Fourth Amendment Protections Finally Upheld By Supreme Court Rulings: In this episode, we discuss the Fourth Amendment and how the government is constantly violating it. However, we are finally starting to see some improvement! The Supreme Court decisions handed down recently have been surprisingly good! Tune in now to learn why we need to continue protecting our Fourth Amendment rights and why we are starting to see a shift!
Air Date: 07/03/2018
Guest: John Whitehead
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
And we’re having that conversation today with David Barton and Tim Barton. David Barton is America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And he’s actually right now at High Point training young people, but he’s calling in to be with us today.
John Whitehead will be with us later in the program. But, Tim, before we get John on the program to talk about some of the Supreme Court rulings, you’ve got to catch up on what it’s like to be training those youth out there. Give us some good news.
Yeah, there is a lot of good news when we look at the next generation in the sense of the students that we’re working with. We do a lot with the practicality of the Bible. It’s a high school leadership camp. And the whole idea is to encourage kids to not just to be Christians and to be a follower at their school, at their church, at their youth group, at their job, to be a leader. And a lot of young people, even though their hearts can be in the right place, if they’re not encouraged, if they’re not taught how to be leaders. Ultimately, if you’re not a leader oftentimes you just start following the crowd and you get into what’s going on.
And we’ve seen that enough that we said, “You know what? We want to do something to help do this, to help young people not just be followers of culture, but be leaders of culture. And especially leading in a biblical direction knowing what the Bible says.” And so we address things like government or politics. But we also address things like relationships, or human sexuality, or science. We go through everything that we think these young people will deal with and we say, “Here’s what the Bible says, here’s what your high school is going to say, here’s what people at your work will say, and here is how you can know what the appropriate response is based on what the Bible says, based on what is true.”
Testimonies From High Point
And these kids get a hold of it and I’m telling you, they are going out and making a difference. We get testimonies from kids every single year, especially when they’re seniors going to college, and they’ve been to High Point one, or two, or three, or four, years. And they’ll send us letters, “Hey, my professor said this, but I took out my High Point notebook and I went through the things we talked about, and I was able to challenge the professor respectfully, politely. But challenge the philosophy that was presented and say, “I think this and here’s why I think this.”
We’ve literally seen professors change their mind when they were presented with facts they didn’t know. But this is kids learning to be leaders. Even in college – not just sitting there and taking what somebody tells them. But saying, “Well, is that really true? And what is truth, and how do we define that, and don’t you know about these other things?”
It really is impressive seeing young people go from being people with good hearts to being leaders who are following after God.
That’s got to be such an encouraging word, guys, to our listeners because I think they do get discouraged, they tend to only see the negative stories about the next generation. And so to hear you say that, Tim, I know people at home or in their cars as they’re listening right now are going, “Thank you, Lord. There is a remnant out there.” But there’s not only hope in the next generation, there’s some hope right now in this generation. Some good Supreme Court decisions being handed down this summer, several different ones.
We’ll have John Whitehead with us from the Rutherford Institute later in the program to talk about that. When we come back from the break we get a little bit of a preview on some of those decisions. Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Many today wrongly claim that our Founding Fathers were largely atheists, agnostics, and deist.
Certainly some Founders were less religious than others, but even they were not irreligious. Consider Benjamin Franklin, definitely one of the least religious among them, yet, when the delegates at the Constitutional Convention hit an impasse in their deliberations it was Franklin who called them to prayer, invoking numerous scriptures to make his point.
As he reminded them, “God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that, except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this.”
So, even the least religious of America’s Founders urged public prayer in dependence on God. For more information about the faith of the Founding Fathers go to WallBuilders.com.
Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. As we were going to break, we were talking about some of the Supreme Court decisions handed down recently. Of course, we’re in that season, guys, where we get one every few days right now. And so far so good, man, there’s been some good ones handed down.
There have and several of them have dealt with the Bill of Rights and really upholding the original intent of the Bill of Rights. When you talk about due process clauses, that’s actually several amendments in the Bill of Rights, it’s five amendments. It’s the fourth through the eighth amendments and this is what all deals with judicial proceedings, justice, making sure you get justice in the courts.
