September 17, 2013

Constitution Day 2013


Scott: For this Constitution Day, we went all the way to the top and called in the man often thought of as the ‘father of the Constitution,’ James Madison.

Alright. We are now in business. We are going to celebrate Constitution Day the Channel One News way, where we talk about a news story and then put you to the test and see if you can relate it back to the Constitution.

Almost every week, it seems more details emerge about the government’s secret surveillance program. Over the summer, a former government employee, Edward Snowden, leaked thousands of top-secret documents. What the leak showed was how much information the government was collecting about average Americans’ cell phone calls and internet use. It caused a lot of controversy. People are upset and say their right to privacy is being violated.

Now, do you know what amendment they say is being violated?

That is today’s pop quiz question!

Which amendment is often used to uphold the right to privacy? Is it:

A. First

B. Second

C. Third

D. Fourth

You have got ten seconds!

Pencils down! Time is up! The right answer is “D,” the Fourth Amendment.

Now, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and is often argued as protecting our right to privacy.

People have been protesting the government’s surveillance programs and argue that the government is illegally accessing their cell phone calls and internet records, a violation of their privacy. The government has argued that these programs are necessary to locate terrorists and prevent future attacks.

Now, the Constitution doesn’t exactly talk about privacy. But the Bill of Rights does reflect the concerns of people like James Madison and protects aspects of privacy, like in this case, the privacy of a person’s possessions against searches without a legal warrant.

The top-secret documents that Edward Snowden leaked show the National Security Agency repeatedly broke privacy rules and collected Americans’ emails and phone calls without authorization.

Juan Zarate: This is more than just a few inadvertent episodes. It’s really from the internal audits of the violations and the overstepping by the NSA.

Scott: Snowden is now hiding out in Russia. The U.S. government has charged him with spying and theft of government property.

Some call him a hero, and others say he is a traitor.

Edward Snowden: I’m just another guy who sits there day-to-day in the office, watches what’s happening and goes, ‘this is something that’s not our place to decide.’ The public needs to decide whether these programs or policies are right or wrong.

Scott: Now some lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are calling to reform the NSA and to limit its surveillance programs.

Constitution Day is also happening over at Be sure to check it out. And don’t miss our special presentation from the National Constitution Center. It is all about the legislative branch of government.

Well, this wig…definitely itchy. I am James Madison. Fare thee well!


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