More Essential than Ever: The Fourth Amendment in the Twenty First Century

Hardcover | August 20, 2012

byStephen J. Schulhofer

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When the states ratified the Bill of Rights in the eighteenth century, the Fourth Amendment seemed straightforward. It requires that government respect the right of citizens to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." Of course,"papers and effects" are now digital and thus more vulnerable to government spying. But the biggest threat may be our own weakening resolve to preserve our privacy. In this potent new volume in Oxford's Inalienable Rights series, legal expert Stephen J. Schulhofer argues that the Fourth Amendment remains, as the title says, more essential than ever. From data-mining to airport body scans, drug testing and aggressive police patrolling on the streets, privacy isunder assault as never before - and we're simply getting used to it. But the trend is threatening the pillars of democracy itself, Schulhofer maintains. "Government surveillance may not worry the average citizen who reads best-selling books, practices a widely accepted religion, and adheres tomiddle-of-the-road political views," he writes. But surveillance weighs on minorities, dissenters, and unorthodox thinkers, "chilling their freedom to read what they choose, to say what they think, and to associate with others who are like-minded." All of us are affected, he adds. "When unrestrictedsearch and surveillance powers chill speech and religion, inhibit gossip and dampen creativity, they undermine politics and impoverish social life for everyone." Schulhofer offers a rich account of the history and nuances of Fourth Amendment protections, as he examines such issues as street stops, racial profiling, electronic surveillance, data aggregation, and the demands of national security. The Fourth Amendment, he reminds us, explicitly authorizesinvasions of privacy - but it requires justification and accountability, requirements that reconcile public safety with liberty. Combining a detailed knowledge of specific cases with a deep grasp of Constitutional law, More Essential than Ever offers a sophisticated and thoughtful perspective on this important debate.

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When the states ratified the Bill of Rights in the eighteenth century, the Fourth Amendment seemed straightforward. It requires that government respect the right of citizens to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." Of course,"papers and effects" are now digital and thus m...

Stephen J. Schulhofer is Robert B. McKay Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. His books include Rethinking the Patriot Act, The Enemy Within, and Unwanted Sex.

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Paperback|May 5 2000

$40.71 online$41.95list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:August 20, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195392124

ISBN - 13:9780195392128

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Table of Contents

Geoffrey R. Stone: Foreword1. Introduction2. Our Fourth Amendment Tradition3. Searches and Arrests4. Policing the Streets5. "New" Technologies: Wiretapping and Eavesdropping6. The Information Age: Computers, Data Mining and Beyond7. The National Security Challenge8. Enforcing Fourth Amendment Rights: Criminals and the Rest of Us9. Conclusion: A Fourth Amendment for the Twenty-First Century