For example, the Fourth Amendment is really clear that with your private property the government does not get to go searching, or look into it, or get into it at all, unless they have probable cause, they can’t go on a fishing expedition, they can’t just check it out to see if there’s something wrong. They have to have definite doubt, probable cause, they have to get a judge to issue specifically what they’re looking for when they go into your private property, whatever that is.
From the Bill of Rights
The Fifth Amendment goes into the thing of capital punishment, and you can’t be put in twice in jeopardy, and you can’t be forced to be a witness against yourself, and you have to have due process, and government can’t take your property without paying you for it. The Sixth Amendment you get the right to trial by jury, a speedy and a public trial. And you get to be confronted with the charges against you, you get to compel witnesses on your behalf. In the Seventh Amendment you get the right to trial by jury, and once a jury decides it no other court can overturn what the jury has done. It protects the common law.
In the Eighth Amendment, you can’t have excessive bail, and you can’t impose excessive fines, and you can’t use cruel and unusual punishment. All of that is because the British were abusing the judicial system and making it a political system, it was an arm of their politics. And so whatever they wanted to enforce politically they had the judges do that.
So, in America we said, “No, no, our objective is justice.” And it is, as the Declaration lines out, government is supposed to primarily to protect our inalienable rights. And part of those inalienable rights are the right to justice.
So, the government’s supposed to protect that and that’s why we have those due process clauses. So recently, in recent days, we’ve had kind of a little mini flurry of decisions that have come down from the Supreme Court that literally have upheld original intent of several of these due process clauses. Putting the people above the government which is really, really, good. Oftentimes the court defaults to the government position, but not this time. The court has defaulted to freedom of the people.
So, John Whitehead’s right in the middle of several those cases and he can update us on what’s happening.
Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead with us when we return on WallBuilders Live.
Leadership Training Program
Hey, friends! We’ve got a great program to share with you today. It’s the WallBuilders Leadership Training Program and it’s an opportunity for 18 to 25 year olds to come spend two weeks diving into the original documents we’re always talking about here on WallBuilders Live.
Tim, you’ve already been doing this a couple of summers and seen the results of young people coming to this program. We’re going to see more of them coming this year.
Yeah, Rick, it’s something that’s been cool to see the transformation with young people coming in. The emphasis, for us, largely is a pursuit of truth. We have a culture that doesn’t know what truth is. We don’t know what biblical truth is, or constitutional truth, or the American heritage that we have. And so we really dive into original documents and say, “Well, what did they actually write? What did they actually do? Not just what did somebody say, what is actually true, and the truth is what’s transformational.
Yeah, guys. This really is a remarkable opportunity. And for those who want to spend time with us and spend time in the original documents, this is a great program. So, if you’re from 18 to 25, or you know someone who’s 18 to 25, send them to sign up for one of our three sessions this summer at WallBuilders.com/leadershiptraining.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. John Whitehead back with us from the Rutherford Institute. John, always good to have you, sir. Thanks for your time today.
Hey, thanks for having me on, sir.
Hey, Supreme Court decisions getting handed down seems like every other day now. Thought we’d get you on for an update on a couple of those. Looks like a Fourth Amendment victory, looks like another victory on banning political expression. So, a lot of good stuff coming out.
Fourth Amendment Victories
Well, actually there’s two cases on the Fourth Amendment one that was just recently decided. I can go through them if you’d like.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go for it!
Yeah, the end of May the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police may not intrude, walk onto your private property, your yard, whatever, and carry out a warrantless search on a vehicle on your property – whether it’s yours or someone else’s. They rejected the claim by the police that the warrantless search of a police vehicle is allowed under the Fourth Amendment’s automobile exception. Which is a rule under the cases that allows if a car is parked on a public street police can actually look at, you see something suspicious they can actually do it without a warrant.
In this particular case, however, what happened was county police in Virginia entered a private property without permission or a warrant, lifted the top of a motorcycle and tried to inspect it for identification numbers to determine whether it had been stolen. And the suspect in the case was a guy named Ryan Collins who was supposed to be the operator of the motorcycle. He had been in two separate high speed incidences and they actually went to– this is another other thing the police were doing regularly– they went to his Facebook page and checked it out to see if they could match it up with the motorcycle. And once they determined that it belonged to him they entered his girlfriend’s property and then they argued this automobile exception.
