Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twelfth Amendment

"The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."

The twelfth amendment redefines how the vice president is appointed. This is can be, as history has shown, a very important amendment to have around.

This is a brief history of our twelfth...

Representative James Madison, who was so instrumental in the creation of the Constitution in the first place, drafted a bill of rights. Though he originally opposed the idea, by the time he ran for a seat in the House, he used the creation of a bill as part of his campaign. He introduced the bill into the House, which debated it at length and approved 17 articles of amendment. The Senate took up the bill and reduced the number to 12, by combining some and rejecting others. The House accepted the Senate's changes, voting on September 24th and 25th, 1789; twelve articles of amendment were sent to the states for ratification.

This video explains the twelfth amendment.

Eleventh Amendment

"The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."

This amendment means that one state cannot extend its jurisdiction into another state to file suit against a citizen.

This is an interesting article about a man who claims he is protected by this very amendment.

Publisher And School Board To Go To Trial
Daniel Gilbert Reporter / Bristol Herald Courier Published: October 3, 2009
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A newspaper publisher’s lawsuit against the Buchanan County School Board has survived a pre-trial appeal and motion for summary judgment, and appears headed for an Oct. 13 jury trial.
A U.S. District Court judge last week denied the school board’s motion for summary judgment in the 2007 suit brought by Earl Cole, publisher of The Voice, a bi-weekly paper in Buchanan County.
“I guess I’m going to get my day in court,” Cole said Friday by phone.
Cole’s complaint stems from October 2006 when he came onto the grounds of an elementary school to report a story about a school board member who sent his child to another district. Three days after he published a critical story on the board member, the school board banned him from setting foot on school premises – an action Cole contends “chilled” his First Amendment rights.
Attorneys for the school board have argued that the school board members are protected by qualified immunity, and that the resolution banning Cole from school grounds, which was later relaxed to allow him to vote and to attend public meetings, did not rise to the level of chilling his freedom of speech.
But James P. Jones, chief judge of the Western District of Virginia, in late 2007 denied the school board’s claim of immunity, ruling that board members had violated Cole’s constitutional rights.
school board appealed, and in May the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed Jones’ order, concluding the district judge had “improperly framed the issue.”
“The appropriate inquiry here is whether a reasonable board member could have believed that banning Cole from the Buchanan County school grounds was lawful,” states the appellate court’s opinion.
The opinion noted that the school board had heard concerns from parents about Cole appearing on school grounds with a camera while children were present, and that Cole had entered a school building during school hours – all before the October 2006 incident that gave rise to the board’s decision to ban him.
Given the breadth of the school board’s authority and the facts members possessed at the time, “a reasonable board member may well have believed it was his or her duty to ban Cole from school grounds in order to protect both the safety of the students and the integrity of the educational process.”
The appellate court’s decision dismissed the school board members individually, but did not apply to the board itself, which, the court noted, “cannot claim qualified immunity.”
Three months later, the Buchanan County School Board filed another motion for summary judgment, this time claiming that the Eleventh Amendment protected them from paying damages.
Jones denied this, noting that the school board “is an independent local government agency, not an arm of the state,” and that a judgment against the board would not be paid from the state’s treasury. The ruling leaves the board as the lone defendant in Cole’s suit.

This gentlemen clearly explains what the amendment means.

Tenth Amendment

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

This amendment gives the states protection from the the power of the federal government. The states have rights reserved to them by representatives of the people within that state.

This article is about a radio incident where the 1oth was brought up in discussion.

Tenthers opposition to health reform
I should have been more up on this, after hearing much in recent weeks on Randy Ray Renshaw’s “Open Line” KSCJ 1360AM show. There is a growing number of people who think it isn’t constitutional for the government to enact federal health reform, since it would violate the 10th Amendment. Renshaw has been hot on that topic, and now U.S.
Sen. Charles Grassley is saying there could be credence to that thought.
The 10th Amendment reads thusly: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Those to the left of political center (
like DailyKos) think this logic is off, that it’s more from people who were birthers (denying that Barack Obama was born in the U.S., therefore unable to be president) becoming “Tenthers.”
What is your take on whether the 10th Amendment means health care reform would be unconstitutional? Democrats steamrolling the reform measures obviously have no such qualms.

This powerful video explains how some states are trying to increase their sovereignty.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ninth Amendment

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The ninth amendment basically means that we are all given natural rights. But we are given so many that they couldnt fit them all into the constitution.

