What Happened To The Bill of Rights?
STU~PWCM~JLA~POTL~AFCL 2010/09/19 19:42:48
The following comments are synthesized (abbreviated and edited) from an email I just received from the Oath Keepers, a group I am a citizen member of. The Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters who have fulfilled an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Their oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and members will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders, such as orders to disarm the American people or to place them under martial law and deprive them of their right to jury trial. Those who have not served in a military or other listed capacity may join as citizen members.
The Gutting of the First Amendment
All too often, citizen protesters are now confined "at a safe distance" in "free speech zones" during public political events. This whole nation is supposed to be a free speech zone! And any public sidewalk is your public forum so long as you don't block pedestrian traffic. But that principle is now under attack, along with the rest of the First Amendment, and you are now likely to be threatened with sound wave or microwave weapons, as occurred during the G20 meeting, for merely exercising your right to peaceably assemble, petition your government for a redress of grievances, and speak out freely (unless you are interrupting a TPM rally). You can only do so safely in a government approved, cordoned off "free speech zone" far away from the anointed beautiful people who cannot be bothered with ugly, dirty protesters. And in addition to the blatant violations of free speech being carried out, we have attempts to further chill and limit speech with proposed legislation such as the Disclose Act, which provides for mandated disclosure of donors to small non-profit advocacy groups but exempts existing large liberal organizations and unions, and by means of targeting people and organizations with being placed on a "list" of "extremists" by the DHS or by the Southern Poverty Law Center (essentially now part of DHS).
The Gutting of the Second Amendment
The Second Amendment was plainly meant to preserve the military power of the people. It was meant to protect and preserve the right of the people to keep and bear arms of military utility, so that they may form the militias "necessary for the security of a free state," with sufficient power to "execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions" - as Article 1, Section 8 contemplates. While the Supreme Court in the Heller decision finally, at last, recognized the obvious fact that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to bear arms, and that the people were expected to provide their own arms for militia duty, it failed to recognize the obvious related necessity that they thus be able to keep and bear arms of military utility (which the Miller case contemplated). Instead, the Heller Court told us that we have a right to keep and bear only those weapons that are "commonly kept for lawful purposes," whatever that means. Such a standard leaves intact nearly any and all restrictions, registration, prohibitions on types of firearms, and even leaves intact prohibitions on the actual bearing of arms outside our homes (imagine a similar prohibition on free speech, free press, or assembly outside of your home being found "constitutional"). The Court carved out protections for nearly any regulation or prohibition on types of weapons, and any restrictions on the keeping and bearing of arms short of a total ban.
The Gutting of the Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment, born out of the Founding Father's generation's experiences under egregious "writs of assistance," has now been carved with so many exceptions that it is a laughable farce which can be circumvented at will by crafty government lawyers, with nearly any kind of warrantless search deemed "constitutional" under one exception or another, resulting in the FBI issuing itself "national security letters" to search without a showing of probable cause to an independent judge, sneak and peek searches of our homes, random vehicular "your papers please" check points for all manner of excuses, routine upholding of warrantless searches by police under a plethora of exceptions (most based on ever expanding zones of "officer safety"), and with the most extreme claim being that the Fourth Amendment doesn't even apply at all to warrantless surveillance of Americans when it is done in the name of national security, as in the case of the NSA domestic spying, with the rationale that such is surveillance of the battlefield in the war on terror.
The Gutting of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments
The federal government now makes the Orwellian claim that we still have a right to "due process" despite the executive branch claiming the power to detain American citizens in military brigs and deprive them of their liberty without Grand Jury indictment, without jury trial (and without even a suspension of habeas corpus by Congress), and to even try American civilians before military tribunals (and note that Obama has not renounced any of those claimed powers advanced by the Bush Administration). This is essentially a claim that American citizens can be treated exactly the same as a foreign enemy in wartime - exactly like citizens of occupied Iraq or Afghanistan, in direct violation of the Article III Treason Clause, which makes very clear what must be done with a citizen accused of making war against the United States or aiding and abetting its enemies - such a citizen must be tried for treason, in a civilian court before a civilian jury.
