Stockton, California Mayor Anthony R. Silva attended a recent mayor’s conference in China, but his return trip took a bit longer than usual. At the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) this week, agents with the Department of Homeland Security detained Silva and confiscated his personal cell phone among other electronics. According to comments from the mayor, that may not even be the most alarming part.
“Unfortunately, they were not willing or able to produce a search warrant or any court documents suggesting they had a legal right to take my property,” Silva told SFGate. “In addition, they were persistent about requiring my passwords for all devices.”
I’m not a lawyer, but I once taught a civics class to youthful incarcerated folks. They appreciated this section of the Constitution:
Fourth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] 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.
The mayor apparently was told he would not be able to leave the airport, or even call a lawyer without giving up his passwords. No probable cause, no warrant. He just visited China.
I think I know why those who are called conservatives are mocked for looking back at the constitution. It’s because we reject the “living, breathing” constitution for the same reasons many of us reject the “living, breathing” Bible.
It must seem odd to liberals and atheists that conservatives and Bible-thumpers go back to the original text so much. It’s because unless the amendments or the Gospels have been withdrawn, we figure they are still in effect.
Now that the mayor of Stockton has been bullied into giving up his fourth amendment rights, maybe he and his neighbors might want to look into this constitution thing. Lotta good stuff in there.