06-05-2013 | Good Question

Are Cops Constitutional? - Long & interesting read from Roger Roots.

Abstract: Police work is often lionized by jurists and scholars who claim to employ "textualist" and "originalist" methods of constitutional interpretation. Yet professional police were unknown to the United States in 1789, and first appeared in America almost a half-century after the Constitution's ratification. The Framers contemplated law enforcement as the duty of mostly private citizens, along with a few constables and sheriffs who could be called upon when necessary. This article marshals extensive historical and legal evidence to show that modern policing is in many ways inconsistent with the original intent of America's founding documents. The author argues that the growth of modern policing has substantially empowered the state in a way the Framers would regard as abhorrent to their foremost principles.


  1. It's largely a British Import from London, along with most our toxic Imperialist baggage.

    For laffs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peelian_Principles

    Those three principles haven't really survived into 2013, here or anywhere else.

  2. Completely unrelated and hopefully the only time I'll ever quote a MotherJones article.
    What would he say if I told him I needed human contact so badly that I woke every morning hoping to be interrogated? Would he believe that I once yearned to be sat down in a padded, soundproof room, blindfolded, and questioned, just so I could talk to somebody?