Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jan 2002
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2002 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Authors: Robert Honea and Richard Glen Boire


Within "Supreme Court affirms agents' right to 'stop and search' " 
(Jan. 16) is the coverage of a ruling by the Supreme Court that a 
city can regulate protest if the process is neutral. No matter how 
fair regulation is, it inhibits free speech by the mere insistence 
that the protesters must submit to regulation and the concomitant 
time delays. A neutral process could take days or months and supplies 
incumbents with a process they can manipulate beneath the cloak of 
"plausible deniability." Moreover, even the delays of an 
unmanipulated permitting process would choke off any significant, 
extemporaneous demonstrations. Dissent is often in immediate response 
to a stimulus, and to be effective should be close in time to the 

Robert Honea
Redwood City, Calif.

The Supreme Court's decision that, in policing the drug war, cops can 
stop drivers for such vague and common behavior as slowing down when 
they see a police car, not making eye contact, or letting one's child 
wave at a police car, ought to be a siren call to all Americans that 
the war on drugs is having a devastating impact on the rights and 
freedoms of everyone - not just drug users.

The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches was 
once a strong and respected constitutional right. Unfortunately, for 
all Americans, the Fourth Amendment is now all but a fairy tale, a 
historical remnant of the time before politicians and Supreme Court 
justices declared a war on drugs and set out on a slash-and-burn 
campaign without limits.

Richard Glen Boire
Davis, Calif.
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