The federal government is limited by its constitutional powers, this article helps explain that.

Guest Editorial - Can Obama force you to buy health insurance?
By Anthony Gregory , Christian Science Monitor
Nothing in the Constitution allows the individual mandate he proposesMany liberals lambasted the Bush administration on detention policy and warrantless surveillance, often arguing that they violated the Constitution. Now the Obama administration is pushing ahead with plans to require every American to purchase health insurance. Doesn't that also violate the Constitution? The Constitution created a federal government limited to its enumerated powers. Everything Congress is allowed to do is spelled out in Article I. The 10th Amendment makes it explicit: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Nothing in the Constitution authorizes any federal involvement in healthcare - yet Congress may soon require everyone in America to buy insurance. Admittedly, the Supreme Court has ruled that the language empowering Congress to "regulate Commerce ... among the several States" applies to an ever-broadening range of activity. The "commerce" clause was originally intended to prohibit interstate tariffs, a supposed problem under the Articles of Confederation. Ironically, consumers today cannot freely buy health insurance from across state lines. If there's any legitimate application of the "commerce" clause, it would be to overturn such restrictions. But the framers never gave Congress the general power to regulate industry. In the 1935 case Schecter v. United States, involving farming regulations, the court unanimously struck down parts of the National Industrial Recovery Act for overstepping Congress's commerce power. Liberal Justice Louis Brandeis informed one of President Franklin Roosevelt's aides to "tell the president that we're not going to let this government centralize everything." The next year, the court ruled in Butler v. United States that elements of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which inflated food prices by restricting supply, violated the 10th Amendment. After FDR threatened to pack the court with additional judges friendly to the New Deal, the court lost its spine. In 1937, it upheld the National Labor Relations Act - which greatly expanded the power of labor unions and greatly diminished the freedom of contract - under the "commerce" clause. In Wickard v. Filburn (1942) the justices even upheld the conviction of a man for growing too much wheat on his farm. The court reasoned that even wheat grown solely for private consumption ultimately had an impact on the economy, turning the "commerce" clause into a regulatory rubber stamp. The "commerce" clause is now interpreted very broadly. Although in United States v. Lopez (1995) the court struck down a firearms law that exceeded Congress's commerce power, it ruled 10 years later in Gonzales v. Raich that federal drug policy overrode California's medical marijuana laws, despite the 10th Amendment. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented: "If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress' Article I powers ... have no meaningful limits." Indeed, practically nothing is beyond the pale anymore. Then there is the privacy issue. In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Roe v. Wade (1973), and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) the court found reproductive freedom to be guaranteed as an implicit right to privacy. In Casey, the court reasoned that abortion entailed "the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy," and that such choices are "central to the liberty protected by the 14th Amendment." Why wouldn't this apply to the right to decide whether to buy health insurance? Other constitutional concerns emerge. The mass collection of medical data likely to occur under proposed reforms threatens the Fourth Amendment's "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects." Making it a crime not to buy insurance, and then forcing people to show they have not bought it, arguably clashes with the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination. The Ninth Amendment reserves to individuals all rights not expressly denied by the Constitution. Nothing in the document curtails our right not to purchase health insurance. And being forced to fill out forms to apply for insurance is in tension with the 13th Amendment's prohibition of "involuntary servitude." The quality we could expect from government care may also raise constitutional questions. In early August, a federal panel ordered California to release 40,000 inmates because the health services were so strained, causing one unnecessary prisoner death per week, so as to render the treatment "unconstitutional." If we all become captive consumers under federal mandate, could we not similarly argue that any shoddiness in our mandated health services is an unconstitutional burden? Those who find such constitutional arguments unconvincing are often quick to invoke them against policies they oppose. Similarly, some of today's critics of President Obama and national healthcare brandish the Constitution as a holy document, but were silent when President George W.Bush trampled its many limitations on executive power, and even signed an expansion of Medicare. A newfound, consistent, and lasting respect for the Constitution, across the ideological spectrum, would renew the health of our republic like nothing else.

This video help illustrate how much people do not know about our constitution.

Eighth Amendment

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

This video helps protect us from the government having unlimited control over our criminal justice system. Our our criminal justice system having unreasonable control over us.

This is a very interesting article about the cruel and unusual punishment over our female prisoners.

