The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to our Constitution) was first drafted on September 25, 1789. It was ratified on December 15, 1791.
Happy birthday, Bill of Rights.
As a refresher, here they are.
I don’t live in Alabama so I don’t get a vote. I do have an opinion though that Ex-Judge Roy Moore’s fundamental claim that a state supreme court can ignore a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court is anything but conservative. Based on that, he is not a very good candidate to represent the Republican party as a Senator.
Perhaps given his distaste for the Republican Party, he should have run as an Independent. That, at least, would have showed a hint of integrity. Speaking of integrity, is it right to accept money from a party and trash it’s leadership at the same time?
When Mr. Moore served as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme court, he served as a Officer of the Court with a sworn obligation to obey the U. S. Supreme Court. His acts of defiance got him twice removed from his elected position. This happen in both 2003 and 2016. It was not an act of civil disobedience as a private citizen.
Moore’s fundamental claim that a state supreme court can ignore a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court is anything but conservative. That question was settled by the Civil War and the constitutional amendments that followed in its wake, and no one who claims to be a conservative would argue otherwise. ~The Federalist
Please note Article VI, Clause 2 of the U. S. Constitution.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
If we listen and read Mr. Moore carefully, we discover his wrong-headed view that our government should function more like a theocracy than a democracy. “I want to see virtue and morality returned to our country and God is the only source of our law, liberty and government,” Moore said this during the primary debate with incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who was backed by President Trump and the Republican party.
Our constitution gives Congress, the President and the Supreme Court the authority to enact laws that are un-Christian. This has been demonstrated many, many times. Some of our laws are in fact in direct violation of Christian principles. That became clear in the very first amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Notice I do not mention the controversy surrounding the recent sexual allegations. They stand on their own. I have previously written about them here and here. Even without the allegations, Mr. Moore is really unqualified as a conservative (which he is not) and a Republican.
A person who won’t follow our laws and abide by the principles of our Constitution does not belong in the Senate. ~
Mr. Moore is not above the law and if elected, would once again take an oath of allegiance to our constitution. Having done that twice before and failed to live up to his oath, can we expect him to respect the constitution again. He has already said no. We should believe him.
It is not integrity to say and swear you will do something and then do the opposite. That demonstrates a lack of integrity not integrity. Jesus was clear when he said “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”
The assault on our constitutionally guaranteed rights continues. By the constitution’s plain terms, no federal office holder or employee can be required to adhere to or accept any particular religion or doctrine as a prerequisite to holding a federal office or a federal government job. It immediately follows a clause requiring all federal and state officers to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. This clause contains the only explicit reference to religion in the original seven articles of the U.S. Constitution.
The first amendment went even further, stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
A few members of the Senate and the media want to trample our rights and are unapologetic.
“In early September, the Senate held a confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor nominated for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Sen. Dick Durbin grilled her about her use of the term “orthodox Catholic” to describe those who try to practice the teachings of her church.
“Do you consider yourself an ‘orthodox Catholic’?” asked Durbin of Illinois, himself a Catholic, taking issue with Barrett’s use of that term to describe those who strive to align their lives fully with their church’s teachings. Hawaii’s Sen. Mazie Hirono suggested Barrett would be beholden to Catholic teaching when deciding cases.
Yesterday The New York Times continued the religious test of Amy Coney Barrett with a hit piece headlined in the style of a Donald Trump tweet:
While it is common to think of the early settlers, Pilgrims and Puritans, as coming to America for religious liberty, they really came to avoid religious persecution.
Later on, they would practice their own brand of persecution. This created a very messy background to the principles established in our constitution. Fortunately, our founders would be able to figure out a way, in the constitution and bill of rights, to create a great framework for governmental balance.
“Pilgrims and Puritans came specifically to practice religious beliefs freely and to spread the gospel. In the 1500s England broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and formed its own church called the Church of England. However, the Separatists also known as the Pilgrims wanted nothing to do with that church. And as a result they were persecuted and harassed by followers of the new Church of England and accused of being traitors of the state. Many of these people feared for their lives, so under the leadership of William Bradford the Separatist decided to leave and go to a land where they could worship freely. In order to accomplish this new mission they sought the permission of the Virginia Company to establish their new home in this new land. Once they got permission the Pilgrims set sail in September 1620 on the Mayflower.
“Their journey was long and difficult and instead of landing in Virginia they actually landed North in Cape Cod. Because they landed in Cape Cod there was no formal written statement describing the rights and responsibilities of government. So the Pilgrims establish their own form of government for their colony. The agreement for the colony was to work together and consult each other to help the colony succeed. They began to fulfill the other part of their reasoning for coming here which was to spread the gospel by converting some of the Native Americans to Christianity.
“After learning that the pilgrims started their own colony and succeed other oppressed religious groups began to follow in their footsteps. In 1630 the Puritans also left England in search of religious freedom. The puritans left England because they wanted to become pure and get rid of any evil associated with the Church of England. In England if they disobey the Church of England they would suffer serious consequences. For that reason, they left to make reforms and changes elsewhere.
“The puritans received permission to form a colony in Massachusetts Bay. The puritans wanted to base their colony on the word of God. Their main belief was that God would protect them if they obey his commandments. The Massachusetts Bay also established a government where men church members could vote for governor and representatives to the General Court. Today many of the Amish communities are descendants from early settlers. It was also the protestant migration that paved the way for early constitutionalists to implement religious freedom into the constitution.”
This is a great National Review article by Jay Cost. We tend to forget it took a real revolution to create America. Our form of government is really radical.
It is important to remember that as some days it is easy to give up hope. Our founders gave their lives to create this for us. It is a precious jewel to be treasured.
“The first is the notion that civil liberty must be nearly absolute. The First Amendment guarantees the right to speak, to assemble, and to worship — with no caveats whatsoever. The Second Amendment empowers the people to arm themselves, as an alternative to standing armies, which had historically been tools of oppression. The remaining amendments in the Bill of Rights keep the government from abusing the rights of privacy, ensure fair and humane treatment in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, and underscore the limitations of federal authority.
“The second idea is a radically republican conception of the state. “Republicanism” had long been around as a governing ideal — the notion being that government should serve the citizenry and, in some respect, reflect its views. Political philosophers had usually reckoned that the best way to accomplish this task was to blend different forms — like democracy and aristocracy — to keep the defects of any one system from undermining the whole regime. In the 1700s, European theorists such as Montesquieu and David Hume had judged the British Constitution to be the greatest realization of this idea, for it “balanced” the Commons against the House of Lords and the Crown.
“The delegates to the Constitutional Convention would have none of this. Their system of government was founded solely upon the people — with no self-appointed or hereditary authority. And we see their radicalism in the fact that they affirmed this commitment in 1787, when popular government in the United States seemed to have been foundering for many years. The national government was impotent during the 1780s, and the state governments were often no different than mob rule. But instead of seeking reconciliation with George III, or some reinstatement of mixed estates, the delegates to the Convention, as Madison put it, chartered a government that addressed the “inconveniencies of democracy” while remaining “consistent with the democratic form of government.”
Was the British Empire a good or bad thing for the world? To put it another way, is freedom a good or bad thing for the world? Historian and author H.W. Crocker III explains why we may want to rethink the British Empire’s bad rap.
Script: Over the last 400 years, what power has done the most to spread the ideals of limited government, an independent judiciary, certain inalienable rights, and free markets? That power would be the British Empire.
It was Britain that gave these ideals to the United States. It was the British Empire, the largest empire the world has ever known, which made these ideals global aspirations. It was the British Empire, along with America, that defended these ideals in two colossal world wars. Freedom was an Englishman’s right—and wherever he went, he took that right with him. Whether he was an English colonist in America, governing himself through a locally-elected assembly; or an English adventurer, like Sir Stamford Raffles, creating the free-market city-state of Singapore; or an English officer, like T.E. Lawrence, leading Arab tribesmen against the Turks, the British always thought of themselves as liberators, as bringers of freedom.
