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The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable...

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sj83 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 25, 2013 at 1:29 AM via web

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The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the age of terrorism, is it "unreasonable" to allow warrantless searches of suspected terrorists?

Should law enforcement be allowed to ignore the Bill of Rights in their efforts to pursue suspected terrorists?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 25, 2013 at 1:44 AM (Answer #1)

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While it may seem logical to allow the government to have a great deal of leeway in trying to catch suspected terrorists, it would be very dangerous to allow the government to violate the Fourth Amendment simply on the basis of their suspicions that a certain person might be a terrorist.  This would give the government excessive powers that could be used against non-terrorists.

If we allow the government to violate the Fourth Amendment in the cases of suspected terrorists, the government might start to abuse that right.  It is not out of the question to think that the government might use terrorism as an excuse to conduct warrantless searches of more run-of-the-mill criminals.  They could go after organized crime members, for example, by saying they feared those people might be conspiring with terrorists.  They could do the same to suspected drug dealers.  Since anyone could potentially aid or abet terrorists in some way, it would be very hard to limit this power to bona fide cases of terrorism.

Terrorism is a serious worry, but there are also very serious problems that could go along with giving the government unlimited search and seizure powers in cases of suspected terrorism.

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