Conservatives not understanding the Fourth Amendment spells trouble
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos at Fox News does a great job reporting on use of "administrative subpoenas" for warrantless searches of medical records ("DEA blasted for no-warrant searches of patient records, court battle heats up").
American Thinker reported on this story back on July 20 ("Feds Get the Power to Seize Medical Records on 'Fishing Expedition' Investigations with No Subpoena from a Judge") with a more detailed explanation of why administrative subpoenas generally are institutionalized violations of the Fourth Amendment. The AT piece is worth re-reading to get the bigger picture.
Hot Air covered the story by Vlahos, but with an unfortunate takeaway:
The first is the increasing use of administrative subpoenas to gain access to the patient records. You can read a full explanation of what an administrative subpoena is here, as well as restrictions on their use and what they are intended to capture. These are not the same as a search warrant. They're generally used as more of an initial, background investigation of some larger, broad area of concern and can grab up records from businesses and agencies to gather information. They don't seem to be intended to go into the personal files and papers of individuals absent probable cause, but that's the net result of what's going on here. Even if the feds are actually going after the doctor, they shouldn't be accessing the health records of the patients. (And in cases like this, it's the doctor who is the real problem, not the person getting a prescription.)
The Fourth Amendment applies to business records. Hot Air gets lost in a faux concept that government can get records ("papers") to investigate ("gather information"). That's completely contrary to the very purposes of the Fourth Amendment protecting the security of our property, privacy, and thoughts.
If "our side" doesn't understand these basic Fourth Amendment concepts designed to protect against big-government, totalitarian police statism, we're in trouble.