The British believed the final and necessary justification of their empire was a moral one. The British kept the peace; they brought sound, honest administration; and they insisted that basic moral standards were honored. The British did not try to nation-build in the way we think of it now. They were under no illusions about making Arabs or Afghans or Zulus into Englishmen.
They were more than content to leave people alone, to let them be themselves, to govern them with the lightest possible hand. In American history, we remember this when we think of the British Empire’s so-called “benign neglect.” We can see it throughout the history of the British Empire. Think about the vast territory of the Sudan—it was governed by 140 British civil-servants. Even Gandhi praised the British Empire, paraphrasing Jefferson, saying that he believed that the best government was the government that governed least, and that he found that the British Empire guaranteed his freedom and governed him least of all. In the defense of freedom, the empire drew moral lines.
No power did more to abolish slavery and the slave trade in the modern world than did the British Empire. The British treasury spent enormous sums to liberate slaves and compensate slave-owners in the Caribbean. The Royal Navy had, as a primary duty, the eradication of the slave-trade—and, in fact, abolishing the slave trade become a major factor driving the expansion of the British Empire. The British enforced a Pax Britannica, putting down pirates, taming headhunters, and keeping the peace between previously warring tribes and religions. While respecting—and often ruling through—local leaders, the British still insisted on certain Judeo-Christian moral standards. They were not, in that respect, multiculturalists.
They had a firm sense of right and wrong. When Sir Charles Napier was confronted by the practice of suttee – widow-burning – in India, he told the Brahmin priests involved that he understood it was their custom. But the British had a custom, too: They hanged men who burned women alive, and their goods were confiscated. So, if the Brahmins insisted on continuing their tradition of widow-burning, then he would insist on following his British tradition of hanging the murderers of widows. Widow-burning in India soon ceased. For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/courses/histo…
Freedom doesn’t come with out some costs. For many, that has been paid by their life. Our freedom was first secured by men who were willing to die for it.
Freedom is a precious asset of our country.
What am I willing to do to support freedom? Perhaps loose a few friends. Perhaps offend a few people. Perhaps suffer a few trolls on Twitter. I somehow doubt I will have to die for it.
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine
What Gives Censors Any Right to Censor? We definitely need to think all of the nonsense associated with the current free speech debate.
Defenders of free speech have offered some familiar but still trenchant rebuttals:
I love this. God is honored in our country. What a great history we have. Our origins as a Judeo-Christian country are clear.
That seems to be slipping away. May we take a stand for Jesus and turn the tide.
“The U.S. Constitution never explicitly mentions God or the divine, but the same cannot be said of the nation’s state constitutions. In fact, God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.”
“The battle over whether America remains Judeo-Christian or becomes secular like Europe is what this, the Second American Civil War, is about.” ~Dennis Prager
There is some confusion about Sharia Law. Is it not just similar to the 10 commandments found in the Old Testament? Absolutely not.
Since 1993, Jack Phillips has created custom cakes at his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Colorado. Jack uses his creativity and artistic talent to create edible works of art that help celebrate the most special occasions. Jack serves LGBT customers. Jack doesn’t believe in same sex marriages and doesn’t want to participate in the ceremony.
Jack is going to the Supreme Court to have his case heard.
To learn more about his case, visit www.adflegal.org/faithandjustice
More from the Alliance Defending Freedom Continue reading
“During the Obama years, the National Security Agency intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines implemented pursuant to federal law. The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States.”
So how do most Americans react?
We yawn. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal.
Why aren’t more people upset? What happened to needing a search warrant?
Even more important, what happened to Presidents who actually care about our Constitution. We require that an oath be taken “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Jesus challenges us. He says let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. I don’t think he is impressed. This isn’t the way of his government.
“While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).”
Our constitution is a marvelous document and a tremendous governmental framework. Combine that with the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and you have a true trifecta.
We seem to keep wandering down the path of executive authority. Congress and the Supreme Court should keep our presidents in check by using their constitutional authority.
That said, the president has the authority, under the constitution, to fire the FBI director.
The president doesn’t have the authority to approve treaties or start wars, just to name a few “no – no”s.
“Trump has an authoritarian impulse,” Ian Bremmer tweeted after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, “But incompetence is a better explanation of his administration’s challenges to date.”
Anni Cyrus explains Sharia and its impact on American life style.
Why? Because you wanted to know what Islamism means to you and your way of life.
Jesus came to set us free and that freedom is guaranteed us in the United States Constitution. Jesus is the only way to God.
Great news for the 1st Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a federal trademark law banning offensive names is unconstitutional, siding with a rock band whose name had been deemed racially disparaging by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.
We need some bold ideas. This one probably won’t happen but it would help “drain the swamp”.
President Trump has tweeted that Senate rules for budget bills should be changed. There’s little chance that will happen. But why settle for little changes when we need big-league change? We need to stop playing the game as it has always been played. If we’re to get this country back on track, we need to change the rules of the game.
As a reminder: the Seventeenth Amendment allows for the direct election of U.S. senators. Previously, state legislators selected senators. The framers of our Constitution believed this process would make senators less tempted by the whims of voters and more concerned with the long-term interests of their states. Less concerned with the trending topic of the moment, these senators would brake the excesses of government expansion.
Donald Trump is not the only authoritarian leaning president we have had. We have had two in a row.
The constitution is important for all political parties to honor, respect and defend.
Trump has an authoritarian impulse,” Ian Bremmer tweeted after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, “But incompetence is a better explanation of his administration’s challenges to date.
Much of our challenges right now, in America, are not our elected officials. The normal constitutional process and the necessary gridlock are working.
It is hard to get legislation passed, signed and upheld in court. It should be, that is the way it was designed.
What was unanticipated is executive and administrative “law”. One administration “orders” it. The next “un-orders” it, if they can.
We need to reign it in. We, the people, need to take control and force order back into the system.
Whether they realize it or not, Americans are subject to the soft despotism of administrative law.
“Let’s face it: sometimes history seems irrelevant. We’re living in a modern technological wonderland of smart phones, Direct TV on airplanes, and online shopping. Yet what makes history both relevant and intriguing is the humanity behind it: the universal qualities and daily life applications that we can discover in the past.
“So it is with the behind-the-scenes story of drafting the U.S. Constitution in 1787, which we mark every year on September 17 as Constitution Day. If we look back, we find that James Madison’s problem-solving skills are as applicable and useful today as they were back then.”
The stories of those helped by Religious Freedom bills may not be what you would expect. Religious freedom is for all religions not just conservative Christians.
Just a few weeks ago, on March 10, the federal government returned the eagle feathersit had seized nine years prior from a Native American religious leader and famed feather dancer Robert Soto. He had appealed the seizure of the eagle feathers, for which he faced 15 years in a federal penitentiary and a $250,000 fine, on Religious Freedom Restoration Act grounds.
The feds had sent undercover agents to a powwow in 2006 to confiscate the feathers, which are central to Soto’s Native American faith. The federal government prohibits possession of eagle feathers without a permit and only grants permits to museums, scientists, zoos, farmers, large power companies and federally recognized tribes. Even though the Lipan Apaches are recognized by the State of Texas, historians and sociologists, they’re not recognized by the feds.
We are losing our sense of history. There are rays of hope but not enough.
Our culture is built on our history. How our country came into existence is important.
As a political philosophy nerd, I was delightfully surprised that Broadway merged pop culture and American history to create the musical “Hamilton,” and even more surprised that it actually appealed to my generation in spite of our notorious underappreciation of America’s founding history.
