A move in Virginia to rein in government powers and bolster the Fourth Amendment – and halt a perceived emerging police state – may have stalled in committee, but supporters aren’t giving up and have now turned to Capitol Hill for redress, pushing for a constitutional correction.
“We now live in a soft police state because the courts have weakened the Fourth Amendment so much,” said Mark Fitzgibbons, a constitutional attorney and leading voice behind Virginia’s SJ 302 and HJ 578, the “‘Fourth Amendment’ for the 21st Century” introduced into the General Assembly a few weeks ago, in an email to WND.
The measure was aimed in part at amending Virginia’s Constitution and scaling back government’s ability to violate citizens’ privacies via technology like drones and advanced surveillance techniques.
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Fitzgibbons went on: “Our records and digital information are completely vulnerable, especially with bureaucrat agencies being able to issue their own warrants. Our businesses are subject to bullying investigations by Lois Lerner-type bureaucrats. People who express their political or religious beliefs rightfully fear government investigations. This proposed amendment would reclaim the protections against a police state that the Fourth Amendment was designed for.”
He said the measure, which is described in its entirety at the VirginiaFourthAmendment.com website, was left in committee, but supporters are planning on bringing it before the General Assembly again.
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli expressed optimism at its ultimate chances for passage, reminding the commonwealth’s property rights amendment took nearly eight years to pass.
“I believe our 21st Century Fourth Amendment is just as inevitable and will pass similarly overwhelmingly once the people of Virginia have the chance to address it for themselves,” he said, in an email to WND. “From the NSA metadata gathering at the federal level to local police gathering license plate location data and sharing it across jurisdictions … [with this measure] the out-of-control bureaucrats who wield unchecked power over our businesses and our lives would finally, for the first time in 100 years, have a ‘check’ on their power, thereby protecting every American’s freedom.”
The two have reached out to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, for help on the federal level, requesting he press for a similar amendment for the U.S. Constitution.
“The 2016 elections provide a great window of opportunity to make this an issue in races, in the news and in articles everywhere, and if a constitutional conservative were elected president, we could see this amendment become a reality as soon as 2017 and 2018,” Fitzgibbons said.
A spokesperson for Lee said in an email the senator’s office was still reviewing the materials sent by Fitzgibbons and had’t yet decided on a course of action.