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BS: Constitutional Guarantees

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Don Firth 19 Feb 03 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Forum Lurker 19 Feb 03 - 01:35 PM
Amos 19 Feb 03 - 01:52 PM
DougR 19 Feb 03 - 03:46 PM
Amos 19 Feb 03 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Forum Lurker 19 Feb 03 - 04:23 PM
Don Firth 19 Feb 03 - 04:33 PM
Greg F. 19 Feb 03 - 04:36 PM
Oldguy 19 Feb 03 - 04:51 PM
Don Firth 19 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM
beadie 19 Feb 03 - 05:25 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 03 - 05:35 PM
Oldguy 19 Feb 03 - 05:48 PM
Amos 19 Feb 03 - 06:35 PM
artbrooks 19 Feb 03 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,Forum Lurker 19 Feb 03 - 08:14 PM
beadie 19 Feb 03 - 08:35 PM
Cornflake 19 Feb 03 - 09:34 PM
Forum Lurker 19 Feb 03 - 10:34 PM
NicoleC 20 Feb 03 - 12:48 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 03 - 01:06 AM
NicoleC 20 Feb 03 - 01:43 AM
GUEST,The Hated Guest 20 Feb 03 - 03:02 AM
Troll 20 Feb 03 - 03:06 AM
Greg F. 20 Feb 03 - 09:57 AM
Amos 20 Feb 03 - 10:45 AM
Mark Clark 20 Feb 03 - 11:28 AM
NicoleC 20 Feb 03 - 12:23 PM
Don Firth 20 Feb 03 - 01:09 PM
Bobert 20 Feb 03 - 01:55 PM
Mark Clark 20 Feb 03 - 03:18 PM
Troll 20 Feb 03 - 03:38 PM
Kim C 20 Feb 03 - 03:47 PM
Greg F. 20 Feb 03 - 05:42 PM
Forum Lurker 20 Feb 03 - 05:50 PM
Bobert 20 Feb 03 - 06:52 PM
Forum Lurker 20 Feb 03 - 08:36 PM
Barry Finn 20 Feb 03 - 09:20 PM
Bobert 20 Feb 03 - 09:32 PM
Forum Lurker 20 Feb 03 - 09:54 PM
Don Firth 20 Feb 03 - 10:40 PM
NicoleC 20 Feb 03 - 10:52 PM
Forum Lurker 20 Feb 03 - 11:09 PM
Bobert 20 Feb 03 - 11:20 PM
Forum Lurker 20 Feb 03 - 11:23 PM
Deckman 21 Feb 03 - 07:37 AM
Mark Clark 21 Feb 03 - 11:52 AM
Cornflake 21 Feb 03 - 07:45 PM
Don Firth 22 Feb 03 - 03:27 PM
Cornflake 22 Feb 03 - 07:18 PM

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Subject: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:20 PM

I start this thread with reluctance, because there are already too many threads about the situations that we find ourselves in with Iraq and North Korea. It's my intention that this thread be confined in its subject to the question of internal security within the United States and the matter of the Patriot Act, the pending Patriot Act II, and Homeland Security legislation and its possible implications. Those who have read my comments on other threads will know that I am deeply concerned about the current status of the Constitution and its future.

I am currently listening to a locally produced discussion on my local NPR affiliate about the pending Patriot Act II, and I must admit that I am appalled. Yet, there are hopeful signs in today's newspapers—at least, in the Seattle Times. One story is about airport security concerns HERE. And the other is about a Seattle City Council resolution HERE.

I am curious to know: are there similar expressions of concern in other cities and communities in the United States? I would like to think so. It reassures me that I am not the only one who is concerned about the erosion of the Constitution that has taken place recently.

By the way, if anyone has any doubts about what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Constitution, THIS website contains quotes from a number of people, including a couple from said FFs. Better still: get a copy of the Constitution and read it. Perhaps one quote (not from the Constitution, but it seems to sum up the general thrust of the Bill of Rights) comes from Benjamin Franklin:—
Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty.
Please, let us not use this thread to talk about Iraq and North Korea. Let's confine it to matters of our Constitutional guarantees.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: GUEST,Forum Lurker
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:35 PM

I applaud the Seattle city council. It's good to know that somewhere in the country are elected officials whe are genuinely concerned with their constituents' well-being. Unfortunately, such expressions are rather rare. I haven't seen a single one in Minnesota.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:52 PM

ACLU has an excellent paper on this issue, Don, called "Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains", which examines several aspects of the erosion of consitutional provisions and their ramifications in the face of accelerating technologies of surveillance. It is probably available at their web site, or I can send you a copy if you PM me an email address. Or anyone else who wants one.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: DougR
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:46 PM

Don: I was just so bloody pleased to see that the thread was started by a real live Mudcat member. I truly expected to see "Guest" when I tuned in.

Not to worry about the Patriot Act Don. If it passes, and is signed into law there will be ample safeguards built in.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:51 PM

Doug:

I don't thiiiiink so!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: GUEST,Forum Lurker
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:23 PM

Yeah, DougR, like the ample safeguards built into the first one.


Oh, wait. That's right. There weren't any.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:33 PM

Doug, I want to see those safeguards in print. My understanding is that these supposed national security acts do not contain "sunset clauses," and at the points were they appear to, the time limit is unspecific enough to allow them to stay in force indefinitely. Not good enough!

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. And that means here at home, too. Tyranny can crawl in through the tiniest of cracks, as Germany learned in 1933. Once in the history of the world is more than enough.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Greg F.
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:36 PM

Yup, just like the safeguards built into the Dies Committee and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer's activities.

Come to think of it, Ashcroft is a worthy successor to the Palmer legacy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Oldguy
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:51 PM

I think it says in the Constitution that Congress has the right pass these acts.

The people can control Congress by voting for whomever they want to represent then in Congress.

If someone is unsatisfied with the acts, why don't they get a petition together and get the majority of the people in their area to sign it and present it to their representative? They can't ignore it.

I am satisfied with these acts but if the majority of the citizens are against them I will go with the majority.

Old Guy


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM

Could you cite where the Constitution says this?

Don Firth
(I will be off-line for awhile, but I will check back with my copy of the Constitution in hand.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: beadie
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 05:25 PM

Old Guy:

True, Congress can pass any act it wants to, and the President might even sign it. But, the right of the Courts, particularly the Supreme Court, to declare an act as being counter to the meaning and intent of the Constitution has been accepted law since the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson as defined by Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of Marbury vs Madison.

Just because Congress passes it don't make it right or consitutional.

Still, the basic premiss of your post is accurate and admirable, . . . . vote the suckers out who won't listen to the people instead of the monied special interests and the almighty party.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 05:35 PM

This link has a prepared resolution like the one probably passed in Seattle:

Resolution

If you go to that page, at the top, there's a CLICK HERE link with info on cities which HAVE passed or are CONSIDERING passage of the anti-PATRIOT Act resolutions. Basically, local govts are sending notice to the feds that the local cops will not go along with the un-Constitutional actions outlined in the PATRIOT Act. Lots of links on the second page.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Oldguy
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 05:48 PM

beadie:

I think the declaration thing is under test right now. Someone is suing George Bush for not declaring war.

If there is anything wrong with the election process it is election money from big business, lobbyists and special interest groups.

If there is any one part of the constitution that must be preserved at all costs it is the right to bear arms.

It seems to me that the anti war protestors are of the same ilk as the "outlaw guns" group. I doubt that all of them are but I am under the impression that most of them are. I think that impression of them also tends to isolate them.

Old Guy


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 06:35 PM

The right to unhindered free assembly and open free communication is even more vital than the right to bear arms, IMHO!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: artbrooks
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 07:19 PM

According to the Bill of Rights, the right to "keep and bear arms" is in the context of the need to have "a well regulated militia." Title 10 US Code, Part A.I.13.311 defines "militia," and distinguishes between the "organized" and "unorganized" militia. Since, IMHO, unorganized is inconsistent with well-regulated, it would be reasonable to consider that the 2nd Amendment only applies to those in the organized militia. This is specifically defined as: the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia...so, if you want to "keep and bear arms", go join the Guard!


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: GUEST,Forum Lurker
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 08:14 PM

The Constitution is quite clear on what constitutes a "well-regulated militia." It means an armed force run by the state, not the federal government. This is exactly what the National Guard was intended to be. If you feel that the Guard is overly influenced by the federal government, that's an issue for you to take up with your senator. It doesn't give you the right to constitute your own militia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: beadie
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 08:35 PM

Personally, I support the right to keep and arm bears.

And, Old Guy, you may be right about the gun banners being among the group. But, I have also noted that there are representatives from damn near every single-issue political cadre out there demonstrating (at least here in the midwest). I've seen right-to-lifers and pro-choicers (not necessarily standing real close to one another, but they're there). There have been VPs from corporate America and folks showing up on their way home from the unemployment office. Students and city truck drivers. I think that this threatened war has (as was the case in many of the later Vietnam protests) made some very strange bedfellows, indeed.

I expect that you are also correct in saying that someone is suing the Pres. for waging an undeclared war. Unfortunately, the political forces on the Courts, while not as evident and easily read (save for the 2000 case of electile dysfunction), do have an effect and have done so in every case since the War Powers act was passed when presidents went ahead without the benefit of Congressional a mandate.

Fact is, I think that WW II was the last formally declared war, and how many "conflicts," "police actions," and "rescue missions" have we been in since? I imagine that every one of them, at least since the end of the VN war, caused someone enough distress to get them to file a suit against "the Man." And all were thrown out by courts that were unwilling to challenge the President, even if they may have believed privately that the suits had merit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Cornflake
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 09:34 PM

As a long-time ACLU-er, I certainly agree that there is cause for concern. Not to start a ruckus, but liberals and conservatives alike who care about the constitution are troubled by the idea that one individual (i.e., Mr. Bush) can start a war...a notion as foreign to the drafters of our Constitution as is imaginable. And that's before we get to individual rights. It's going to be a challenging time if you care about civil liberties.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 10:34 PM

The part that troubles me about it is that congress is explicitly ceding its rights to the executive branch. Given how many states' rights have already been ceded to the federal government, there's a lot more power in one person than was ever envisioned by the framers, and I'm tempted to say more than in any other true democracy in history.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: NicoleC
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:48 AM

(BTW, glad to see you registered, too, Lurker.)

My new mantra -- Less representation, more democracy!


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:06 AM

NicoleC how about---less taxation, less representation, more democracy.
When the Constitution was penned, the militia was every able-bodied freeholder. There was no state military save those regiments raised for the purpose of defense and they had a limited life (one year?)The Founding Fathers could not have meant something like the National Guard since no such thing existed. The "well regulated" part simply meant that they had some simple structure and met a few times a year to drill and elect- yes, elect- new officers if it was deemed necessary.
I never cease to be amazed at the way people will try to take away everyones guns while waxing poetic about the right of free speech. Do they think that one article of the Bill of Rights is more important than another?
If the Second goes, how long before the First follows?

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: NicoleC
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:43 AM

Well, Troll, I'm not in favor of outlawing guns. I do think, however, that folks who try to interpret the 2nd Amendment as being carte blanche to own as many guns as you can afford are not worried so much about civil liberties as they are about trying to keep the guns they own. Guess which key phrase of the second amendment is always left out of "quotations" of the amendment by the NRA?

I personally agree with the organized militia interpretation. But I see no reason why any law abiding group can't form their own militia, provided it meets the test of being well organized.

If it were up to me (and it isn't)...

I view gun ownership as a public safety issue as well as a civil liberty issue. Hence, I would require a safety test and license much like a driver's license. You can own a car without having a license to drive one in public -- and you can drive it on your own private property without a license. Unlike cars, however, guns can easily pass the threshold of public property (and kill in the process, even accidentally) and can be easily hidden, so they have to be treated a bit differently in the interest of public safety.

Take a safety course, pass the test, get the license, and then it's not any business of the government how many or what kinds of guns you own, excepting those models which are clearly a public safety hazard. (Fully automatic machines guns come to mind.) A court can revoke your license if you are convicted of a violent crime, which is a clear example of being in the public interest. Otherwise... I gotta side with the concept that it's just not a power that the government should hold in a free society to relatively arbitrarily decide who can anc cannot own a gun of whatever type.

Most liberals will disagree with me, but I daresay most responsible gun owners would be delighted with the safety license requirement, because it seems like they take all the flack everytime some idiot leaves a gun out where his 10 year old can get to it.

But to me, there's no justification for denying the priviledge of gun ownership, save that which is clearly and explicitly in the public interest.

(And I'm in favor of a non-progressive, non-regressive, flat tax for everyone above the poverty level for ANY kind of income with no deductions, but that's another philosophical discussion.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: GUEST,The Hated Guest
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:02 AM

The well-regulated militia in my area is all adults. When the sheriff calls for deputies, we have to be ready to respond. Civic duty. That is what the framers of the Constitution meant. Nothing more, nothing less. Citizen army capable of fighting off a threat...which requires ownership of guns. So you keep guns secured and ready for use and go about your life, and no one would dare invade with a military AND a fall-back of fully-armed citizens. Perfect.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Troll
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:06 AM

NicoleC, cars kill many more people than guns do each year in this country but your point is well taken.
I'm in favor of a national sales tax myself.
Hated Guest, works for me.

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Greg F.
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:57 AM

Yessiree, Troll, glad you used the car analogy. Very apt.

Each and every vehicle has to be registered and insured, meet minimum satety and mechanical requirements thru periodic inspections, and can legally be operated only by licensed individuals meeting minimum standards.

If the US applied even half the amount of care to those allowed to possess firearms as it does to motor vehicle, it wouldnt have the higest firearm death rare per capita in the world.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Amos
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:45 AM

The far more critical issue is the general transmogrification of the nation from a sane political footing...the core provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights...to a kind of corporate sledgehammer managed by those who treat it like a corporate office replete with interoffice politics, sneaky power manipulations and rules based on the sole criterion of profit, having no endurance otherwise. That is the disgrace we've been led into by the high-level immorality we laughingly call leadership, and it is truly disgusting in its fetid ignorance and its ham-handed self-serving dramatizations.

That's my opinion, anyway.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:28 AM

Okay, this is going to sound really stupid but I'm going to ask the question anyway.

The U.S. Constitution, which includes the ammendments known as The Bill of Rights, has—as far as I know—no provision for passing laws that are in conflict with it. A change in the constitution requires a formal process of ammendment. Of course laws do get passed that conflict with the Constitution and when these become subject to judicial review they generally get struck down. Of course judge's interpretation of the intent of the Constitution can vary, especially if there is no legal precedent to guide them. Still, Supreme Court judges write lengthy opinions on their decisions that are based upon defensible legal arguments, not simply political philosophy. Even a conservative justice is capable of writing an opinion that goes against conservative interests if that is where the legal arguments lead him. Eisenhower discovered this after appointing Earl Warren. I have no doubt that liberal justices have written opinions in opposition to liberal interests as well.

Why, then, should we believe that the judiciary is now so broken that it can no longer be counted on to recognize when a law is unconstitutional? Do we now believe that the Supreme Court Justices have lost all integrity?

Just asking.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: NicoleC
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:23 PM

Because:

1) Judiciary positions are political appointees. They've become political animals instead of the objective thoughtful judges we need, and the more we have who use the judiciary as a pulpit to perpetuate their personal political opinion in order to advance their career.

2) The Supreme Court, being a lifetime appointment, is supposed to free judges from political pressure -- but in order to get there, they are already affected by point #1. In addition, the S.C. does not make all judgements of Constitutional law, it is merely the court with the most authority, and as such only reviews Constitutional questions.

3) The courts don't get to review every law -- only those which go through the judiciary process.

4) Because the US is under common law, the precedent of those opinions is as important as the law itself. So if an unconstitutional law gets upheld by a court for political reasons, it will be perpetuated. Under common law, the law is a living entity that can slowly evolve with the times and public opinion -- for better or worse.

In theory, yes, the courts will strike down an unconstitutional law. And frequently, they do. But often these political hot potatoes are upheld until long after the damage is done -- like the internship of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Lincoln's military courts.

On the car/gun thing, I agree. We license cars for safety because they are deadly items. Unlike guns, however, another car driver on the road at least has safety devices to protect him from poorly-driven cars or accidents.