October 14, 2009
One Protection for Prisoners
The practice of keeping female prisoners in shackles while they give birth is barbaric. But it remains legal in more than 40 states, and advocates of prisoners’ rights say it is all too common. A federal appeals court has now found that the shackling of an Arkansas inmate may have violated the Constitution — but the margin was uncomfortably close.
Shawanna Nelson, a nonviolent offender, was 29 years old and six months pregnant when she arrived in Arkansas’s McPherson Unit prison in 2003. When she went into labor, she was taken to a civilian hospital. Although there was no reason to consider her a flight risk, her legs were shackled to a wheelchair, and then, while she went through labor, to the sides of a hospital bed.
Ms. Nelson testified that the shackles prevented her from moving her legs, stretching or changing positions during the most painful part of her labor. She offered evidence that the shackling had caused a permanent hip injury, torn stomach muscles, an umbilical hernia that required an operation and extreme mental anguish.
In a suit against prison officials, Ms. Nelson charged that her Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment had been violated. She won an early ruling from the trial court, but a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rejected her suit. Now the full appeals court has reversed that decision, ruling, with a 6-to-5 vote, that a jury could find that Ms. Nelson’s shackling was unconstitutional. The court relied in part on a 2002 Supreme Court holding that Alabama’s practice of tying prisoners to a hitching post violated the Eighth Amendment.
The ruling should help persuade other courts and state legislatures that the shackling of pregnant prisoners is unconstitutional. Several states have already made the practice illegal under certain circumstances — including New York, which did so this year.
Elizabeth Alexander, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s prison project, called the circuit court’s ruling “thrilling,” given how conservative the federal courts have been on prison issues. It is clearly an important victory. Sadly, it is also a sign of how low the bar has been set for the humane treatment of prisoners.

This is a goofy video done by kids in a group project.

Seventh Amendment

"In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

This allows citizens to file suit against other citizens who have wronged them. This is a controversial amendment for people who support tort reform as seen in the article below.

Are Enemies of 7th Amendment Outraged About This Frivolous Defense?Posted by Michael PhelanThursday, October 15, 2009 10:29 AM EST
Let's see if the insurance industry-sponsored lobbyists who call themselves tort reformers hold any press conferences or buy any advertisements to criticize the frivolous defense being put forth in the case where the pet chimpanzee ripped the face off of a woman. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting because this frivolous legal maneuver benefits the defendant chimpanzee owner's insurance company. Consequently, I don't expect any outrage from the so-called
tort reformers. They only seem to become outraged when trials guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution benefit individual citizens.
In the case of the maraudering chimp, the attorney representing the owner of the beast that mauled and blinded a woman is calling the attack a work-related incident and said her case should be treated like a workers' compensation claim. The strategy, if successful, would bar the victim's claim against the chimp's owner and limit her damages to whatever is recoverable under the applicable state worker's compensation statute, which statutes typically provide for partial payment of lost wages and payment of medical bills. Claims for permanent disfigurement, pain, humiliation, embarassment and loss of enjoyment of life (sypmtoms one would expect in connection with loss of one's face) are typically not covered by worker's compensation.
Here's the genesis of the worker's comp defense. Sandra Herold owned a tow truck business called "Desire Me Motors." Travis the chimp's face was painted on the side of the tow trucks and he apparently appeared at company promotional events. Sandra Herold lives in Stamford, Connecticut where she keeps the 200-pound chimp. One day in February 2009, Ms. Herold could not get Travis to come into the house from the yard, so she asked her friend and employee Charla Nash to help lure him back into the house Stamford. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids, and she remains hosptialized. Nash was an employee of Herold's tow truck company. When police arrived at the scene, Travis attacked them too. The police were forced to shoot and kill the chimp. Test results showed that the chimp had the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system. Does helping her "friend" lure her friend's pet into the house sound like part of Nash's duties as a tow truck company employee? Not in a million years.
Nash's family filed a lawsuit against Herold, saying she was negligent and reckless for lacking the ability to control ''a wild animal with violent propensities.'' But Herold's attorney filed court papers saying that Nash was working in the scope of her employment with Desire Me Motors at the time of the attack. He argues that Travis was an integral part of the business, and that Nash's claims against Herold are barred by the workers' comp statute. I wonder if he'll be arguing that Travis was a statuory co-employee.
Here's the good news. We don't need tort reform or any other sweeping government intervention into the legal system in order to address this or any other case. The system will likely sort this case out. For the most part, we have excellent trial judges and responsible jurors in this country. I predict that this workers' compensation plea will not succeed.