This claimed power now includes the asserted power that the government can assassinate its own citizens if the President determines that they are a threat to national security - no "due process" of any kind, no trial for treason as Article III mandates, no right to face your accusers, not even a military tribunal, just straight to execution on sight. And don't think any of the above will be used only against Americans who have become Islamacists and embarked on jihad. Government lawyers and judges have been very careful to ensure that there is no legal distinction whatsoever made on those grounds - the above illustrated claimed powers apply to ALL OF US.
The above noted claimed power to designate American citizens as "enemy combatants" is itself a form of martial law, being the claim that the international laws of war may be applied to the American people by their own government. However, even aside from that extraordinary claim of power, government officials at every level are increasingly asserting that during a national emergency of any kind, the Constitution and Bill of Rights can be suspended and martial law imposed on us, though that term is nowhere even mentioned in our Constitution.
Martial law is no law at all except for the will of the commander on the battlefield. Martial law is what we imposed on defeated and occupied Germany, Japan, and Iraq. Nowhere in our Constitution is any branch of government, at any level, whether state or federal, given the power to set aside the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the several states and treat the American people like conquered enemies in wartime. Not only is "martial law" absent from the Constitution, and in direct violation of Article IV, Section IV (the guarantee of Republican government), it is a power foreign to our system of government, which is supposed to be a government of laws, not men, with the government having only those powers granted by the consent of the people. Remember, one of the grievances listed in our Declaration of Independence, against the King, was that "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power." The Crown had imposed martial law on a rebellious Boston, and it was during that occupation that the expedition to seize arms at Lexington and Concord finally led to open conflict. Martial law is in fact a complete lack of law. It is anti-law and is anti-constitutional. The Third Amendment prohibits the quartering of soldiers in any home, even in time of war, "but in a manner to be prescribed by law" and that means by law written by Congress and signed by the President. Add to that all of the Article 1, Section 8 powers of Congress to regulate the armed forces, to make rules for capture, and to define and punish violations of the laws of nations, and to declare war, etc., and it becomes clear how illegitimate and wildly unconstitutional any claimed power to impose "martial law" really is. And yet, government supremacist elites increasingly insist that they have an inherit or implied power to invoke "martial law" and impose rule by fiat, by simple decree upon us. History has a name for such rule by decree, by the dictates of The Leader - dictatorship. I challenge ANYONE to find an enumerated right within the Constitution granting any branch of the federal government the power to abridge any state or individual powers, under any circumstance.
The Gutting of the Ninth Amendment
The Ninth Amendment states that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The Ninth Amendment uses the command language "shall not" and is as much a command as "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It also speaks of the enumeration (the listing) in the Constitution of certain rights, not the "creation by the Constitution of certain rights." This is no accident. The Bill of Rights does not create rights, but merely provides protection for rights that already exist. As our Declaration of Independence made clear, our rights predate any government and come from our Creator, not from government. Our rights come first, and are ours by virtue of nature and God. Governments come later, being instituted among men to protect those natural rights. And yet, we now have over us legal, political, and academic elites that assert the exact opposite - that we have only those "rights" granted by government. And that is a common perspective of elites from both sides of the aisle.
The Gutting of the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment has been so ignored that it may as well read exactly the opposite. We now have a national government that claims all powers not clearly and expressly prohibited to it by the Constitution, and we have states that only have whatever scraps of power the federal government deems to give them, until such time as it decides to take those powers away by simply passing federal legislation and then evoking the Supremacy Clause. This is the exact opposite of what the Tenth Amendment commands. The Tenth Amendment limits the federal government's powers to those explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, with the residue going to the states and the people. If you've ever wondered why the federal government has its fingers in every aspect of our lives, and has run up a public debt we can never repay, you can trace it back directly to this blatantly illegal serial usurpation of state and individual powers by administrations and Congresses for 120 years. And the judiciary has been very unkind to attempts at redress. More than anything else, the gutting of the Tenth Amendment has turned our nation from a wealthy democracy into a bankrupt closet dictatorship.
See Votes by State
News & Politics
Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions