Here's a long article about my adventures as a guest lecturer at a law school.
I'm always telling my lawyer friends that I'm sort of a civil rights lawyer, just without the piece of paper saying so. There was a moot court in San Francisco where law students argued a free speech case a while ago. I really loved that case because it was a real test of who actually believed in free speech and who just paid lip-service too it. The free speech involved was unpopular and took place at a public school, which is government property. The (fake) authority at the school was trying to supersede the actual authority of the US Constitution, but it took some fire in your gut to really believe in the free speech side. I believe that side had the stronger case, if you looked closely.
I knew some of the judges involved in the moot court and asked if I could be a judge or a lawyer. They said no, that only real lawyers or law students are allowed. I said I'd challenge any one of then to a "debate-off" and that we should choose it by actual merit rather than who has a piece of paper. I was mostly kidding because of course they would say no, and they did say no. The judges later told me the students on the pro-free speech side didn't have arguments as good as mine, so they had to find for the other side.
But then later, another opportunity came up, this time about the 4th Amendment, or what's left of it. That's the one saying that the government can't do unreasonable search and seizures, and that there is some concept of privacy. You might be unaware that the 4th Amendment is a hollow shell of its former self. The government currently has unlimited power to search any and all of your possessions (including everything other than the human body) with no suspicion or reason whatsoever if you are at an airport or a border. Yeah, I really mean that.
And if unlimited search power at borders (and airports) was not enough, this now--somehow--extends to searches taking place with in 100 miles from a border. I would think that crossing a border is a trajectory, not a position. For example, I life near San Francisco, so as I type this, I am 100 miles from a border and I qualify for the no-rights search even though my activities have nothing to do with border crossing. In fact, almost 2/3rds of the entire US population lives in this "constitution-free zone," as the ACLU (rightly) calls it. This is not the kind of "protection" I'm looking for from a government. Quite the contrary--the kind of protection I'm looking for comes from the US Constitution.
If you want this to feel a little more personal, here's an actual US citizen who can tell you about it.
Anyway, my goal was to help the law students think critically enough about these issues that they'd be prepared to question the validity of questionable searches. Maybe one of them will grow up to be a judge someday and defend our rights. Here's that really long article again.