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Why do you think the 4th Amendment is important?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In a world where we have laws for everything and where "old" things generally make way for "new" things, we have a Constitution which has served as the basis for all other legal and political actions in America for more than two centuries.  In those several hundred years, there have been only twenty-seven amendments made to that document.  That gives them a weightiness, to me, which makes every one of them supremely important.  I appreciate the fact that my government has to be accountable, just as it expects me to be.  This amendment assures my privacy until I give the government reason to believe I have broken trust with the law in some way.

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brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Originally established as a limit on the power of the government and its agents in law enforcement to intrude on the private property and person without probable cause or judicial oversight was a wise move on the part of Madison and Jefferson.  It would be much easier for the representative democracy we have tried to establish to degenerate into something resembling a police state.

I like this amendment because it consistently forces the government to follow a clear standard when it comes to my privacy and the idea that I am always innocent until proven guilty, and that my privacy is paramount until reasonable suspicion to suggest that guilt has been shown.

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dano7744 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution addresses search and seizure law. It is important because the framers of the constitution realized that governmental intrusions infringed on the rights of the public. In the old country laws were nonexistent in regards to privacy matters. The government had free reign to stop, search, or interrogate anyone of their choosing without any discernible reason to do so. Harassment from officials was commonplace and the average citizen had no recourse to stop  unwarranted searches and seizures.

Today, the fourth amendment protects citizens from unreasonable governmental actions. For example, the issuance of a warrant  must meet specific guidelines to be considered legal and they must be followed stringently to protect the law enforcement officer and the citizen.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would say that one of the reasons the 4th Amendment is so important is that it is reflective of the Colonists' own experiences.  The Colonists were outraged on many levels that British soldiers could enter their homes, seize their belongings, or search their property without any probable cause or authentic paperwork.  The fact that warrant-less and groundless searches became so prevalent is one reason why the 4th Amendment strictly states that justification and authentication must accompany all searches and investigation of property and belongings.  Another I would say that the 4th Amendment is important is that it represents a fundamental right of a person accused of wrongdoing in a legal sense.  The 4th Amendment helps to protect their rights and their sense of entitlement, demonstrating the brilliance of the framers in understanding that freedoms and liberties mean nothing if it doesn't extend to all members of a social order, including the ones accused of criminal activity.

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ik9744 | Student

Yes, of course it is. Having the rights to not be searched without a warrant means a lot. If there was no fourth amendment, the police could show up at your house anytime and "look for suspicious activities/things." With this law it limits them to and forces them to have a warrant.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The first ten amendments to the constitution of USA are collectively known as 'Bill of Rights'. Out of this the fourth amendment provides protection to the citizen from unreasonable search and seizure. It states:

The right of 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 person or things to be searched.

The demand or need for this amendment arose out of the misuse of the provisions of writ of assistance, which was like a general search warrant used during American Revolution.