by Andrew P. Napolitano
[…] When American colonists were oppressed by governance from Britain, the word most frequently uttered in pamphlets and editorials and sermons was not “safety” or “taxes”; it was “freedom.” Yet, two intolerable acts of Parliament so assaulted personal freedom that they broke the bonds with the mother country irreparably.
The first was the Stamp Act of 1765, which required colonists to have government stamps on all documents in every household. It was enforced by British soldiers who used general warrants, issued by a secret court in London, for authority to rummage through colonists’ personal possessions, ostensibly looking for the stamps.
These general warrants, like the ones the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issues in Washington, D.C., today, did not specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized. Rather, they granted authority for the bearer to search wherever he wished and seize whatever he found — as FISA warrants do currently, in direct contravention of the Constitution.