It's true that people use guns to commit crimes, but more people die of accidental gun deaths than criminal activity. Why do we give carte blanche to anyone to own a gun without taking reasonable precautions that they know how to treat it in a responsible manner? It's a positive action we can take that won't infringe on the rights of those who DO use guns in a thoughtful manner for recreation or self-defense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:09 PM

Article VI, paragraph 2 of the Constitution states the following:
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, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
Which is to say that any law passed by the Federal Government or any State legislature which is inconsistent with the Constitution is, by definition, unconstitutional, and therefore, not the supreme law of the land. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to determine if any given law or act meets the test of consistency.

I seriously question the integrity of some decisions made within recent years. One would hope that any given Supreme Court justice would have some regard for his or her place in history. One thing that should tend to keep them honest is that their opinions become part of the permanent record.   They should be very aware that history will judge them for their judgments.

Don Firth

P. S: Considering the heat usually generated by discussions of the Second Amendment, the intensity and volume with which people discuss it, the fact that this issue has been and will continue to be argued with great vigor—and—the fact that just about anything that can be said about it has already been said many times over, I'm afraid that if we use this thread to leap on this particular hobby horse and ride it to death, it will eclipse discussions of other, not so frequently discussed Constitutional issues which are especially important in the light of current events. Please?


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:55 PM

Like I've pointed out on many occasions, this current Supreme Court and the one most surely following it with Bush appointing maybe two conservative judges will back Bush and the Repubs 5-4 until the cows come home!

Lets get real about this grave situation.

In these days when BUsh is blah-blah-blahing about carity and faith based initiatives, a good American born citizen could donate a blanket of coat to a group that Johnny Ashcroft doesn't like and this same good citizen could end up arrested and detained with out charges, or a lawyer and be thrown out of George Bush's America.

That is the reality. This is a horrible bill that every American, Repb, Dem, Green, Yellow of Blue should be against!

Anyone else beginning to think that Bush doesn't plan on giving back the country that he and his lawyers stole?

Hmmmmm?

Resist the shedding of the Bill of Rights, especially the 1st, 4th and 5th that are no under seige.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:18 PM

I remain totally opposed to the PATRIOT Act and it's successor(s). I also remain opposed to the idea of having the Bushies in charge of anything whatever. I also agree that Supreme Court appointments are often politically motivated. But given all of that, I'm not sure I believe that individual Justices are without integrity.

Do the Bushies lack integrity? Of course, no question. Do most lawmakers lack integrity? So it would seem. Does that mean that the Supreme Court Justices won't uphold the U.S. Constitution? I'm not sure I think that necessarily follows.

Just as a lame-duck President works to mend his legacy and frame the historical view of his presidency, a Supreme Court Justice—whose name will be forgotton long before the President who appointed him—must define his historical legacy. That legacy must be defined in terms of the legal basis for his opinions as judged when the heat of petty political squables has long cooled. If SCJs aren't rememberd in the great law schools, they really served no purpose at all.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Troll
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:38 PM

GregF, I thought you'd like the car example. Now tell me this. If you kill someone with a gun you get 20 to life with no parole or maybe even the chair. Get likkered up and wipe out a family on the freeway and you get maybe 5 with time off for good behavior.
Why is that?
Is the fact that a car was the murder weapon more mitigating than if a gun was used? Are the victims any less dead? Is the murderer somehow less guilty than he would have been if an EVIL GUN was used instead of the good old comfortable family sedan.
Do the survivors say things like "Your kid was only run over by a Ford; my kid got hit by a MERCEDES. I don't feel nearly as threatened by my neighbors guns as I do by his driving that behemoth he calls a car when he's been drinking.
These are just my ramblings on a very complex subject, but I do wonder.

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Kim C
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:47 PM

I guess one has to define what is an "unreasonable" search and seizure.

Is it unreasonable for the airport to want me to put my purse in an x-ray machine? I don't suppose so. Is it unreasonable for them to take away someone's nail clippers? Well, really now, when was the last time you were threatened by someone with nail clippers?