Yet the death of Justice Antonin Scalia revealed a startling disconnect: millennials flocked to social media celebrating the Grammy win of a show about the foremost proponent of the Constitution’s ratification, while simultaneously rejoicing in the untimely loss of a strong adherent to the ideals for which Alexander Hamilton fought.
In the wake of Orlando, some politicians finally have found a way to begin stripping Americans of their Second Amendment rights.
First, they’ll strip them of their Fifth Amendment rights. The Fifth Amendment declares that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”
No one should be barred from purchasing a gun without a legal process that justifies their being stripped of the right to do so.
This is stunning. Breitbart “State Rep. Barbara Norton (D) led the charge against HB 1035, a measure that would require local school boards of education to have students in grades four to six recite a specified section of the Declaration of Independence after the current daily period of silent prayer or meditation and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Valarie Hodges (R), would require students in the specified grades to recite the following passage:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
So what did Martin Luther King have to say?
When the architects of our great Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note which every American was to fall heir…” He said this would guarantee freedom for the rest of our posterity.
How about Frederick Douglas?
The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions and in all places…
The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution set out the principles and framework of a God-centered approach to government. Our founders truly believed that God entitles us to this. God ordained it.
Our country is founded this truth being “self-evident”. Is it really self evident today? Do most of our citizens know this and believe it? Probably not and that is sad. We who do must work to make that clear.
Our country is founded on the truth that we are created equal by God. God gives us certain rights that are “unalienable”. They can’t be taken away from us.
What are those rights?
What do we have a government for? To secure those rights for us. That is not only the main thing that is the thing.
We give the government the power to do that. It isn’t the other way around.
We must know what the documents say and mean.
We must care that they are faithfully followed.
No Constitution can protect a people that does not know or care about what it says.
Source: Sultan Knish: Youmerica
We live in a republic, not a democracy. That is the way our founding fathers wanted it and that is what is laid out in our constitution. There are many examples of where this is true.
Trump forces are also ignoring the fact they often benefit from primary rules that could be mischaracterized as “disenfranching” voters. Take South Carolina, where Trump won only 32 percent of the vote but, because he won each of the state’s congressional districts in a divided field, he won all 50 delegates. Two-thirds of the voters cast ballots for candidates who won zero delegates, which by Trumpian logic means they that they were “disenfranchised.”
The Republican party has held 39 national conventions since its first in 1856. At each and every one, a majority of delegates was needed for someone to get the nomination. Abraham Lincoln won on the third ballot in 1860, even though rival William Seward captured a plurality, 41.5 percent, of the delegates on the first ballot. The reason only trivia geeks remember John Sherman, Leonard Wood, or Frank Lowden is that while those men entered their GOP conventions with a clear plurality of delegates, they fell short of a majority, and lost to another candidate on a later ballot.
Following President Barack Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit to fill the vacancy left by sudden passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, there has been an intense clamor from the left for the Senate to “do your job!”
By this, they mean that the Senate has a constitutional obligation to give Garland a hearing and an up-or-down vote, which Senate Republicans have announced they are not going to do. But is the Senate obligated under the Constitution to do so?
The answer is clearly “no.”
The president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court ….” That’s all Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution says about the confirmation process for justices to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Of course, the constitution doesn’t say the Senate has to give Supreme Court nominees a vote. When it was to Harry Reid’s advantage, that was his position. Now that it isn’t to his advantage, he takes the opposite view.
In 2005, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also reminded us:
The duties of the Senate are set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote. It says appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. That is very different than saying every nominee receives a vote.
The constitution is clear on a nomination to the Supreme Court. The President nominates and the Senate advises and consents. The Senate can advise the President that his choice is unacceptable. Under the rules of the Senate, the Senate leader can make this call.
That is all there is to it. No need to nuance it with the “Biden rule” or anything else. The constitution is all the matters.
Obama is a lame duck who has already done lasting damage to the separation of powers that undergirds our constitutional system. He has already put his stamp on the federal judiciary: Besides two Supreme Court justices, he will have placed well over 300 like-minded, life-tenured appointees on the bench by the time he leaves office. He should not be permitted to further shape the ideological direction of the Supreme Court, especially with several cases on the horizon that challenge Obama policies implemented by unilateral, legally dubious executive action.
Jonah Goldberg has a real way with words. This article is long but worth it to get these kind of gems.
Sadly, it is true that President after President is weakening our republic with executive actions.
We need leadership who can stick to what they believe is best for the constitution. That is what they have sworn to do.
Consider the fact thatObamacare is now simply untethered from law or policy. This week the administration announced that you can get a hardship waiver from Obamacare if your hardship is . . .wait for it . . . Obamacare. This is like getting out of doing push-ups during basic training if you can prove that doing push-ups would be difficult for you, defeating the point of doing push-ups in the first place. The White House is quite simply making it all up as they go along. You can’t really point to a thing that is Obamacare because doing so would be like pointing at the blob in a lava lamp and saying “that looks like Michael Caine eating a badger.” Maybe it looks like that right now. Give it a second.
It is sad that the states need to do this but I guess it needs to be done. Free speech has to be protected. Kudos to Tennessee if they pass it.
Representative Martin Daniel (R-18th District) has filed a bill that would confirm the First Amendment right of students enrolled in Tennessee institutions of higher education.
House Bill 2063, entitled “The Tennessee Student Free Speech Protection Act,” would require that institutions of higher education adopt a policy on speech and expression that would confirm students’ freedom of speech as a fundamental right, guarantee them the broadest latitude to speak about any issue that presents itself, and allow students to openly and vigorously discuss ideas that other members of the institution’s community might oppose. Furthermore, the Act would prohibit higher education institutions from discouraging any type of lawful speech or expressive activity, establishing speech “safe zones,” or shielding individuals from ideas and opinions that they might find disagreeable, unwelcome or offensive.
In Tennessee, the First Amendment does not stop at the campus gate. This Bill would confirm the nearly forgotten concept of free speech. We can’t allow politically correct policies to smother free speech. Courtesy and sensitivity, while encouraged, can never trump basic constitutional rights. Tennessee higher education should prepare our students for the real world, and encouraging expression of all sorts of viewpoints is essential to that objective.
This is absurd. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.”
This sounds like it is clearly abridging the freedom of speech.
Auburn has free speech zones on campus, and we were protesting that,” Stone said. “We didn’t bother to get a permit, because why would we need a permit to exercise our free speech rights?
George Will takes a deep dive into the Compact for America balanced-budget proposal which, “would use the Constitution’s Article V to move the nation back toward the limited government the Constitution’s Framers thought their document guaranteed. The Compact for America is the innovation of the Goldwater Institute’s Nick Dranias, who proposes a constitutional convention carefully called under Article V to enact a balanced-budget amendment written precisely enough to preclude evasion by the political class.
This class has powerful and permanent incentives for deficit spending, which delivers immediate benefits to constituents while deferring a significant portion of the benefits’ costs.
From the Goldwater Institute, the fertile frontal lobe of the conservative movement’s brain, comes an innovative idea that is gaining traction in Alaska, Arizona and Georgia, and its advocates may bring it to at least 35 other state legislatures. It would use the Constitution’s Article V to move the nation back toward the limited government the Constitution’s Framers thought their document guaranteed.
The Constitution guarantees us free speech. It is, in an “originalist” sense, very clear. It didn’t say we guarantee free speech unless …
Is hate speech free speech? It is speech.
I think we should err on the side of free speech. Free speech, while potentially offensive, is still our right. You have the right to offend me. As a lover of liberty, I should defend your rights. You should defend mine. That is our obligation as free citizens.
