A Government For The People


A Government For The People? Essay, Research Paper

In 1787, the fathers of our country met at the Philadelphia Convention to ratify the document

that would soon be known as ?The Constitution of the United States of America?. This

Constitution was to be the supreme law of the land. Our Constitution was set up in order to form

a more perfect union, and to give the people under its provision certain unalienable rights.

Among the rights granted to the people are: the right to free speech, the right to keep and bear

arms, and the right of the people to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Today

I will demonstrate for you how the Constitution has become only a small stumbling block in the

Federal Government?s efforts to increase its power through the use of legal precedents.

A prime example of how the government pirouettes around the Constitution is seen in the

case of Chimel versus The Supreme Court of California. On March 27, 1969 several police

officers showed up on the petitioner?s (Chimel) doorstep to arrest him on charges of burglary.

Upon answering the doorbell the petitioner was served with an arrest warrant. Shortly after the

arrest, while still at the petitioners house, the officers asked if they could have a ?look around?.

The petitoner knew his rights, and that the officers had no search warrant, so he respectfully

denied their request. This was of no consequence to the officers. They went ahead and

unlawfully searched his three-bedroom house top to bottom, leaving no piece of personal

property unturned.

A few months later the petitioner?s case was plead in a California District Court. At the

petitioner?s trial the illegally seized items were used against him. He was convicted. Unhappy

with the district court?s ruling, he appealed to The California Supreme Court. Upon

consideration, the Supreme Court affirmed that the arrest was legal because the officers had

sufficient information on the suspect to constitute an arrest. The court also held that the search

was justified as incident to a valid arrest. A valid arrest?so what! The fourth amendment of

the Constitution clearly states, ?The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,

papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.?. It then

establishes the acceptable parameters for a legal search and seizure to be, ??upon probable

cause supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and

the person or things to be seized.?. You can?t make it any plainer than that! No search warrant,

no search. A valid arrest is incidental. This one ruling sets the stage for two huge governmental

trends that the American people do not want to see.

The first is that not only did this infringement of rights affect Chimel, but it set a legal

precedent. That means that any case that resembles Chimel?s will be decided not on the basis of

the information presented at the trial, but on the ruling of his case. So not only does this injustice

directly affect Chimel, it affects anyone who may be in his same situation for years to come.

The second, most detrimental effect this ruling has on our society, is the Federal

Government?s uncontested dismissal of a Constitutionally guaranteed right. When the

Constitution was drafted, it was done for the benefit of the people, with the idea that the people

would be the main shareholders of power. When rulings like this go uncontested, it takes the

power away from the people, and gives it to the Federal Government. If they can toss away the

fourth amendment, why not the first? Hell, why not bring back slavery? I?m sure the

government could justify that by contorting the international commerce clause that?s found in

article 1, section 8 of the Constitution. You can probably see my point by now; if they can

violate us once, why not two or three times?

The underlying principle here is that the Federal Government is abusing what little power

was enumerated to it, in an effort to expand it?s size and authority. General welfare, liberty, and

posterity are the things that America is made of. As Americans, we can?t sit idly by and watch

our rights get thrown out the bureaucratic window, as they did with Chimel. The geniuses who

wrote our Constitution did so with us, the people, in mind. If we can hold their spirit in our

hearts and interpret the Constitution the way it was meant to be interpreted, America will be a

proud and sovereign nation for centuries to come.


Constitution of The U.S.


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