Just when having a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate was expected to usher in a new era for Americans, it seems as if many have turned their backs on the people and the Constitution they swore to uphold.
As significant issues such as health care have gotten plenty of public attention, it was hardly noticed when Congress ended up passing a bill that took away Americans’ 4th Amendment rights. US Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), tweeted “only 5 of us voted against bill allowing govt to enter/search private property in parts of VA, MD & DC w/o warrant.”
It’s shocking to hear cases such as these where the Constitution is so blatantly and openly violated by the vast majority of the members of Congress, on both sides of the isle. Even worse is that it all happened with no media coverage and little-to-no fanfare.
At first, House Joint Resolution 76 seems harmless enough, as much of the bill goes into details about implementing a public transportation safety plan for the Washington metropolitan area.
However, closer inspection yields one major red flag buried within the bill that blatantly violates the Constitution:
“In performing its duties, the Commission, through its Board or designated employees or agents, may: Enter upon the WMATA Rail System and, upon reasonable notice and a finding by the chief executive officer that a need exists, upon any lands, waters, and premises adjacent to the WMATA Rail System, including, without limitation, property owned or occupied by the federal government, for the purpose of making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing as the Commission may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this MSC Compact, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass,” says the bill.
In other words, this bill grants authority to enter private property near the Metro Rail System without limitation – for the purpose of making “inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”
That completely violates the Fourth Amendment, which states that Americans have a right “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 reasonable cause,” according to the US Constitution, which is housed at the National Archives.
Now, this might be perceived as only a minor infringement. After all, it only relates to property that is near the rail system. However, that’s not the point. American rights are not taken away in sudden, overt provocations – rather they are chipped away slowly over time, so that citizens don’t even notice what’s happening until it’s too late.
The biggest concern about this isn’t that less than 1 percent of members of Congress voted against violating the Constitution, rather that the media has utterly refused to cover the story. Most Americans haven’t even heard of this new bill.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Congress has infringed upon Americans’ rights, and it probably won’t be the last time either, even with President Trump in office. The best thing to do is to raise awareness that this is going on.
Let’s pray that the success of this one case won’t become the blueprint for future legislation against Americans’ rights.