The First Amendment, ratified December 15, 1791, states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In 1969, the Supreme Court protected a Ku Klux Klan member’s racist speech and created the “imminent danger” test to permit hate speech. The court ruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio that; “The constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force, or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
In 2011, the Supreme Court issued their ruling on Snyder v. Phelps, which concerned the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest with signs found offensive by many Americans. The issue presented was whether the 1st Amendment protected the expressions written on the signs. In an 8-1 decision the court sided with Phelps, the head of Westboro Baptist Church, thereby confirming their historically strong protection of hate speech, so long as it doesn’t promote imminent violence. The Court explained, “speech deals with matters of public concern when it can ‘be fairly considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community’ or when it ‘is a subject of general interest and of value and concern to the public.”
So what do I make of this (below)? Not much.
Where will America draw its line in the sand? In some cases this speech never evolves beyond rhetoric, so we tolerate it for the sake of free speech, but increasingly the threat of violence looms just past the propaganda. We shake our heads at Ammon Bundy, many quick to make light of a dangerous situation so long as it doesn’t spill over into a deadly one. But in doing so, we are implicitly condoning the segregation of certain groups within the country and allowing influential figures to paint targets on groups that ideologically stand in their way. Then, when our televisions and newspapers are plastered with events like the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado (in which the gunman allegedly said “no more baby parts,” a reference to the debunked narrative that the organization was selling baby parts for profit), we need to look in the mirror and ask: at what point must we step in to prevent the needless deaths of innocent citizens?
Antonin Scalia will be remembered for much. Much will be written.
Today there is probably not much I can add to that.
His words speak volumes. And volumes he has written.
Here are a couple of my favorites.
God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed. ~Antonin Scalia
At his core, besides being a constitutional originalist, he was a man of deep faith. Combine those two and you have a legacy.
If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world. ~Antonin Scalia
I don’t see where in our constitution it gives the Federal government the right to own land.
The tenth amendment does say that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Reagan did bring about a revolution of looking at the constitution and defending it. The battle continues on today.
Ronald Reagan was campaigning in Utah in 1980 when he offered an unusual pitch to the state’s voters: “Count me in as a rebel.”
A weird argument for a candidate for the presidency, but in that place at that time, it was good politics. Utah was one of six states at that point that had passed legislation aimed at nullifying federal ownership of land within the state’s boundaries. As we noted Monday, while explaining the takeover of a federal building by armed activists in Oregon, large percentages of land in the West are still owned by the federal government, including more than half of Utah.
There is a lot of focus on the legal aspects of the abortion issue. It is necessary to do so.
We must recognize that at its core, it is a matter of the heart and a moral issue first.
We must win the moral argument. We must resist the temptation to focus exclusively on the legal.
We must protect the lives of children. To not do so makes us sick in our souls and we will be held accountable for that. There will be a day of judgement.
Our country was founded on the principle of the sacredness of life. Our creator endowed us with the right and responsibility to protect life.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
So it is a simple question if you believe life does not begin at conception and should be protected.
In one week during January 1973, President Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated to his second term, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died, the United States and North Vietnam entered into the Paris Peace Accords, and the Supreme Court legalized abortion. Only the last of these events continues to affect and haunt the moral and constitutional order every minute of every day.
The Court’s decision in Roe vs. Wade is arguably its most controversial in the post-World War II era. Its effect has been as pernicious to human life as was its 19th century intellectual progenitor, Dred Scott vs. Sanford, in which the Supreme Court ruled that African-Americans are not persons.
I am dismayed. I am a constitutional conservative (not a “Tea Partier”). I believe I’ve looked fairly at Mr. Trump’s positions. Historically, he seems to be more of a progressive than a conservative. He is clearly running as populist more than anything. That is just my opinion. Some share it, many do not.
Palin’s endorsement of Trump (and it sounds like Jerry Falwell Jr. will follow suit) confirms what many conservative pundits and political scientists have been highlighting the past several weeks: The GOP grassroots are not nearly as conservative as was thought. They, like Palin, were sick of big government on an instinctual level, not a philosophical one.
This was a bad day for Ted Cruz. He got hit hard when the popular Republican governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, said he supported anyone but Cruz. Now Palin has given Tea Partiers and evangelicals the cover they need to support a heterodox Trump. To top it all off, Cruz was campaigning in New Hampshire today because he was confident of his standing in Iowa.
Shariah blasphemy doctrine matters to free societies because of followers who seek to impose that doctrine in civilized countries and the United States of America. It stands in direct contradiction with our Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The United States and its allies are accustomed to confronting external threats. Democracies are generally uncomfortable about facing internal threats. The Muslim Brotherhood and others are exploiting our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms to demand tolerance of its medieval religious practices and to repress free speech where it gives offense to them. In this sense, they are effectively imposing shariah blasphemy laws in America, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere.
Shariah is fundamentally about power – the enforcement of a body of law, not faith. Therefore it is a political force, not a religious one. In the words of Muslim Brotherhood theoretician Sayyid Qutb, “Whenever an Islamic community exists which is a concrete example of the Divinely-ordained system of life, it has a God-given right to step forward and control the political authority so that it may establish the divine system on earth…”
Seizing assets without permission is theft. It is even worse when the government we elect to protect our rights does it. We can’t allow our government to violate our rights this way. The Fifth amendment clearly states that we will not” be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
We learned that a dismal threshold has been passed. The value of property that police departments seized through civil-asset forfeiture—usually without accusing, let alone convicting, the property owners of a crime—exceeded the value of property stolen by nongovernment burglars.
I have a lot of respect for Judge Napolitano. He has a great understanding of the Constitution and is consistent in his approach to it’s interpretation.
President Obama has very little room to issue executive orders on guns because the congressional legislation is so extensive, detailed, and clear. The principal thrust of the president’s orders addresses the requirement for background checks in occasional sales and the requirement that occasional sellers become federal licensees and the imposition of reporting upon physicians.
Congress has expressly removed occasional sales (sales not made by full-time dealers) from the obligation of obtaining federal licenses and from conducting background checks.
The president is without authority to negate the congressional will on this, and any attempt to do so will be invalidated by the courts. Mr. Obama will now require that anyone who sells a gun, that is even an “occasional” seller will be required to perform a background check. By defining what an “occasional seller” is, the president is essentially interpreting the law, a job reserved for the courts.
Judge Andrew Napolitano weighs the constitutional requirements of probable cause against how today’s intelligence community operates.
The fourth amendment to our constitution says “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”
The constitutional requirement of probable cause is not political fancy; rather, it saves us from tyranny…
The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. It says that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
President Obama is clear.
Change, as always, is going to take all of us. The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids. That’s the work of citizenship — to stand up and fight for the change that we seek. We know that we can’t stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something — anything — to protect our kids from gun violence?
Some are calling for elimination of the “gun show loophole”. Does it exist?
There is zero protection enshrined in law for transactions that happen to occur at a gun show or over the Internet. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The so-called “gun show loophole” simply does not exist. Nor does any sort of Internet gun sale loophole. Federal gun laws are directed at the entities engaging in the manufacture or distribution of firearms, not the mere venues where those activities happen to take place. If you are an FFL (Federal Firearms License) who sells guns at a gun show, you are required by law to either process a background check prior to the sale of a gun, or you must confirm, usually by examining a concealed carry permit or a purchase permit (both of which require background checks), that a buyer is not legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing a gun.
Our Constitution is clear. The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.
Here is exactly what it says.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
For some reason, some politicians think our security is more important than our constitution. It is not. In the Constitution, personal security trumps national security.
Here are some thoughts from Judge Andrew P. Napolitano.
If you were looking for a needle in a haystack, simple logic would tell you that the smaller the haystack the likelier you are to find the needle. Except for the government.
