Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, March 22, 2013

What If They Were to Adopt the Bill of Rights Today?

What would happen if the Bill of Rights were being debated today?

Let's take a look!
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
Oh, this is not going to happen. At best, the right to exercise freedom of religion would be limited to Jews and Christians. Keep in mind that there are some Christian sects which do not hold Catholics or Mormons to be Christians, so you guys would be as screwed as if you were Satanists.
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
That's gone. The Right will never settle for letting those pesky reporters print whatever they want.
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Gone, gone, gone. The cops don't like demonstrations and the very last thing the professional politicians want is to see the proles buttonholing them at work. If the politicians had their secret wish, anyone not displaying a valid Capitol/Statehouse ID would be summarily shot.
Amendment II

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.
This one is gone, Gone, GONE! The last thing that the politicians and the professional bureaucrats want to see is any hint that the government doesn't hold a monopoly on the use of force. The cops would greatly oppose the idea that people had a right to own anything more powerful than an air rifle.
Amendment III

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.
Nope. Why do you hate our military? If they want to use your home for a residence, you should let them, you unpatriotic fiend!
Amendment IV

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.
This'll be gone faster than any hint of humanity on the part of Antonin Scalia. The "law-and-order" crowd will chant the mantra of police states everywhere: "If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear/hide." Though in reality, this one is almost dead anyway. The courts have largely written your cars out of the 4th Amendment. And if you are within 100 miles of a border, you are in a "Constitution free zone" and they'll search you and your car with or without probable cause.
Amendment V

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;
Definitely out. The War on Terror has had the government holding people for years without charges. For awhile, they were classifying anyone they wanted to detain as a "material witness" and holding them without charges. And if there is anything that prosecutors would love to see stricken, it is the double jeopardy provision.
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
As commenters, below, have pointed out (and I neglected to), it is now settled law that government can take your property from you so that a large corporation can make even more money.
Amendment VI

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.
Oh, they'd love to get rid of the jury trial and the right to counsel. After all, if the cops arrested someone, they have to be guilty of something, right? And they'd certainly not want to see lawyers cluttering up the process of speeding people to Old Sparky. Not to mention that the last thing the prosecutors want to do is be made to turn over exculpatory evidence (a lot of the time, they don't, anyway, Supreme Court be damned). This'll be gone as well.
Amendment VII

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.
This one is kind of dead, anyway. Appeals courts routinely re-examine the facts of a case to correct where they think the jury erred. Even though it was the jury which heard the witnesses and saw the exhibits, when all the appellate court sees is a written transcript, they seem to feel better qualified to step into the shoes of the jury.
Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Another casualty of the Great War on Terror, this one is gone. "Enhanced coercive interrogation techniques", "refined interrogation techniques", "sharp questioning" and "special methods of questioning" are all the order of the day, now.

Actually, that's not all true. Two of those terms were used by the CIA and the Bush Administration, two of those terms were used by the Gestapo. But I digress.
Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

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 two will be scrapped. The new Framers would assert that the Federal government is the supreme government, so they can do everything. And they will also take the same position as some power-mad pissant zoning board, that "Anything that is not expressly permitted is prohibited."

So there you have it. If the Bill of Rights came up for discussion in this century, none of them would get enough votes to even make it out of committee.

6 comments:

The New York Crank said...

Well, at least we'll still have the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition. So even though I've lost most of my rights, I'll still exercise my right to have a double this time, bartender. And please, don't dilute it again with olives.

Very crankily yours,
The New York 'hic Crank

bearsense said...

Comrade EB - - Article V - - you left out the "if walmart wants to build a mega store, we can take your house" (or similar) ruling.
Great observation.

Anonymous said...

Here are people who challenge that constitution free zone.

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/03/22/viral-disobedience/

w3ski said...

I really think the "founders" had a great idea to begin with. They even tried to keep us from mucking it up. It's too bad that mostly Greed has brought us to where we are now.
w3ski

Unknown said...

Great posting making clear that the 2nd is not the only Amendment under attack, Comrade.

I'd like to add a few comments to highlight further evisceration of 3 of our "quaint" and "obsolete" Rights:

4th Amendment

The functional nullification of our 4th Amendment rights is in the warrantless scanning of nearly all phone calls, emails, internet searches and posts (all being computer searched for key words) and the ever-more-ubiquitous surveillance cameras feeding through face and pattern recognition software. In all these cases, when the software identifies something "suspicious," it notifies an actual police-state enforcer to pay attention.

5th Amendment
"Enhanced interrogation methods" effectively mock the right to avoid self-incrimination.

6th Amendment
The clause currently rendered meaningless is the habeas corpus requirement for the state to provide the accused with the charges and evidence, and to be able to confront witnesses for the prosecution. Indefinite detention without charges and evidence and witnesses shielded by "national security concerns" render the 6th meaningless.


Unknown said...

Great posting making clear that the 2nd is not the only Amendment under attack, Comrade.

I'd like to add a few comments to highlight further evisceration of 3 of our "quaint" and "obsolete" Rights:

4th Amendment

The functional nullification of our 4th Amendment rights is in the warrantless scanning of nearly all phone calls, emails, internet searches and posts (all being computer searched for key words) and the ever-more-ubiquitous surveillance cameras feeding through face and pattern recognition software. In all these cases, when the software identifies something "suspicious," it notifies an actual police-state enforcer to pay attention.

5th Amendment
"Enhanced interrogation methods" effectively mock the right to avoid self-incrimination.

6th Amendment
The clause currently rendered meaningless is the habeas corpus requirement for the state to provide the accused with the charges and evidence, and to be able to confront witnesses for the prosecution. Indefinite detention without charges and evidence and witnesses shielded by "national security concerns" render the 6th meaningless.