Fourth Amendment Security is a public education project designed to encourage citizens to learn about their Fourth Amendment rights.
The idea began with a short (well, short for law reviews) article focusing on a Supreme Court case—Florida v. Jardines—that involved a drug-sniffing dog named Franky, some marijuana, a door knocker, and arguments about who has license to approach a home. The Supreme Court held that police with drug-sniffing dogs are generally not permitted to sniff around your front door, based on the customs of peddlers, pamphleteers, aluminum-siding salesmen, and girl scouts.
Sensing an opportunity for constitutional clarity (and a bit of good humor), we created the first constitutional lawn signs project. Our argument—simply put—is that individuals can protect themselves against police intrusion by denying police officers “license” to search homes, cars, computers, and other possessions, and in the process educate themselves and their neighbors about Fourth Amendment rights. How? Through clear signs—or, as we have coined them, “LAWn Signs”—articulating constitutional preferences.
By placing a LAWn Sign in your front yard, you make a claim of explicit denial of license against police entering your property. More importantly, you make a public statement about the significance of the Fourth Amendment. Homeowner by homeowner, LAWn sign by LAWn sign, a small reminder of constitutional freedom will be staked in the ground. And why stop there? We also encourage the use of stickers, t-shirts, roof signs (for drone surveillance), and other reminders (and claims) of Fourth Amendment areas of protection.
Yes…we expect many will purchase LAWn Signs to humor their friends and neighbors, or to antagonize their parents. But as a program of civic education, sometimes bringing humor to a situation is the best way to educate.
Fundamentally, our project is one of constitutional education. Our article, LAWn Signs: A Fourth Amendment for Constitutional Curmudgeons, and the educational resources on this site, provide a starting point for a renewed engagement with this critical constitutional right.
We hope you learn, think, laugh, and buy a LAWn Sign to stake a claim for Fourth Amendment security and the liberty of all Americans.