Since Edward Snowden revealed the federal government’s unlawful and unconstitutional use of federal statutes to justify spying on all in America all the time, including the members of Congress who unwittingly wrote and passed the statutes, I have been arguing that the Fourth Amendment prohibits all domestic spying, except that which has been authorized by a search warrant issued by a judge. The same amendment also requires that warrants be issued only based on a serious level of individualized suspicion backed up by evidence — called probable cause — and the warrants must specifically identify the place and person to be spied upon.
Because these requirements are in the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, Congress and the president and the courts are bound by them. There is no emergency or public safety or wartime exception to them. These requirements cannot be changed by legislation; only a constitutional amendment, ratified by the legislatures of 37 states, can do so.
All of this is what lawyers and judges call black letter law — meaning it is well-understood, has not been seriously challenged and is nearly universally accepted. Except by the government.
The government — which thinks it can right any wrong, tax any event, regulate any behavior and interfere with any right — also thinks it can keep us safe from the terrorists among us by cutting constitutional corners, which it has done many times since 9/11. Among the constitutional corners it has cut is unleashing its 60,000 domestic spies upon us with orders to disregard the constitutional requirements for spying on Americans and gather all the data about us that they can by listening to phone calls and reading emails, as well as gathering the banking information, credit card information, utility bills, postal mail and medical records of everyone in America, without regard to individualized suspicion.
The President of the United States has a job. When he is sworn into office he takes an oath. It is “”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The second amendment says that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Should that be up for debate? Is there any logical or illogical reason to change it?
When debating the wisdom of the Constitution’s Second Amendment, the media tends to start from the presumption that the question is purely scientific, and that the answers can — and should — be derived from statistical analyses and relentless experimentation. This approach is mistaken. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is not the product of the latest research fads or exquisitely tortured “data journalism,” but a natural extension of the Lockean principles on which this country was founded. It must be protected as such.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1941, declared December 15 “Bill of Rights Day” to commemorate the day in 1791 when Virginia became the eleventh state to ratify the ten amendments.
It’s a day to remember how fortunate we are to be governed by a charter that guarantees “freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the free right to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging thefreedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today.
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence to call for “a wall of separation between church and State”, though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. Speech rights were expanded significantly in a series of 20th- and 21st-century court decisions that protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing, pornography, and school speech; these rulings also defined a series of exceptions to First Amendment protections. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). Commercial speech is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, and is therefore subject to greater regulation.
The Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, and applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota (1931) andNew York Times v. United States (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in almost all cases. The Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has also ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms. The concept of a right to keep and bear arms existed within English common lawlong before the enactment of the Bill of Rights. Eighteenth century English jurist and judge Sir William Blackstone described this right as
a public allowance under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.
First codified in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 (but there only applying to Protestants), this right was enshrined in fundamental laws of several American states during the Revolutionary era, including the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776.
Long a controversial issue in American political, legal and social discourse, the Second Amendment has been at the heart of several Supreme Court decisions.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The Third Amendment restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes, in response to Quartering Acts passed by the British parliament during the Revolutionary War. The amendment is one of the least controversial of the Constitution, and, as of 2012, has never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution. Search and seizure (including arrest) must be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer who has sworn by it. The amendment is the basis for the exclusionary rule, which mandates that evidence obtained illegally cannot be introduced into a criminal trial. The amendment’s interpretation has varied over time; its protections expanded under left-leaning courts such as that headed by Earl Warren and contracted under right-leaning courts such as that of William Rehnquist.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The Fifth Amendment protects against double jeopardy and self-incrimination and guarantees the rights to due process, grand jury screening of criminal indictments, and compensation for the seizure of private property under eminent domain. The amendment was the basis for the court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona (1966), which established that defendants must be informed of their rights to an attorney and against self-incrimination prior to interrogation by police.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
The Sixth Amendment establishes a number of rights of the defendant in a criminal trial:
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
The Seventh Amendment guarantees jury trials in federal civil cases that deal with claims of more than twenty dollars. It also prohibits judges from overruling findings of fact by juries in federal civil trials. In Colgrove v. Battin (1973), the Court ruled that the amendment’s requirements could be fulfilled by a jury with a minimum of six members. The Seventh is one of the few parts of the Bill of Rights not to be incorporated (applied to the states).
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The Eighth Amendment forbids the imposition of excessive bails or fines, though it leaves the term “excessive” open to interpretation.
The most frequently litigated clause of the amendment is the last, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment. This clause was only occasionally applied by the Supreme Court prior to the 1970s, generally in cases dealing with means of execution. In Furman v. Georgia (1972), some members of the Court found capital punishment itself in violation of the amendment, arguing that the clause could reflect “evolving standards of decency” as public opinion changed; others found certain practices in capital trials to be unacceptably arbitrary, resulting in a majority decision that effectively halted executions in the United States for several years. Executions resumed following Gregg v. Georgia (1976), which found capital punishment to be constitutional if the jury was directed by concrete sentencing guidelines. The Court has also found that some poor prison conditions constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as in Estelle v. Gamble (1976).
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The Ninth Amendment clarifies that the specific individual rights stated in the Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights, does not constitute anexplicit and exhaustive listing of all individual rights possessed by the people, and cannot be used by the federal government to increase its powers in areas not stated. It was rarely cited before the second half of the 20th century, when it was used as a positive affirmation of a right not stated but nonetheless protected by the Constitution, the right to privacy. This right was, in turn, the foundation upon which the Supreme Court built decisions in several landmark cases: Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which struck down a Connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives;Roe v. Wade (1973), which overturned a Texas law making it a crime to assist a woman to get an abortion; and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which invalidated a Pennsylvania law that required spousal awareness prior to obtaining an abortion.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The Tenth Amendment reinforces the principles of separation of powers and federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states or the people. The amendment provides no new powers or rights to the states, but rather preserves their authority in all matters not specifically granted to the federal government.
What has happened to Constitutional conservatism? Shouldn’t our world revolve around circumventing the law? What happened to due process? What has happened to freedom of religion, speech and property?
Since he announced his candidacy, Trump has:
Thomas Sowell considers The Price of Freedom. He correctly asserts it isn’t freedom if we can be punished. Excellent column, well worth the read as always.
It doesn’t matter what rights you have under the Constitution of the United States if the government can punish you for exercising those rights. And it doesn’t matter what limits the Constitution puts on government officials’ power if they can exceed those limits without any adverse consequences. In other words, the Constitution cannot protect you if you don’t protect the Constitution with your votes against anyone who violates it. Those government officials who want more power are not going to stop unless they get stopped.
This is a trend that doesn’t need to be reformed. It needs to be ended and it needs to be ended now. That government agencies can confiscate property with you being convicted of anything is outrageous.
“Americans understand the importance of the principle of innocent until proven guilty. However, a problematic, growing government program turns this long-standing ideal on its head. Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement to take personal property without even accusing individuals of a crime, much less proving them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Our constitution is very clear. The Ninth Amendment says “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”. If it isn’t in the constitution (and many things are not) then we retain them. Seems pretty clear.
“But when one reads not only the Ninth Amendment itself but about why it was written—to make it clear that the rights we “retain” when we establish government are far more numerous than could ever be enumerated in a constitution—then it becomes clear that the discovery and protection of those rights cannot be left to the very political majorities against which they are most likely being invoked in a legal action before a court. Indeed, if Whelan were right—that we enjoy only those rights that are expressly stated in the Bill of Rights—then prior to the ratification of the Bill of Rights, two years after the ratification of the Constitution, we enjoyed almost no rights against congressional majorities—save for those few mentioned in the original document.
