Monday, May 22, 2006

Nibbling away at the Constitution

Today's chomp is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales floating a trial balloon for the idea that journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information on the grounds that:

"'... it can't be the case that that right [the First Amendment Right to freedom of the press] trumps over the right that Americans would like to see, the ability of the federal government to go after criminal activity,' he said. 'And so those two principles have to be accommodated.'"

Well, no. Actually, the Constitution specifically says what rights we have in that regard. The Fourth Amendment reads:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..." (emphasis added) And, of course, this means unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, not by burglars.

This "right" that the "people" have to "see ... the government go after criminal activity" was invented by Gonzales out of whole cloth, and it completely eviscerates the First Amendment. If this theory holds, all the government has to do to censor information is to classify it.

Once again the Bush Administration is trying to take a bite out of the Constitution. Not that this should come as a suprise to anyone at this point.

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