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Constitutional Rights During A State Of Emergency

2402 words - 10 pages

Background: The design structure of the United States (US) Government works at its peak during times of peace. (Dean NP) During such stints there is time for the review and debate with the common man’s best interest at the core. James Madison, clearly stated in the Bill of Rights, “The rights of the people to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their property from all unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing places to be searched, or the person or things to be seized.” (Madison NP) In addition, he stated, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation, to be confronted with his accusers and the witnesses against him; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have assistance of counsel for his defense.” (Madison NP) However during a state of emergency in efforts to contain panic and social upheaval, the US Government tends to get a little carried away. The hubris mentality of being the number one world power, the biggest, the untouchable, the one free nation; that seems to have been engrained in Americans, leaving citizens shocked and horrified when things like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 happen. It is the same attitude that leads the US Government to act hastily during states of emergency. One example of a decision made in lieu of ensuing panic would be Executive Order 9066. After the attack at Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt forced over 100,000 Japanese residents in the US into concentration camps; approximately 70,000 of them were American citizens by birth. (United States) Another example would after 9/11 with the enactment of the US Patriot Act, which had been previously turned down by Congress. (Dean) One more recent example would be how the US government handled the wake of hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Personal Perspective: I am a born citizen of the US. I am from a background laden with opportunity and with endless possibilities for the future, a pretty inflated and naive prospective I know; consequently though, it is one I was taught to possess. However, I have without realizing it taken a lot for granted. I am a veteran of the US Navy, four years of my life I volunteered. I enlisted believing fully that I was serving to protect America’s freedom. I was raised to accept The US Constitution as this nation’s guidelines to which it is governed. I was taught in primary school that the Bill of Rights was our country’s way of protecting the rights of the people. I enlisted in the Navy in July of 2001 and was halfway through on 9/11. I saw this country change in a matter of minutes. People all over the country felt the blow of the dust from twin towers that day, and even thirteen years later the memories and feelings are still with us. Before the US was attacked by...

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