“We’ve reached a point in our public discourse at which constitutional understanding is at the nadir. When so many American’s believe that the purpose of government is to provide them with all manner of goods and services, as demanded by democratic majorities, it’s difficult to explain the proper role of the courts under a Constitution for limited government. But neither will it help to feed that appetite for public goods by justifying the majoritarian force that satisfies it. Better it would be to appeal to the liberty we all want and the constitutional means for securing it.”
President Obama called for limiting the amount of standardized educational testing to 2 percent of classroom time, addressing the growing concern across the county about an over emphasis on test taking. President Obama seems to miss the point. Education is a state and local school district issue. If local school districts want to do more or less, that is their decision.
The Tenth Amendment that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
“Obama cannot force states or districts to limit testing, which has drawn consternation from parents and teachers. But he directed the Education Department to make it easier for states to satisfy federal testing mandates and he urged states and districts to use factors beyond testing to assess student performance.
“In addition, The New York Times reports Obama will ask Congress make his plan into legislation.
“The administration said it still supports standardized tests as a necessary assessment tool, and there are no signs they are going away soon.”
This was an interesting promise. There seem to be a number of cases where this has not proved to be true. We need leaders who mean what they say.
Jesus challenges us to “Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” (Matthew 5:33)
“I’m going to choose to interpret it this way or that way. That’s not part of his power. This is part of the theory of George Bush, that he can make laws as he goes along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution. I will obey the Constitution of the United States.” – Then-Sen.Barack Obama, campaigning in Billings, Mont., May 19, 2008
Our system of government, set up by our founders, is intended to invite dialogue and a level of compromise, absent an overwhelming majority in all the branches of government. We see this on both sides of the aisle actually. We all need to cultivate advisors who will tell us the truth.
Michael Gerson, gun control supporter, argues that Obama’s recent tantrum did measurable damage to the cause of gun control and to America’s system of political decision-making itself:
With his last election behind him, Obama is free to be Obama. And it appears that he is, deep down, a liberal commentator of the MSNBC variety — perhaps providing a preview of his post-presidency. The only apparent purpose of his gun speech was to incite the faithful by expressing a seething arrogance.
But it matters when the president of the United States decides that democratic persuasion is a fool’s game. It encourages the kind of will-to-power politics we see on the left and right. In this view, opponents are evil — entirely beyond the normal instruments of reason and good faith. So the only option is the collection and exercise of power.
When the main players in our politics give up on deliberative democracy, it feels like some Rubicon is being crossed. Our system is designed for leaders who make arguments for their views, seek compromise and try different policy angles to break logjams. And when they lose, their proper recourse is … to make more arguments, seek other compromises and try different policy angles.
12 Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds;
sound leadership has a moral foundation.
13 Good leaders cultivate honest speech;
they love advisors who tell them the truth.
14 An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives;
you’re smart to stay clear of someone like that.
It is important to understand the difference between our constitution in the U. S. and Sharia Law.
Why is this important? There are now an estimated 3 million Muslims residing in the United States as citizens or with permanent legal status, and more than 250,000 new Muslim residents enter the U.S. per year as refugees, on work visas and student-based visas, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
A poll commissioned in May 2015 by the Center for Security Policy showed that 51 percent of American Muslims preferred that they should have their own Shariah courts outside of the legal system ruled by the U.S. Constitution. And nearly a quarter believed the use of violent jihad was justified in establishing Shariah.
“That would translate into roughly 300,000 Muslims living in the United States who believe that Shariah is ‘The Muslim God Allah’s law that Muslims must follow and impose worldwide by Jihad,'” writes Frank Gaffney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy.
First, what is Sharia? Wikipedia states Sharia refers to the sacred law of Islam. All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails. Which will be difficult to discern what to apply when, but we’ll labor along for the sake of discussion.
In Western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced Sharia family law, for use in their own disputes. Attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare (Second Sudanese Civil War).
Here are some core differences to consider.
Equal Rights. The Constitution guarantees equal rights for all Americans, but Sharia Law denies equal rights for women or non-Muslims.
Freedom of Religion. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Sharia Law does accept the right of other religions to practice their beliefs.
Freedom of Speech. The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but Sharia Law limits freedom of speech and no one can say or write anything negative about the prophet, Mohammed or the Quran.
In fact, according to Sharia Law, anyone criticizing or denying any part of the Quran must be put to death.
There are many more things that Sharia law prohibits that are inconsistent with American practices and traditions including…
Is Sharia compatible with the U.S. Constitution? The simple answer is of course “no”.
But lets take a look at some aspects of Sharia Law and where it may or may not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.
The following is a truncated version with a couple of modifications (eliminating repetitious ibids and links) of multiple Wikipedia entries.
Legal and Court Proceedings:
1. Sharia courts do not generally employ lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.
2. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system.
3. There is no pre-trial discovery process, no cross-examination of witnesses, and no penalty of perjury (on the assumption that no witness would thus endanger his soul) Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents under the principle of stare decisis and unlike civil law, Sharia does not utilize formally codified statutes (these were first introduced only in the late 19th century during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, cf. mecelle).
4. Instead of precedents and codes, Sharia relies on medieval jurist’s manuals and collections of non-binding legal opinions, or fatwas, issued by religious scholars (ulama, particularly a mufti); these can be made binding for a particular case at the discretion of a judge.
5. Sharia courts’ rules of evidence also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony and excluding written and documentary evidence (including forensic and circumstantial evidence), on the basis that it could be tampered with or forged.
6. A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of a witness are the only evidence admissible in a Sharia court, written evidence is only admissible with the attestations of multiple, witnesses deemed reliable by the judge, i.e. notaries.
7. Testimony must be from at least two witnesses, and preferably free Muslim male witnesses, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character; testimony to establish the crime of adultery, or zina must be from four direct witnesses.
8. Forensic evidence (i.e. fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.
9. Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men [in most sources outside of Wikipedia Sharia states that a woman’s testimony only carries the weight of 1/4th of a man’s], and testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).
10. In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence.
11. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.
12. Sharia courts, with their tradition of pro se representation, simple rules of evidence, and absence of appeals courts, prosecutors, cross examination, complex documentary evidence and discovery proceedings, juries and voir dire proceedings, circumstantial evidence, forensics, case law, standardized codes, exclusionary rules, and most of the other infrastructure of civil and common law court systems, have as a result, comparatively informal and streamlined proceedings. [that’s one way of putting it]
13. This can provide significant increases in speed and efficiency (at the cost of the safeguards provided in secular legal systems), and can be an advantage in jurisdictions where the general court system is slow or corrupt, and where few litigants can afford lawyers. (end Wikipedia)
Our constitution guarantees us equal opportunity. It does not guarantee equal outcomes.
Thomas Sowell makes the point clear.
As a teenager, I briefly tried to play basketball. But I was lucky to hit the backboard, much less the basket. Yet I had just as much opportunity to play basketball as Michael Jordan had. But equal opportunity was not nearly enough to create equal outcomes.
Consider two important amendments to Constitution — the ninth and tenth. We don’t hear much about them these days.
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” and “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Summary of Video
How did the framers of the Constitution of the United States seek to preserve liberty and prevent tyranny? Pretty basic question. Here’s the answer I usually get from my students.
“Well, Professor, to protect the individual and minorities against the tyranny of the majority, they added the Bill of Rights; and they gave the power to enforce those rights to the Supreme Court.”
Are my students correct? The editorial boards of the New York Times or the Washington Post and many members of the U.S. Congress would say yes. Unfortunately, the answer is wrong. I say “unfortunately” because it reflects a common misunderstanding of the Constitution. And that misunderstanding has led to a serious erosion of our freedom.
