A week ago, on August 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a very troubling Congressional resolution into law that should be the concern of every American.
Introduced on February 16, 2017 by Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, House Joint Resolution 76 was passed by the House 399-5 on July 17, and unanimously by the Senate on August 4. (Congress.gov)
In the name of providing safety oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail system, H. J. Res. 76‘s purpose is to authorize Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia to establish “a legally and financially independent state authority” — the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. But in so doing, the resolution — which is now law — violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment on search without warrant.
Under H. J. Res. 76’s Article IV enumerating the powers of the newly created Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, Section 31 (b) stipulates that:
“31. In performing its duties, the Commission, through its Board or designated employees or agents, may: […]
(b) Enter upon the WMATA Rail System and, upon reasonable notice and a finding by the chief executive officer that a need exists, upon any lands, waters, and premises adjacent to the WMATA Rail System, including, without limitation, property owned or occupied by the federal government, for the purpose of making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing as the Commission may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this MSC Compact, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass. The Commission shall make reasonable reimbursement for any actual damage resulting to any such adjacent lands, waters, and premises as a result of such activities”.
H. J. Res. 76 therefore violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This means that if you have a home or property “adjacent” to the WMATA Rail System, your property can be searched WITHOUT WARRANT by the sole authority of the newly created Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.
Below is a map of the WMATA Rail System (click map to enlarge):
Every member of the U.S. Senate and 99% (399 members) of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for H. J. Res. 76. Only five Congressmen, all Republicans, voted against it:
- Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan)
- Rep. Walter Jones (R-North Carolina)
- Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky)
- Rep. Alex Mooney (R-West Virginia)
- Rep. Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina)
In a tweet, Congressman Amash conveyed his dismay:
Ironically, the unconstitutional H. J. Res. 76 actually has the nerve to require the members of the new Washington Metrorail Safety Commission to take an oath of office swearing allegiance to the U.S. Constitution:
“I, ___________, hereby solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States as a Member (or Alternate Member) of the Board of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission and will faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter.”
Rachel Blevins of The Free Thought blog points out that:
“This is not the first time Congress has quietly passed a bill that will take away some of the most basic rights from law-abiding citizens in the U.S., and it won’t be the last. One of the most important things to remember about this legislation is that it was ignored by the media, and while it may only affect the Washington D.C. metro area now, it could be laying the blueprint for future legislation across the country.“
H/t FOTM‘s MomOfIV