information for 5 years. What’s worse, the FISC made this ruling rendering null the Fourth Amendment without the necessary authority to decide such weighty issues…and in secret.
Just laws are written in plain language for all to see. By contrast, legal contortions made in secret to justify obviously prohibited behaviors cannot be given the consent of the governed without public disclosure. Laws of that kind have no legitimacy.
The Top Secret Verizon ruling of the FISC has no legitimacy. Written and ruled in secret on matters beyond the scope of its authority, FISC is acting under the color of law to violate one of our most basic rights guaranteed by the highest law of the land, the Constitution.
We do not need legal experts to tell us what rights we have; they are clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights and need no qualification. The law belongs to us, you and me. We are the governed from whom consent is required.
So, what are we going to do about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s bogus, illegitimate decision?
As always, Off Topic is welcome, and lurkers are encouraged to join the conversation.
Photo by Mr T in DC released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.