This is a horrible, but none the less, educational video on the 7th.

Sixth Amendment

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

The 6th amendment is vital in proving beyond all doubt that the accused is in fact guilty. If the 6th was not in the constitution we would rewind hundreds of years to the witch hunts! Even though a suspect for a crime might have evidence presented against them, they might not always be guilty, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

October 15, 2009The Confrontation Clause for the Twenty-First Century -- A new Supreme Court ruling regarding the rights guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment helps people accused of crimes by ensuring the right to cross-examine lab analysts in court. -- October 15, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Confrontation Clause for the Twenty-First CenturyArticle provided by Patrick J. McLainVisit us at http://www.dallasdefenselaw.com A New Ruling Regarding Sixth Amendment Rights Helps Defendants; Ensures Criminal Lab Analysts Will Testify on Their Results Under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a person accused of a crime has the right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him." However, the particular contours of this right have shifted with time.Most recently, in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, the United States Supreme Court considered this right with regard to the use of criminal lab reports submitted into evidence without the testimony of the people who performed the scientific tests and prepared the reports. The Court rejected the use of such reports without supporting testimony, deeming them an unconstitutional violation of the Confrontation Clause.Although the full consequences of this ruling remain yet to be seen, this is a huge victory for people who have been accused of crimes. First, the ruling implicitly acknowledges that lab reports prepared by people are neither infallible nor mere repetition of objective fact. This opens a new avenue for criminal defendants to challenge the allegations they face.Additionally, the ruling increases the burden on the prosecution when pursuing allegations involving scientific evidence, such as drunken driving cases or drug crimes. If a prosecutor has to present an analyst to testify every time he or she wishes to demonstrate that a breathalyzer indicates someone's blood alcohol content level or that a powdered substance matched the chemical composition of cocaine, it becomes more costly to pursue every allegation. Ultimately, the decision defines the Confrontation Clause more clearly, and provides people accused of crimes the ability to challenge the allegations more effectively.The Confrontation Clause Before Melendez-DiazTo understand the significance of the ruling in Melendez-Diaz, one must first understand the prior interpretations of the Confrontation Clause.In reaching the ultimate holding of the case, Justice Antonin Scalia cited a prior decision, Crawford v. Washington. In this prominent case, the Supreme Court rejected the admission of "testimonial statements," prepared in advance of trial. The Crawford ruling said witnesses who do not testify at trial violate the defendant's right to be confronted by all witnesses against him or her.However, before Crawford, the rule for admission of testimonial evidence without supporting testimony from a witness was very different. Under the prior controlling case of Ohio v. Roberts, if testimony had "particularized guarantees of trustworthiness," it could be admitted even if the witness was not present.For example, under the Ohio rule, scientific evidence prepared in a lab report and certified as accurate by the preparer could generally be admitted. As long as the preparer could certify that he or she was qualified to prepare the report (qualifications were typically spelled out in state statutes) and that the procedures used to produce the result were accurate, the report would be accepted into evidence at trial, even without the presence or testimony of the preparer.The Role of Scientific Evidence in Criminal ProsecutionsWith the advanced use of science in criminal investigations and the increased demand for analysis, lab reports are frequently used to establish an element of the alleged crime. For example, a report could be prepared to establish that the defendant was legally intoxicated at the time a biological sample was taken, or that a substance obtained from the defendant or near the vicinity of the defendant was actually an illegal drug.For older cases, DNA swabs could be analyzed and compared decades after a crime to link a defendant to the scene. In many such cases, scientific results were the only evidence directly linking the defendant to the alleged crime. Prosecutors relied on scientific evidence to make their cases.The scientific evidence of guilt was considered by some courts to be produced by a machine and therefore infallible. Other courts considered the scientific evidence to be mere repetition of an objective fact made after the crime was committed.For these reasons and others, defense attorneys were frequently barred from questioning the accuracy of the reported results or the processes by which they were produced. In state crime labs across the nation, scientists churned through backlogged DNA swabs, blood, breath and urine samples, and seizures alleged to be controlled substances to turn out reports that implicated or exculpated defendants of the crimes of which they were accused.The Confrontation Clause After Melendez-DiazMelendez-Diaz creates new opportunities for defendants to assert their right to confront witnesses against them. Rather than simply admitting a report certified by a lab analyst into evidence, prosecutors must now present lab analysts to testify at trial. These analysts will likely address the accuracy of the result, the processes used to produce the result and their personal credentials.By requiring testimony from forensic analysts about the processes and techniques used in labs across the country, the Supreme Court has opened up these sometimes secretive operations to greater scrutiny from defense attorneys and the public. This increased scrutiny will hopefully put pressure on laboratories to produce the most accurate results and ensure the use of best practices in laboratory analyses involving criminal matters. Under Melendez-Diaz, the Confrontation Clause has true bite in the twenty-first century, as its drafters intended.