Is it unreasonable for them to want to know what's in my luggage? I don't know. Hasn't Customs been doing that for years? Is it unreasonable for them to pull a vibrator from someone's luggage, hold it aloft in front of God & everybody, and make the owner turn it on to make sure it's not a detonation device? Well..... yeah, that seems a little unreasonable to me. Again, when was the last time you heard of someone blowing up a building with a sex toy? (no, this didn't happen to me, but a few months ago it was in the news as happening to at least one person)

I thought the quote about liberty requiring responsibility was an excellent one. Liberty does require responsibility as well as common sense. I think sometimes we lose sight of that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Greg F.
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 05:42 PM

Because, Troll, the system is fucked up. This is news? The drunk in the car should get the 20 year sentance. Why not join one of the anti-drunk driving groups & help get the word out& get people educated?

None of which makes the approach to gun ownership any less irresponsible.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 05:50 PM

Troll, it's mostly because drunk driving is considered manslaughter. When someone deliberately runs someone over with their car, they get 20 to life. The fact that vehicular homicide gets fewer repeat offenders than first degree murder also plays a part. The court is less concerned that you will kill again (I'm not sure why, given the number of repeat offenses for drunk driving, but there you have it).


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 06:52 PM

Mark:

I hope you're right. This Supreme Court is considered a "stick constructionist" court but they almost wrote law in deciding that Bush won the election in Bush v Gore in writing that Bush could be damaged by... ahhhhh... the truth. That one scared me. Talk about an activist court, that Bush complains about all the time. If it weren't for the activism of this Court, he'd be back in Texas.

That's why I'm seeing a lot of 5-4's. The first test will be Afirmative Action. Granted, it may have it's flaws, but for a Supreme Court to find justification to kill it, when it has been upheld in other courts would take a stretch on their part, something that strict construstionists generally don't do....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:36 PM

Not really that much of a stretch. The strict letter of the amendment prohibits ALL discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or skin color, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:20 PM

Unreasonable search & seizure is the way it sounds. If no real reason is presented to warrant a search then a search like this would be deemd unreasonable & a warrant not issued of signed off on. This amendment (along with some of our other amendments) has recently been torn up & tossed out with the morning after's trash without so much as a peep). I believe in the Patriot Act 2 this will be dealt with again. Under the new act no reason need be given, there is no one who has to authorize the warrant, it just happens no questions if it's for national security (another name for domestic spying). Also under this new act, if it happens, (I believe section 501)if one is found to have violated this act their citzenship (doesn't matter if you were born here or not) can be stripped. A person with no orgin & no citizenship cannot be deported to a place of non existence. This flies in the face of international law. The internet will be watched 24/7 (along with you & I) & nothing about you will be private anymore. Welcome to a dark new world. Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:32 PM

FL: It's just when the SC goes about overturning lower court decisions that raises the red flag. Strick interpretation is easy as pie, except that our nation of laws has bent and swayed to accomodate society's never ending needs. You are correct, Lurker, that, stricktly interprested, AA goes down. So does Roe v. Wade. And Miranda. And Brown v. Board of Eductaion... Where does it stop? And do we really want to live in that America?

Heck, the Founders could not possibly see 13 year olds going to school with assault rifels either.

It comes down to just how civilized a people we want to be. Sure, just about every SC decision for the last 100 years could be taken out but what kind of America would be left. Hmmmmmm?

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:54 PM

How do Miranda and Brown v. Board of Education go down? They are both reiterations, not interpretations, of the rights guaranteed. As far as Roe v. Wade, the actual legal basis stated in the decision is not derivable from the Constitution, but the final decision can be. There is no guaranteed right to privacy, but there is a right not to have one's person interfered with. There are a lot of decisions which shoud remain, and just as many which shouldn't. Gideon, which guaranteed right to effective counsel, has been effectively overturned by decisions which stated that an attorney could be effective counsel if he was drunk or asleep in court. That could certainly be overturned. There are many things about the original framework that weren't so bad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:40 PM

"There is no guaranteed right to privacy. . . ." Well, I dunno, FL.
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.
I have heard that statement before. Granted, the word "privacy" doesn't actually appear, but when you sum up the above stipulations, that looks like a guaranteed right to privacy to me. Do you know of any legal opinions or rulings that say otherwise? I'm curious.   

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: NicoleC
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:52 PM

Don, there are numerous court rulings starting in the 1800's that agree with your interpretation, and say exactly why -- namely that privacy is the end product of several amendments.

