The Permanent Emergency

Can the executive branch now enter private property without a warrant if it believes there is something going on that could faintly be related to the war on terror? Seems so. And the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger enthusiastically concurs:

The Supreme Court’s purpose in Brigham was to clear up confusions among lower courts about "the appropriate Fourth Amendment standard governing warrantless entry by law enforcement in an emergency situation." I’d call the terror war an emergency. Brigham said the Court has held that officers can make a warrantless entry "onto private property" to fight a fire, investigate its cause, prevent the imminent destruction of evidence, and engage in pursuit of a fleeing suspect. Al Qaeda qualifies as all four. Yet another precedent cited for "obviating the requirement of a warrant" is "the need to protect or preserve life." That sounds like the point of the war on terror, but some may disagree.

So from now for the indefinite future, the government has "emergency" powers to violate your private property without a warrant, tap phones without a warrant, jail suspects indefinitely without due process, and even torture them? Eveyone concedes that some surrender of liberty is necessary in this new world. But the glee with which some conservatives greet the expansion of unlimited government power is truly remarkable.