1. Legal action should be directed at individuals, based on evidence of specific actions committed by those individuals, rather than being directed against a community.
Texas government officials disrupted the entire FLDS community, even though the only allegations of potentially illegal actions involved a small fraction of that community. The government actions pose a risk to our constitutional system of government by allowing dislike of a group by the majority to take precedence over the rule of law.
2. The government actions against the FLDS appear to violate the first amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.
Court testimony provided by the state focused on the dangers of the FLDS culture as a means to secure state custody of all the FLDS children. To avoid the appearance of attacking a religion, the state should have maintained its focus on the actions of specific individuals as a means to seek custody of specific children based on specific risks. Government officials have argued that freedom of religion does not provide license to violate the law. Although I have not seen anybody show interest in contesting that truism, the early court testimony appeared to demonstrate quite effectively that the actions taken by the government were so broad specifically because religious beliefs were involved.
3. The government actions appear to violate the fourth amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Beginning with an allegation of abuse committed by one specific person and leveraging that into a search warrant to act against an entire community – including the seizure of their diaries, photo albums, and computers as well as the invasion of their place of worship – is an outrage more befitting a place alongside the abuses described in the Declaration of Independence than a place in news articles describing events in a constitutional republic (tally up another point for the State of Texas in the contest against King George). Even more bizarre, the seizures included articles of clothing such as a slip, shoes, and a tie. I’m dying to learn the purpose for taking those items into state custody.
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