Let me explain. Both the Bill of Rights and judicial review — the idea that the courts can decide if a law is Constitutional or not — were hotly debated items when the Constitution was being drafted in 1789. The Federalists, the group led by Alexander Hamilton that wanted a national constitution, opposed including a Bill of Rights. They feared it would actually undermine what the Federalists regarded as the main protections against tyranny in the document — the limited nature of the national government itself.
The Constitution did not envision a national government of general jurisdiction — meaning a government that could do whatever it wanted — but rather, a government of enumerated and delegated powers — a government that had authority over only specific areas of American life. All other powers were to be beyond the scope of the national government and reserved to the States or to the American people themselves. That’s why, when political necessity forced the Federalists to yield to demands for a Bill of Rights, they took care to add two important amendments — the ninth and tenth:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” and “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
These amendments reinforced the idea that the national government couldn’t just assume powers it had not been specifically granted by the Constitution. Unfortunately, these amendments have not stymied the expansion of the national authority. The power grab the Federalists feared — the national government taking more and more control over more and more areas of American life — took place. Not immediately, but over time, and especially beginning in the second half of the 20th century.
That same time frame has seen a similar concentration of power in the judiciary, especially in the Supreme Court — so that now, most Americans think of the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of almost every social and political dispute. The Founders never envisioned the court in this role.
How has the Court fared in playing it? Well, there have been moments of glory, to be sure, such as in the racial de-segregation case of Brown v. Board of Education in the 1950s But it has also handed down decision after decision — from Dred Scott v. Sandford in the 1850s, which facilitated the expansion of slavery, to Roe v. Wade in the 1970s, which legalized abortion throughout the United States — in which the justices have plainly overstepped the bounds of their authority by creating law from the bench, thereby further expanding their own power and that of the national government.
Moreover, the Supreme Court has done little to stop the executive and legislative branches of the national government from unconstitutionally overreaching. Recently, the Court found a way, by a bare majority, to uphold an obvious case of constitutional overreach by the national government — the imposition of a law — or individual mandate, as it is known — requiring every citizen to purchase health insurance coverage as part of President Obama’s signature “Affordable Care Act.” The government defended this mandate as a legitimate exercise of its expressly delegated power to regulate commerce among the states. The trouble is that the mandate does not regulate commerce at all; rather, it forces people into commerce on pain of a financial penalty.
But why did the issue get to the courts at all? Congress and the president should have recognized and honored the fact that the Constitution simply does not empower the national government to impose a mandate on the people to purchase products, whether health insurance or anything else.
We’ve drifted a long way from the original vision of the Founders. The further we’ve drifted, the more powerful the national government has grown, and the less free Americans have become. Freedom can be taken away, but it can also be given away — out of sheer ignorance. If we Americans, we the people, want to get some of that freedom back, we need to read America’s founding documents. All the freedom we ever wanted is there.
I’m Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University for Prager University.
Some things sound good and fuel our anger about unfairness. Regardless of how good a policy may feel, we should hold the policy up to principles that guide our believe about our constitution.
Here are a couple to think about around deportations:
Clearly we need to secure our boarders. Criminals should be immediately returned upon their completing their sentences.
The GOP, formerly the party of Lincoln and ostensibly the party of liberty and limited government, is being defined by clamors for a mass roundup and deportation of millions of human beings. To will an end is to will the means for the end, so the Republican clamors are also for the requisite expansion of government’s size and coercive powers.
Our system is built to prevent political minority factions from riding roughshod over our way of life. There is a great upside to that. The downside is if you represent 30 or 40 percent of the electorate, you don’t get you way without patience or compromise.
All the bluster in the world can’t change that. Charisma won’t change it. Anger won’t change it. It is baked into our constitution and so far it is standing, even though each successive President assaults it with executive orders.
Read here for a short primer.
Their beef isn’t with the Republican Party, it’s with the whole American system of government. Their enemy isn’t Mitch McConnell. It’s James Madison. If you’re the sort of person who uses “cuckservative” as an epithet for anyone who settles for less than what you imagine the right kind of strongman could deliver, then I’ve found your ultimate nemesis. James Madison is the original “cuckservative.
”The Father of the Constitution wrote the rulebook for the American political system, and he specifically wrote the rulebook for what’s supposed to happen to political factions. He explained this in The Federalist No. 10. Everyone should read this essay and thoroughly understand it, and almost no one does. But you can’t understand politics and can’t do politics until you do.
Source: Donald Trump vs. James Madison
Here are some ideas to remember.
This whole deal was a fiasco from the beginning. Instead of treating it like a treaty and requiring 67 affirmative votes, Senator Corker brokered a deal where 34 Democrats could block it.
It is sad and embarrassing that we have so little respect for our Constitution.
That is one reason Corker’s deal was so foolish. Even if the Iran sellout could not be stopped — because Obama went outside the American political system to work with China and Russia at the United Nations, cutting American voters and their representatives out of the loop entirely — it was still important to make this painful for the Democrats. Instead, Corker made it as painless as possible with his “bipartisan” arrangement, leaving the Democrats plenty of room to indulge members like Schumer, who had to pretend they were concerned about national security and the fate of Israel.
It also became easier for the Obama Administration to conduct its charade of “selling the deal.” Every salesman relaxes when he knows a sloppy pitch is good enough to get the paperwork signed.
Our system of government is designed to make sure it is difficult to get things done in Washington. That is what we created at the founding of our country. That is what we got. We need to understand it. Ignorance of this is not useful. Anger about may make us feel good but doesn’t change the facts.
If we want a particular party to be able to control what goes on, a majority is needed in the House, 60 out of 100 Senators need to be of the same party and a President of the same party all have to be elected.
In 1787, fifty-five delegates met at a Constitutional convention in Philadelphia and generated ideas of a bicameral legislature (United States Congress), balanced representation of small and large states (Great Compromise), and checks and balances. James Madison stated in a long pre-convention memorandum to delegates that because “one could hardly expect the state legislatures to take enlightened views on national affairs”, stronger central government was necessary. This convention almost immediately dropped its original mandate and instead set about constructing a new Constitution of the United States. Once the convention concluded and released the Constitution for public consumption, the Federalist movement became focused on getting the Constitution ratified.
We have 3 branches of government. They are all elected separately, with the exception of the Supreme Court, which is appointed. This is different than many counties that have a parliamentary style of government. In that style, a party wins and then has control of the legislature and Prime Minister.
Here are some ideas to remember.
This gets complicated but it needs to be understood. If a party on controls the House, the Senate and the President can block legislation passed by the House very easily. If a party controls the House and the Senate, but doesn’t have 60 members in the Senate, the same happens. If a party controls the House, has 60 out of 100 members in the Senate, and the President is of the same party, much can happen. This is the system of government our founding fathers put in place for a very good reason.
As a perfect example of how complicated it can get, take cloture in the Senate. It intentionally complicates getting a bill passed in the Senate. It is known as Senate Rule 22. It is not found in the Constitution. It can be changed by the Senate. Cloture was invoked for the first time on November 15, 1919, during the 66th Congress, to end a filibuster on the Treaty of Versailles.
The cloture rule originally required a super majority of two-thirds of all senators “present and voting” to be considered filibuster-proof. For example, if all 100 Senators voted on a cloture motion, 67 of those votes would have to be for cloture for it to pass; however if some Senators were absent and only 80 Senators voted on a cloture motion, only 54 would have to vote in favor. However, it proved very difficult to achieve this; the Senate tried eleven times between 1927 and 1962 to invoke cloture but failed each time. Filibuster was particularly heavily used by Democratic Senators from Southern states to block civil rights legislation.