This video/rap intelligently describes the 6th in a trendy fashion. I danced to it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fifth Amendment

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

This amendment is a tricky one because if there is the possibility that a person did commit a crime, logically you would want that person off the streets. But this criminal is protected by the 5th amendment. If the person is actually innocent it becomes even more of a trick bag. If the individual is weak, law enforcement may coerce the person into a false confession.

Let's Expand Fifth Amendment Rights
Terry L. Mitchell
September 25, 2009
Two days prior to his arrest for the murder of Yale medical Annie Le, Raymond Clark was picked up by the police, handcuffed, and detained for a while. Incidents like this, that take place on a daily basis, should be prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment comes close, but – like they say – no cigar. No person who is not an imminent threat to public safety should ever be physically detained or restrained by the police, without having first been charged with a crime.We need a new constitutional amendment to make sure this kind of thing never happens again. One should be able to sue for a billion dollars if he or she is arrested without having been charged. Think about it. How much power do you want the police and/or the courts to have? Sure, we want to give them all the authority they need in order to apprehend those who are charged with crimes. No one disputes that. However, do we really want officers of the law detaining people because they are considered "persons of interest"? Or because they happen to be acting weird or inappropriate at or near a crime scene? Where is the due process of law in all of that?Without this added protection, no one is safe. We are all in serious danger. Who among us has not behaved strangely or suspiciously at one time or another? As it stands now, police can arrest you just because they think you might have done something ... maybe. Or they can haul you off to hold you as a material witness. They don´t even need enough evidence to charge you. Why aren´t the supposed anti-big- government people screaming bloody murder about this kind of stuff the way they carry on at those "tea parties." Because many of them are disingenuous. They don´t like big government when it comes to taxes and spending, but they are okay with it when it overreaches in the name of law and order or "protecting the country." Shame on them and their hypocrisy!

Criminal Defense is very interesting to me, this fast talking attorney is someone I think I might want on my side if I ever decide to murder someone. The 5th amendment is a tool that I think the general public should be more aware of. Moral of the story... Keep your mouth shut!

Fourth Amendment

"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."

This amendment is a very touchy issue these days because the goverment is constantly creating ways to sidestep this amendment. The terror attacks of 9/11 gave the gorvernment a loophole in the system. I think that The Patriot Act is clad in the armor of good intentions, which makes it hard for Americans to stand up against it. I dont think the goverment should be allowed to come into my house and look through my things unless they have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that I have nuclear war heads in my closet.

Senate Committee Passes Patriot Act Reauthorization Bill
Bill Does Not Go Far Enough to Protect Americans’ Privacy, Says ACLU
WASHINGTON - October 8 - The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the USA PATRIOT Act Extension Act of 2009 today, a bill which falls far short of restoring the necessary civil liberties protections lacking in the original Patriot Act. The bill, passed by the committee after two sessions of debate, makes only minor changes to the disastrous Patriot Act and was further watered down by amendments adopted during markup. The American Civil Liberties Union had endorsed the JUSTICE Act, an alternative bill that would heavily reform not only the Patriot Act but other overly broad surveillance laws.
Amendments that were offered but failed by voice vote included an amendment by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to curb the abuse of the overly broad National Security Letter (NSL) statute and another offered by Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) to allow the "lone wolf" provision to expire (the never-used provision that targets individuals who are not connected to terrorist groups). An amendment also failed that would make it more difficult for recipients to challenge the gag order that comes with receiving an NSL.
However, there were two amendments included in the final bill - both offered by Senator Feingold - that are victories for privacy: The Department of Justice would be ordered to discard any illegally obtained information received in response to an NSL and the government must notify suspects of "sneak and peek" searches within seven days instead of the thirty days currently outlined in the statute. "Sneak and peek" searches allow the government to search a home without notifying the resident immediately.
The following can be attributed to Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
"We are disappointed that further changes were not made to ensure Americans' civil liberties would be adequately protected by this Patriot Act legislation. This truly was a missed opportunity for the Senate Judiciary Committee to right the wrongs of the Patriot Act and stand up for Americans' Fourth Amendment rights. The meager improvements made during this markup will certainly be overshadowed by allowing so many horrible amendments to be added to an already weak bill. Congress cannot continue to make this mistake with the Patriot Act again and again. We urge the Senate to adopt amendments on the floor that will bring this bill in line with the Constitution."