The courts continue to uphold "privacy" as an essential component to the guarentee of liberty in the 14th Amendment -- the question is simply, how much liberty, and in relation to what activities.

And an article on the subject from those fine folks at FindLaw.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:09 PM

That is the current interpretation, and one which has been fairly popular in the past. However, it only actually provides the right not to have one's property searched or eized without probable cause. It says nothing whatsoever about communications privacy. While it can, and certainly will, be argued that letters are a form of possession, it's not quite so definite when it comes to electronic media. There have been no legal rulings stating that electronic communications are not guaranteed inviolable yet, but the case could easily be made. Only those rights which are explicitly guaranteed are solid, and even then, an amendment can overturn them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:20 PM

Yo, FL. You have used "current interpretation" twice in you rebuttals. I rest my case....

Bobert

Hmmmmmmm? "Current interpretations"???????????


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:23 PM

Just because the last time a Supreme Court heard a case, the final decision went one way, doesn't set that interpretation in stone. Courts have reversed ach other, and on occasion, themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Deckman
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 07:37 AM

Don ... There you go again, trying to cause me to think! I sure wish you would stop it. This is all reminding me of what we went through in the fifties with the McCarthy hearings and the communist witch hunts. To me, Ashcroft IS VERY scary. Especially when you look at his Pentecostal background. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Mark Clark
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:52 AM

Bobert, I certainly agree that “The Supremes” need close watching. And as outrageous as it was to have them, in effect, appoint a man who had not been elected to the office of President, I think Al Gore and his organization are as much to blame for the disaster. If they had had any guts and focus at all, they would have insisted on a complete recount of Florida ballots and Gore would be in the White House today. Gore's actions during the election crisis leave me doubtful that his victory would have left the country in any better shape. The great tragedy of modern politics is that we always seem to be choosing between the lesser of two weevils.

I'm not sure I fear strict constructionism per se. It may be better in the long term to actually ammend the Constitution to clarify our legal intention than to bend it with the political current. In the former case, the rule of law remains constant. In the later case, the rule of law is left dangling in the pollitical wind. I personally tend to favor policies in left-liberal to radical range of the spectrum but I remain committed to the democratic principal of majority rule. If I can't make my case understood and accepted by the majority, maybe I've still got some work to do.

Of course democracy depends on an informed electorate which in turn depends on a free press… but that is another discussion altogether.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Cornflake
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 07:45 PM

Federal courts have developed various doctrines pursuant to which they decline to decide some issues, including constitutional issues. My vague recollection is that they used one of those doctrines in the Vietnam era to avoid deciding whether a President could wage war except on an emergency basis without a declaration from the Congress. The evidence is overwhelming that the drafters of the Constitution did not intend for that to happen; but if the courts won't address the issue, it can happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 03:27 PM

Separation of powers. The Constitution sets up a strict division between the three branches of government, classifying governmental powers as executive, legislative, and judicial and entrusting the performance of each power to a separate agency. The complaint of many individuals and agencies in government, when they wish to assume a power that is assigned to another branch, is that this separation of powers is a failure of the system. They complain that it is diffused, confused, unduly complex, overly-cumbersome, and the cause of delays in the functioning of government. Members of one branch often attempt to usurp powers of another branch, or to persuade that branch to cede certain of their powers (such as the President asking Congress to give up its responsibility and allow him to decide if and when to go to war). If one branch does cede its powers to another, it acts un-Constitutionally. The separation of powers specified in the Constitution is one of the safeguards against the constant press of tyranny foreseen by the Founding Fathers, and any branch which cedes its powers to another does so at the peril of the nation as a whole.
If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in a particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way in which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for although this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.
                                                                                                                                    -- George Washington
Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Constitutional Guarantees
From: Cornflake
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 07:18 PM

Well put, Don. I respect the opinions of those who think that the circumstances justify a war, even though I vehemently disagree. When I hear someone say that we should shut up and support whatever the President decides to do in this regard, however, that drives me nuts. That attitude doesn't express patriotism. It basically turns the American Revolution on its head, abdicates the responsibility of the citizenry and ignores the distribution of powers in the Constitution, where it was contemplated that Congress would make such decisions.

Not that I feel strongly about this or anything....


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