In 1975, the Democratic Senate majority, having achieved a net gain of four seats in the 1974 Senate elections to a strength of 61 (with an additional Independent caucusing with them for a total of 62), reduced the necessary supermajority to three-fifths (60 out of 100). However, as a compromise to those who were against the revision, the new rule also changed the requirement for determining the number of votes needed for a cloture motion’s passage from those Senators “present and voting” to those Senators “duly chosen and sworn”. Thus, 60 votes for cloture would be necessary regardless of whether every Senator voted. The only time a lesser number would become acceptable is when a Senate seat is vacant. For example, if there were two vacancies in the Senate, thereby making 98 Senators “duly chosen and sworn”, it would only take 59 votes for a cloture motion to pass.
The new version of the cloture rule, which has remained in place since 1975, makes it considerably easier for the Senate majority to invoke cloture. The three-fifths version of the cloture rule does not apply to motions to end filibusters relating to Senate Rule changes. To invoke cloture to end debate over changing the Senate Rules, the original version of the rule (two-thirds of those Senators “present and voting”) still applies.
Regarding the Supreme Court, Article III of the constitution states that:
“The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. “
“The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;–between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.”
Article Two of the United States Constitution places the power of appointing Justices with the President of the United States, stating:
A simple majority vote is required to confirm or to reject a nominee. Once the Committee reports out the nomination, the whole Senate considers it. Rejections are relatively uncommon; the Senate has explicitly rejected twelve Supreme Court nominees in its history. The most recent rejection of a nominee by vote of the full Senate came in 1987, when the Senate refused to confirm Robert Bork.
Article III of the United States Constitution leaves it to Congress to fix the number of justices. The Judiciary Act of 1789 called for the appointment of six justices, and as the nation’s boundaries grew, Congress added justices to correspond with the growing number of judicial circuits: seven in 1807, nine in 1837, and ten in 1863.
In 1866, at the behest of Chief Justice Chase, Congress passed an act providing that the next three justices to retire would not be replaced, which would thin the bench to seven justices by attrition. Consequently, one seat was removed in 1866 and a second in 1867. In 1869, however, the Circuit Judges Act returned the number of justices to nine, where it has since remained.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to expand the Court in 1937. His proposal envisioned appointment of one additional justice for each incumbent justice who reached the age of 70 years 6 months and refused retirement, up to a maximum bench of 15 justices. The proposal was ostensibly to ease the burden of the docket on elderly judges, but the actual purpose was widely understood as an effort to pack the Court with justices who would support Roosevelt’s New Deal. The plan, usually called the “Court-packing Plan”, failed in Congress. Nevertheless, the Court’s balance began to shift within months when Justice van Devanter retired and was replaced by Senator Hugo Black. By the end of 1941, Roosevelt had appointed seven justices and elevated Harlan Fiske Stone to Chief Justice
The state of Kentucky has an obligation, now that their law has been declared unconstitutional, to pass laws clarifying a number of issues related to same sex marriages. One of those laws should protect and accomidate people of faith. Many states have done that. More should.
But the case of Kim Davis does involve a constitution. The constitution of Kentucky, which 75% of Kentucky voters opted to amend in a referendum from 2004. In that amendment, same-sex marriage, or any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage” was specifically outlawed. You might think that terrible, you might think it unjust, you might think it tyrannical, but that is the law in Kentucky. To throw someone into a Kentucky jail for upholding it, is nothing short of an act of war by the federal government against the state of Kentucky.
The Supreme Court has ruled. I don’t agree with it.
You were on the winning side. Why be a sore winner? Why not be gracious? Why not stand up to advocate for accommodations for people of faith who believe the marriage is between a man and a woman?
Our constitution, laws and regulations favor accommodation. North Carolina and other states passed legislation to protect religious liberty and implement the Supreme Court ruling. Wisdom would suggest being a gracious winner.
For a left-wing pundit, however, accommodation isn’t the name of this game. What fun is their Supreme Court victory if they don’t get to stick it to the anti-marriage-equality bigots? For the sake of the liberal morality narrative, Davis has to go down. To sell that to the public, she must be dismissed as a right-wing crank.
According to Wikipedia, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, includes the Treaty Clause, which empowers the President of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements, which must be confirmed by the Senate, between the United States and other countries, which become treaties between the United States and other countries after the advice and consent of a supermajority (now 67 votes) of the United States Senate.
So how can 41 Democrats subvert the Constitution? How can the President, who negotiated this, do the same thing and encourage the Senate to go along? How can the Republicans go along as well?
This is baffling and this is the lawless world we live in now. The Constitution means something. Laws mean something.
Here is the oath of office President’s take. “”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Here is the oath Senator’s take. “I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
Our word should mean something. We need politicians who have the character to live up to their word and provide leadership.
In the face of two months of fierce campaigning by opponents of the Iran nuclear deal, 41 Democrats have said publicly they will nevertheless support it. The tally gives President Barack Obama enough backing to stop a GOP effort to undo the deal in the Senate, without needing to exercise a veto, if all of those backers support a filibuster.
Source: 41 Democrats Back Iran Deal
Is the problem becoming a citizen if you are born here or allowing people to get here illegally. If we stop people from coming illegally, most of the birthright citizenship issues go away. My sense is to clearly focus on the real issue of illegal immigration. It is a shame that for too long we have ignored that very important set of laws. Our government clearly needs to enforce our existing laws.
Part of Donald Trump’s disastrous plan for a diplomatic and trade war with Mexico is to eliminate birthright citizenship, the policy that you become a citizen of the United States simply by virtue of being born here, even if your parents are not citizens. This is a proposal that enjoys wide support on the right and has since been picked up by several tag-along candidates in the Republican primaries.
It is also evidence that there are plenty of “conservatives” who want us to stick to the Constitution and time-worn legal traditions—so long as this supports the things they like. But if the Constitution and the thousand-year history of English common law get in the way of their nativist prejudices, then to heck with them.
Make no mistake, eliminating birthright citizenship would require an overthrow of established traditions. It implies a reckless urge to break down ancient legal principles without inquiring why those traditions existed in the first place. In short, it requires precisely the sort of thing conservatives are supposed to be against.
Much is being made of “anchor babies” or birthright citizenship. The tone around this issue is disturbing.
Here are some ideas to consider.
May God give us guidance on what to do and say. We know Jesus promised that God would do that.
Here are some key ideas:
Just in case you need a refresher: Back in 2012, a baker in the Denver suburb of Lakewood was asked by a gay couple to make them a wedding cake—two years before gay marriage was even legalized in Colorado. The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack Phillips, declined to participate in Charlie Craig and David Mullins’ celebration, because such an event conflicted with his Christian faith.
Here are a few things Phillips didn’t do: He didn’t query costumers about their sexual preferences. He didn’t bar same-sex couples from purchasing a cake at a place of public accommodation. He didn’t ask consumers traveling in same-sex pairs to leave his shop. He didn’t hang a ‘No Gays Allowed’ sign in his window.
What he could never have known when he first opened his shop was the celebrating gay marriages would be a precondition for making a living. And when you consider that there are at least a few dozen other bakeries within a short drive from Masterpiece Cakeshop that could have accommodated the couple’s celebratory pastry needs, why would he?
The Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4 declared that the 14th Amendment guarantees a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage, notwithstanding the fact that the amendment mentions neither sexual preference nor marriage.
The majority opinion, as one might expect given the scant evidence that the plain text of the Constitution explicitly guarantees a right to gay marriage, is a total mess. It’s tough to make a solid legal argument when you start with a conclusion — X is a good idea, therefore X is constitutional; Y is a bad idea, therefore Y is unconstitutional — and then reason backwards.
When something isn’t “unanimous”, it is instructive to see what the other side has to say. I don’t think Justice Roberts is a bigot. Continue reading
I thought the job of the President
“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” President Obama said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” Read more ….
I thought the President is supposed to enforce the law. The alternative is to change it.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”