The fourth amendment has become a very controversial issue in the last few years with the Patriot Act. I, personally, dont have anything to hide from police searches so it is not that big of an issue to me but I still dont think the idea that the government can come and violate your privacy is okay.

Third Amendment

"No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

This amendment does not really make sense to me at this day in age. In fact it is almost comedic. Watch this video and I think you will agree...

The third amendment rarely recieves any action, here is an example of when it was examined in recent years...

Third Amendment
Find Third Amendment and other Hard to Find Products.

Ratified in 1791, the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution sets forth two basic requirements. During times of peace, the military may not house its troops in private residences without the consent of the owners. During times of war, the military may not house its troops in private residences except in accordance with established legal procedure. By placing these limitations on the private quartering of combatants, the Third Amendment subordinates military authority to civilian control and safeguards against abuses that can be perpetrated by standing armies and professional soldiers.
The Third Amendment traces its roots to
English Law. In 1689, the English Bill of Rights prohibited the maintenance of a standing army in time of peace without the consent of Parliament. Less than a century later Parliament passed the Quartering Acts of 1765 and 1774, which authorized British troops to take shelter in colonial homes by military fiat (order). During the American Revolution, British Red Coats frequently relied on this authorization, making themselves unwelcome guests at private residences throughout the colonies. By 1776 the Declaration of Independence was assailing the king of England for quartering "large bodies of troops among us" and keeping "standing armies without the consent of our legislature."
Against this backdrop, a number of colonies enacted laws prohibiting the nonconsensual quartering of soldiers. The Delaware Declaration of Rights of 1776, for example, provided that "no soldier ought to be quartered in any house in time of peace without the consent of the owner, and in time of war in such a manner only as the legislature shall direct." Similar expressions also appeared in the Maryland Declaration of Rights of 1776, the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights of 1780, and the New Hampshire Bill of Rights of 1784. Originally drafted by
James Madison in 1789, the Third Amendment embodies the spirit and intent of its colonial antecedents.
Primarily because the United States has not been regularly confronted by standing armies during its history, the Third Amendment has produced little litigation. The Supreme Court has never had occasion to decide a case based solely on the Third Amendment, though the Court has cited its protections against the quartering of soldiers as a basis for the constitutional right to privacy (griswold v. connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 85 S. Ct. 1678, 14 L. Ed. 2d 510 [1965]). In lower federal courts, Third Amendment claims typically have been rejected without much discussion.
However, in 1982, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued the seminal interpretation of the Third Amendment in Engblom v. Carey, 677 F.2d 957 (1982). Engblom raised the issue of whether the state of New York had violated the Third Amendment by housing members of the
National Guard at the residences of two correctional officers who were living in a dormitory on the grounds of a state penitentiary. The governor had activated the guard to quell disorder at the penitentiary during a protracted labor strike.
Although the Second Circuit Court did not decide whether the Third Amendment had been violated, it made three other important rulings. First, the court ruled that under the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, the Third Amendment applies to action taken by the state governments no less than it applies to actions by the federal government. Second, the court ruled that the two correctional officers were "owners" of their residences for the purposes of the Third Amendment, even though they were renting their dormitory room from the state of New York. Any person who lawfully possesses or controls a particular dwelling, the court said, enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy in that dwelling that precludes the nonconsensual quartering of soldiers. Third, the court ruled that members of the National Guard are "soldiers" governed by the strictures of the Third Amendment.

I think the 3rd amendment is maybe a bit outdated since our military is way more advanced than it was at the time the constitution was written. I look at it more as a piece of Americas history than anything.