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Founders on Warrantless Searches



By Stewart Rhodes

Further evidence that the Founding Generation thought warrantless searches were inherently unreasonable, oppressive, and contrary to liberty can be found in the 1776 Virginia Bill of Rights and in Virginia’s proposed amendments to the Constitution of 1787.  These documents speak for themselves in the face of the current "conservative" legal sophists who are trying to destroy our legacy of liberty.

"That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted." -- Virginia Bill of Rights, June 12, 1776

"Fourteenth, That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and siezures [sic] of his person, his papers and his property; all warrants, therefore, to search suspected places, or sieze [sic] any freeman, his papers or property, without information upon Oath (or affirmation of a person religiously scrupulous of taking an oath) of legal and sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive; and all general Warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend any suspected person, without specially naming or describing the place or person, are dangerous and ought not to be granted." -- Amendments Proposed by the Virginia Convention, June 27, 1788

Stewart Rhodes

Visit our article archive for more articles by Stewart Rhodes


E. Stewart Rhodes, ex-paratrooper, disabled vet, ex-firearms instructor, former Ron Paul staff member, Yale Law grad/Research Scholar, & Montana/Nevada lawyer. Stewart has written for Gerry Spence’s The Warrior, for, writes the Enemy at the Gate column for S.W.A.T. Magazine, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people in the "war on terror." Stewart is NOT a liberal, unless you want to consider him a classical liberal.


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