Even a democracy can create a governmental tyranny. And last week, the Supreme Court flashed yet another telltale sign that the rules of fair play in America are evolving in that direction. Deciding that police do not need to inform bus passengers about their constitutional rights to privacy, the Supreme Court has punched a massive hole into the Fourth Amendment. The case came about from a surprising set of facts: When a Greyhound bus driver exited at a Florida bus station, three state police officers climbed aboard to search passengers and their luggage. They did not inform passengers about their right to refuse a search, and bags of cocaine were found taped to two passengers' thighs.

The Justices declared, in the 6-3 decision, that police officers need not tell bus passengers they have the right to refuse such a search--a dramatic departure from previous search and seizure rules. In a very real sense, police may now use passengers' ignorance to coerce their way past Constitutional protections of privacy. If three police officers are hulking over you on a public bus, would you do what they ask?

This decision comes weeks after the Bush Administration announced they are providing additional allowances for law enforcement agents to pry into people's private lives--wire taps, non-warranted home searches, and the like. The decision by the Supreme Court opened the door even wider for such invasions. PHIL BUSSE


Lon Mabon just won't go away. Last week, the president of the Oregon Citizens' Alliance (OCA), the state's most active anti-gay group, announced his candidacy for Senate. Mabon will be running with the Constitution Party of Oregon, a Christian-based political group that typically promotes anti-abortion and anti-homosexual agendas.

Just released from jail several weeks ago, Mabon has recently been busy contesting the validity of Oregon's judges, declaring their power unconstitutional. He was thrown into jail after refusing to pay damages to a woman who was physically abused at an OCA meeting. KATIA DUNN