Happy Fourth!

Cherry PieI’m heading out to Ann Arbor for festivities today, and I may well leave the laptop home…

I was going to wax politic about our Constitution. And oh, what the heck — why not quote from the end of John Roberts’ decision in Riley v. California (even if he doesn’t believe the Fourth Amendment extends to women’s uteri) — for a reminder of how we got here.

Our cases have recognized that the Fourth Amendment was the founding generation’s response to the reviled “general warrants” and “writs of assistance” of the colonial era, which allowed British officers to rummage through homes in an unrestrained search for evidence of criminal activity. Opposition to such searches was in fact one of thedriving forces behind the Revolution itself. In 1761, the patriot James Otis delivered a speech in Boston denouncing the use of writs of assistance. A young John Adams was there, and he would later write that “[e]very man of a crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.” 10 Works of John Adams 247–248 (C. Adams ed. 1856). According to Adams, Otis’s speech was “the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born.” Id., at 248 (quoted in Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616, 625 (1886)).

May we renew James Otis’ fight as we go forward.

But I wanted instead to express my gratitude to several people, who have already made my Fourth. First, the guy collecting cans for deposits who I often see as I walk McCaffrey the MilleniaLab in the early morning. He was the first to wish me a — shouting across the street, in joyous whoops — a Happy Fourth this morning, which gave me great joy. This day belongs to all Americans — may we remember that common purpose and start serving it for all to benefit.

And I especially want to thank the West Michigan farmers who made it to the Farmer’s Market this morning. Not only does that mean we’ll be having strawberry-rhubarb and (the first of the season) cherry pies at our barbecue this evening. But the farmers who picked their first crop of blueberries last night to have them for today will make the kids at the barbecue very happy.

A safe and joyous Fourth to all emptywheel’s readers!

21 replies
  1. ffein says:

    Enjoy your trip to Ann Arbor! It’s a beautiful day here today. Happy 4th, and thanks for all you do to clarify some of the craziness happening!

  2. Saint Howard says:

    I fail to see what the Fourth Amendment has to do with women’s uteri. Is a failure to force persons to provide free birth control the equivalent of a search and seizure? Please enlighten us.

    • What Constitution? says:

      Thanks for stopping by, for sure. Then again, It may not be a bad time to emphasize that while we’re celebrating the bestest country evah and giving even you a forum to do it in, this might be a good place to insert Captain Kirk’s reminder that the Constitution’s principles of human rights and equality should apply to everybody — maybe kind of a linchpin of the document EW is referring to — are not just bestestly expressed here in this world by that document, but in the whole galaxy. Have some pie, Happy Fourth of July!


    • bmaz1 says:

      Sometimes people have two good eyes and still “fail to see”. This looks to be one of those circumstances.
      The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the “right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Making people be delayed on sidewalks and made to listen to raving lunatics scream at them for availing themselves of a completely legal medical procedure is certainly a “seizure”, and a particularly grotesque one at that. Furthermore, these same “protesters” are the very people behind such sick and immoral proposed laws such as forced transvaginal ultrasounds by penetrating wands and that is absolutely a forced “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, not to mention an outright rape.
      I hope you have been properly “enlightened” per your somewhat bellicose request.

  3. Anna Granfors says:

    As an expat Ann Arborite, I envy you being there on the 4th, Marcy…especially since it looks like you’ll have great weather–high 70s, low humidity. Do they still do the fireworks at Buhr Park? I used to love going out there for the occasion–they were stellar, at least to my admittedly much younger sensibilities.

    And though I don’t know what your dietary habits are like, I’m overjoyed that Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burgers is reopening next month, right next door to the Fleetwood Diner. A triple Blimpy with Swiss cheese and egg on an onion roll (with chocolate milk) always made me obscenely happy. Now if they’d only find a way to bring the Parthenon (home of the killer gyros sandwich) back…

  4. P J Evans says:

    The unsafe and insane pyrotechnics have started in my neighborhood. (City of LA: all fireworks are illegal. Including, in particular, the ones the neighbors are using.)

  5. lefty665 says:

    Happy Independence Day! We celebrate by reading from our founding documents and reflecting on the freedoms our founders created and bequeathed us.
    Thanks to all here who are working to preserve them.

  6. bmaz1 says:

    PJ and Lefty, sorry about you guys getting caught up in filter, I am trying to check periodically. Keep commenting, I will keep trying to check in to see if any are hung up.

  7. Pete says:

    Happy belated Fourth from very hot and very humid South Florida. Having two otherwise fearless German Shepherds – one female and one male – they are unfortunately wooses when the firecrackers come out so we watch on the big screen.

    Did anyone else see/hear John Williams’ Star Spangled Banner re-composition on the Capital Fourth broadcast on PBS? It certainly had grandeur and all that, but I have always been of the opinion that The Anthem is best simply sung “as intended” A Capella and I think – perhaps wrongly – in no more that 45 seconds. OK – I give Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl rendition a pass ;-)

    Earlier in the day someone on NPR read the entire Declaration of Independence on air. It was actually quite moving and thought provoking.

    I was thinking it would be a good use of time to periodically read the Declaration of Independence and Constitution – no doubt in addition to other relevant works – but as to (me) singing the Star Spangled Banner solo A Capella…maybe in the shower when no one is home.

    Be safe and free,


    • P J Evans says:

      I remember singing it a capella, with friends, on the way home from a concert, very early in the morning, many years ago.

    • Pete says:

      How could I forget Jimi Hendrix rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock in 1969. Shame on me.

      • bmaz1 says:

        I also think a full band with brass (and cymbals!) can do a wonderful job on the Star Spangled Banner. But it is a tough piece to do impressively. I vacillate on whether it is a great national anthem or not. I am an American kid from the west, but was brought up around Formula One, which entails the playing of the national anthems of the host country, race winner and, often, the constructor winner. That has given me a LOT of exposure to national anthems that are other than the Star Spangled Banner because, other than Phil Hill, Dan Gurney and, for a couple of years, Mario Andretti, Americans have not been worth squat in F1. Some of the anthems are simply beautiful, nuanced and textured. Ours is not that. But, maybe, it is who we are. Bold, brash and positive. I dunno. That is probably easier to say on the Fourth of July than many other times. It is a distinctive antem, and I feel proud hearing it in international sporting competitions.

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