Andrew Napolitano on the Patriot Act and the 'Right to be Left Alone'

This natural right is protected by the Fourth Amendment, writes Judge Napolitano.



In the dark days following 9/11, Congress enacted the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act has many flaws, including its prohibition of certain truthful public speech, but its most pernicious assault is on the constitutional right to privacy, including a section used perversely by the NSA to authorize the bulk collection of data from emails, text messages, telephone calls, bank statements, and credit card bills. 

What's wrong with bulk collection? The Fourth Amendment requires evidence—called probable cause—about a particular person, place, or event to be presented before such data can be searched, explains Andrew Napolitano. The purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to prohibit government fishing expeditions, common to totalitarian countries. The natural right protected by the Fourth Amendment is the right to be left alone. "Restore the Fourth" is a movement gaining steam now because the section of the Patriot Act that is so constitutionally offensive expires on May 31 and both President Obama and the Republican leadership in the Senate want to extend it.