And the Supreme Court knocked that down and said, “No, no, no, when you enter someone’s private property you have to file what the Fourth Amendment says.” And ladies and gentlemen out there if you don’t know what the Fourth Amendment says I’d read it very carefully because it’s violated virtually every minute of this day by our government. But it says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. And no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause.”
Know What it Means
Which means the police, if they are going to enter your private property they have to go before a judge and argue that they have some, at least some evidence, that there is a valid reason to believe that you’re engaging in criminal behavior. And that’s the point. If we allow police into our private property, walk around our home, whatever, we’ve entered a state of being that resembles former regimes that we don’t want to repeat. So, that’s the ruling in that particular case. I think it was a very good ruling.
Yeah, and it sounds like they made to made the distinction, look, this is not a vehicle that’s, like you said, out sitting in a public area basically abandoned. This is on somebody’s private property. So, you’re entering private property and that vehicle is, I guess, treated the same as the home, or the garage, or you’ve got an extended carport there, that’s still your home.
They call it the curtilage – and that doesn’t have to be your vehicle, by the way. It can be someone else’s vehicles. The point is once they enter that private property it is called the curtilage, by the way, legally. And this also applies to– police do a lot of helicopters or are using drones now, by the way, to fly over your property and check out to see– this is, believe it or not, they’re doing a lot of this now.
And they’re working with one of the companies that did taser actually getting some * of drones, they flower of your property, watch what you’re doing, and then they may send the policeman out and he runs on your property. Well, the courts are looking at that carefully too and saying, “Well, what does it mean if a drone flies over your property and sees something the police think is suspicious? Can they just run on your property without a warrant?” And what I’m hoping is that the courts, when they look at this, because technology is moving at such a quick speed right now we have to really be careful where we’re headed and be sure that the police just can’t walk on your private property because that’s everything the founding fathers argued against.
Sticking With Principles of Freedom
Yeah, and I would think, like you’re saying, with technology changing so fast the courts are going to have to stick with principles of freedom and privacy – not just try to patchwork with whatever the technology is that particular day.
Jumping over to the other case now, this one was 8-1, so significant majority.
Yeah, the case was all about– the free speech case, or the other Fourth Amendment case?
Well, that Fourth Amendment one you just told us about in the automobile–
Right. Another one just came out, great case if you want to talk about that.
Yeah. The other Fourth Amendment case. Go ahead.
Yeah, it was a 5-4 ruling and basically it was the 4 conservative justices that ruled against the Fourth Amendment which shocked a lot of people. But this is an interesting case. It was Carpenter vs. The United States and what happened was the Supreme Court ruled that police must, again, get a warrant, go before a judge, before obtaining cell phone data, data to track a person’s movements.
In this case, they tracked the fellow’s movements for a 172 days without a warrant, they watched everything he did. Believe it or not– and we all will want to talk about this and some all this up– is that the police are doing this routinely. It was in 2011 Police arrested four people suspected of carrying out armed robberies. One of the fellows supposedly was an informant. And again, I’ve written on this in my book, by the way, Battlefield America. I’ve written on this fact that police and the FBI are paying some of these informants up to 100,000 dollars a year to infiltrate groups and basically report back to them, which is kind of a scary proposition.
But what happened, one of the guys that was supposedly targeted was a guy named Timothy carpenter. They followed his location data for 172 days, tracked him wherever he went, and then argued that they had a right to do it. And the Supreme Court said, “No, no, no, you can’t. Once you enter somebody’s and track their location like that, especially for a long period of time, you have to get a warrant.” And I think this is a very important case.
Again, it was surprising that the four conservative justices are the ones that were going to allow the courts to track your location wherever you go and try to determine what you’re doing. Again, they’re doing this to watch everything you’re doing. But if you’ve got time in this show I want to go into all the ways the government is tracking you and trying to get around the court.
Well, and details on that of course in your book like you mentioned, Battle America The War on the American People.
