Saturday, February 28, 2004

You haff no papers?! Zis vay to ze camps...

I saw this website about a week ago in a Usenet post. It's about a Nevada rancher, Dudley Hiibel, a run-in with The Law and a fight over the Constitution.

I wasn't going to post about it at first. After watching the video, I thought everyone involved in this situation was a bunch of ill-behaved idiots, and that this was a poor case to take to the US Supreme Court. To my eyes, even though I agree with his viewpoint, Hiibel isn't exactly a sympathetic character. But, given the rarefied atmosphere of that court, maybe that doesn't make a difference. So I hoped.

But this item at Wired has changed my thought, and I feel I must once again blog. That's because the logic that the Supreme Court will use to uphold the lower courts' findings that you must show identification to the police when demanded is laid out for all to see:

"Knowing someone's identity is a very important part of police investigation," Hobson said. "It can allow them to quickly find people who are criminals." "Hobson" is Charles Hobson, an attorney for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. (Parenthetically, let me observe how apt the term "criminal justice" has become in the modern United States.)

"...it was a necessary and not overly intrusive tool in fighting crime and terrorism." That's the Nevada Solicitor General's Office and the National Association of Police Organizations in their amicus curiae.

I hope I'm wrong, but I fully expect another little piece of our freedom to be nibbled away. This is the same sort of nonsense that has been used in the last 30-odd years to justify all sorts of invasions of our privacy and attack on our rights. "It's reasonable." "It's necessary." "It's for the children."

Froggy, is that pot getting warm yet?

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