:: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 ::
Glenn Reynolds has an obvious knack for locating and highlighting some of the most meaningful and important content on the internet. Once in awhile, he creates it. Here's Reynolds on no-knock-raids, a recent phenomenon of community policing that, some would say, pierces the 14th Amendment bubble:
Congress clearly has the power to pass laws, under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment, to prevent states depriving citizens of life, liberty or property without due process of law. When cops bust down your door and shoot you without -- very -- good reason for being there, that's a deprivation of liberty and property, and often life, without due process, the very kind of thing Congress was empowered to address. So unless Patterico thinks that the 14th Amendment is itself an improper impediment to federalism, I don't see the problem here. What's more, the no-knock problem stems from federal policies -- the "war on drugs" and the free distribution of military equipment to local SWAT teams -- and thus further justifies a federal corrective. Under federalism, one role of the federal government is to protect citizens' rights against unconstitutional encroachment by the states. That's what the 14th Amendment is about. And the doctrines of official immunity that make lawsuits difficult in such cases are found nowhere in the Constitution, but are the creation of activist judges, reading their policy preferences into the law. They are worthy of no particular deference.
Heh, "official immunity", what a phrase. It's understandable why Americans tend to accept the militarization of their local police departments given the events of 9/11, but, in so doing, many fail to appreciate how the lines of what was once considered "military" have been blurred in the process. This is serious constitutional business and it's good Reynolds is making a serious issue of it.
[Hello. Anybody out there?]
:: Max 6:17 PM [+] ::