'A man's home is his castle,' 250 years later

Today is the 250th anniversary of the Paxton's Case, in which James Otis argued against the British Writs of Assistance, and uttered the famous words, "A man's house is his castle; and while he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle."

The Writs of Assistance are generally credited as the inspiration for the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.  The 4th Amendment has gotten plenty of attention recently under The Patriot Act renewal and the TSA's groping -- er -- screening procedures.

The Fourth Amendment may be the amendment designed most to protect against a police state.  The British used the Writs of Assistance to bully and intimidate colonists, and also to promote crony capitalism of the day.  Which is to say, a weakened and abused Fourth Amendment is one way in which government fosters crony capitalism today, and conservatives would do well to understand the link between the growth of big government and the weakened Fourth Amendment as applied to business.