30 November 2004

Read the Text

"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 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 language is so plain as to render legislative history analysis superfluous. This is why I am a "textualist" rather than a believer in "original meaning" analyses.

1 comment:

John Jenkins said...

That's great. But as a textualist, how do you propose to ever protect people's telephone conversations (words are not tangible). Moreover, how do you define unreasonable. Is the warrant requirement necessarily related to reasonableness? IS it related to the first clause AT ALL? It doesn't HAVE to be, and they can be read apart from one another.