But before we go there just in case we run out of time. Give me that– give me a lowdown on the what you can wear, clothing worn at polling places. Because this has always bugged me where they kick people out of the polling place because they’ve got a T-shirt on or something that is for the candidate of their choice.
This is another good case. It was a 7-2 ruling. What happened, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutionally vague they called it, a Minnesota law that bans political speeches, any badge, button, shirt, or hat, worn at election polling place. What this law did is it opened the door to abuse of free speech by giving pointed election officials basically unlimited discretion. If they saw something on someone’s uniform, their shirt, their hat, they could actually do away with it. In fact, one of the references used in the case was if you wore a button that said “I voted” they could actually prohibit that.
Political Speech and Apparel At Polling Places
What the court ruled, however, is that the law about wearing apparel that included political speech at polling places was unconstitutional. It was vague. On election day, believe it or not, several of these registered voters that were targeted were threatened with prosecution. And they were told to remove clothing items or buttons that read “Please I.D. me” that’s *, one had a tea party logo. Believe it or not.
I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. In fact, we’ll go out to the polls and hold signs for friends that are running or whatnot.
And you’ve got the T-shirt on and you’ve got to go put a jacket on in 80 degree–
Yeah, it’s crazy. I understand what you’re saying. Why can’t you express yourself? Here’s the thing about that. The Constitution starts with those three magic words, “We the People. We’re the government, basically, we’re the ones who set it up. We don’t have a right to wear “I voted”–
–or a tea party logo. So, thankfully the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment.
What happens with this, John? So, if they wiped that one out that was that was overly broad, any indication from what you saw that the other states that maybe were more specific, not quite as broad, is it going to wipe those out as well?
If You Want Change
It will do as far as people press it. Again, that’s why I urge in my writings, in my books, is that if you want to change these things you’re going to have to get out there and get really active. And just tell these government officials to stop. If not, then call groups like us – we’ll be glad to file a lawsuit.
Yeah. Okay, now, do you mean, in general, from what you’ve seen so far– and obviously, every case isn’t going to be perfect– what do you think coming out of the court right now? Pretty good summer so far?
Good summer so far, yes. It’s been some good issues, strong issues, the Fourth Amendment, again, I emphasize this clearly to people – read your Fourth Amendment. In fact, if people go to our website at rutherford.org, with any kind of a donation we give you a free copy of the Bill of Rights. Read them to your kids at home because what I’m finding a lot of kids coming out schools today, these are law students, they can’t tell me what’s in the Fourth Amendment. It’s not taught in schools very well anymore.
I’m telling people learn the Fourth Amendment. It says the government cannot do surveillance on you unless they have some evidence of criminality. They shouldn’t be going on your Facebook page, they shouldn’t be reading your Twitter accounts, and they’re doing that on a regular basis. And this is not just local police – NSA is doing it. Google is providing them information. Facebook is working with these large government entities that are watching everything we’re doing.
The book, best place to get the book Battlefield America?
You can get it on amazon.com.
Alright, Battlefield America The War on the American People. John, the website one more time, for Rutherford?
It’s a Rutherford.org. Rutherford.org
Alright, folks, get on there, get on the e-mail list, help John continue these very important battles. Always great to have you, sir. Keep up the good fight.
Thank you, sir.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live. Thanks to John Whitehead from the Rutherford Institute for joining us today. We’re back with David and Tim Barton now. And, guys, of course there’s a lot more decisions I’m sure are going to come out in the next few weeks, but these are certainly good ones and definitely erring on the side of caution for protecting freedom and not giving government more and more power.
Violations By the Government
This does err on the side of freedom. I thought it was really interesting, as John pointed out, he said the government almost on a daily basis violates the Fourth Amendment. And he’s right. You should not be going through any audit by the IRS unless the IRS has complied with the Fourth Amendment. Which means that they can’t just look into your private possessions which includes your check stubs and your finances unless they have probable cause.
An audit comes in and says- like the British did- it’s called writs of assistance under the British. The British said, “Hey we want to just check and look through your house and see if there’s anything illegal there. We don’t know that there is but we’re going to look.” And they would look until they found something and then they went and got a warrant for it and came back and nailed you. And that’s what an audit is, “We don’t know that anything is wrong with your checkbook or your finances, but we’re going to look and see if there is if there is we’re going to nail you for it.”
