Did I lose my constitutional rights when I crossed the border?

By Dennis Landwehr of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. Dennis is a displaced Oregonian who still votes and pays taxes in Oregon. In 1998, Dennis was a Democratic candidate for Deschutes County Commissioner.

The Fourth Amendment:

"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."

Gordon Smith voted Thursday to bring to the floor of the Senate S.2248, Bush's FISA Amendment act.

One widely-discussed provision retroactively immunizes various telephone companies who assisted the Bush et. al. with previous illegal wiretaps after 9/11. This is bad law and bad precedent, but is mostly about money for lawyers.

Of more concern to me, this change would allow surveillance of electronic communication which happens to cross the US border, at the unchecked whim of two administration appointees, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. I am a US citizen, and I do not recall discarding my civil rights at the border on the way out when I took up residency in Canada.

My other Senator, Ron Wyden, (I still vote in Oregon per US law), had inserted an amendment in the Intelligence Committee's version requiring a court order to target the communications of a US citizen living or traveling, or serving in the military abroad but that provision is not in S.2248.

Please join me in reminding Sen. Smith that discarding the Bill of Rights when it is inconvenient for the administration is not what Oregonians desire or expect.

It is not too late for Smith to vote against S.2248 when it comes to the floor.

Comments

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    A lot of us residing in country hadn't thought we'd given up ours in 2000 either, evidently we did. Don't ask me how, other than fear and apathy. If you're expecting a big change after the election, don't count on it. Maybe at gunpoint, but otherwise, nah. And guns won't come out over politics, not anymore, maybe over starvation, but not something like the BOR.

    Maybe a Merkley or Novick would be a step, but that is from Oregon, not the country at large.

  • Ten Bears (unverified)
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    Oregon was a Republic, before it was a "state".

  • (Show?)

    Short answer to your question:

    Yes.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    No, you lost your constitutional rights when Americans bought into the war on terror and decided it was a good bargain to give up all their rights for a little illusory security.

  • Patricia Smith (unverified)
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    If you want to regain personal rights, and stop some of these laws that are in violation of the constitution. elect Ron Paul President. He is the only candidate who really believe in upholding the Constitution and has a 20 year record to prove it.

    I have been a Democrat for most of my adult life, but changed parties this year to vote for and support Dr Paul.

    <h2>You should too.</h2>
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