No. The Fourth Amendment defaults on the possession of if you don’t have something specific you’re looking at you can’t go on a fishing expedition. John’s right that the government has violated the due process clauses on a regular basis. And to be able to come back with decisions like this, like electronic stuff, you can’t just go on a fishing expedition on somebody’s cell phone. Or you can’t go on a fishing expedition just walk onto their property and lift the top of a motorcycle. These are really good things to protect liberty overall. And that’s what the Fourth Amendment and all the 4th-8th amendments, the due process, and all the Bill of Rights, that’s what it was about. So, this is good news literally.
Defaulting to Government on the Side of Safety
And it’s surprising because the court has not changed in terms of its makeup with regard to how many are liberal, or how many are conservative, that sort of thing. So, it’s interesting to see. I just– it doesn’t seem like we saw these kind of rulings over the last few years so maybe it’s just even the inertia or the positive impact of some of these guys.
Well, I thought it was interesting too that he mentioned that on one of these Fourth Amendment issues that the Conservatives were largely on the other side. Which, I have not read the decision. That made me think, well, I want to go read the decision and see if there’s more to this because why in the world would our conservatives guys be against the protections of the Fourth Amendment? So, it certainly seems like a good ruling that came out, but it definitely makes me curious too were there more details to this story than we know. Because if not it sure seems like the conservative guys blew this one. Because certainly you should be protecting the Fourth Amendment.
Well, Tim, let me jump in on that because Kelly Shackleford explained to me why it often goes that way. He says on law and order stuff that conservatives often get it wrong because they default to the government on the side of safety. This is for safety that we need to see this guy’s motorcycle, this is for safety that we follow this guy for 172 days. And conservatives tend to be law and order guys and so they default to the government position on safety.
So, he said so often that in their First Amendment cases they lose the case in front of a Reagan judge, or George W. Bush judge, or others, because the judges default to the government because they want to be limited government kind of guys, so they don’t want the government to be overly aggressive. And he said that that’s usually where these judges get it wrong is when it comes to law and order issues. They err on the side of we want more safety, we want more public safety, rather than on the side of liberty.
So, I haven’t read the decision either. And when John said that I was reminded of what Kelly said and that’s speculation on my part. But that is based on the tendency that Kelly has seen in these kind of cases where the conservative judges tend to go to law and order. Which is good, but not if it requires the violation of somebody’s liberty to get the law and order.
Knee Jerk Reaction
Yeah, I think a lot of time conservatives are just knee jerk reaction is going to be on the police side of things. Because they’re looking at that case and going, “Well, we’re dealing with somebody here that it appears was criminal, and guilty, and all that, and we’ve got to give police the tools that they need.” That just tends to be our knee jerk reaction. And we’re certainly pro police here and we want them to have the tools that they need. But that’s that balance between making sure that your liberty– you’re protecting liberty and you have security, but you’re not giving up your liberty in order to have security, right?
That’s it. And so we’ll have to look more into it. But John, being who he is and with him being happy about that case, I think that’s good news. Because he’s one of the guys that we do look to on these issues. He is very good on original intent of the Constitution and if he’s happy with that then I think that’s a good thing until we get more into the case.
But I’m also pleased, as you were Rick, and Tim, as you’ve been, with what happened on the free speech at the polling areas. That was just overly vague, overly excessive. They shut down what they want to and that shouldn’t be right either. And so here’s three decisions that John covered where the court has come down to what we think is the right position from the Bill of Rights and original intent.
Well, speaking of the Bill of Rights, speaking of the Constitution, folks out there that want to study more on the Constitution itself, we’ve got a WallBuilders’ program call Constitution Alive where we take you into Independence Hall where the Constitution was framed. And then also into the WallBuilders library and pull all those original documents out and talked about that original intent, go through the Bill of Rights, go through the proper functions of government, and the different branches, what the proper role the court is. All of that is in Constitution Alive, so check that out there at WallBuilders.com.
Fourth Amendment Protections Finally Upheld By Supreme Court Rulings
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