Textbook’s version of the Second Amendment

How American history and the Constitution are taught in high schools:

The authors of United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination have taken it upon themselves to change the Constitution of the United States. The high school textbook contains a summary of each Amendment that alters the initial intent in which they were created.

The textbook notes the Second Amendment as, “The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.” [Read more...]

Why Rand Paul is suing the President

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:

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.

Doesn’t this rule out “general warrants” such as the non-particular legal power given to the NSA to monitor our cell phones and internet activities?

Senator Rand Paul thinks so, so he is suing the president. [Read more...]

The First Amendment is going out of style

According to a recent study, more and more Americans–on some issues a majority of them–no longer believe in the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.  Especially when it comes to religious freedom.

[Read more...]

Protect our rights with a police state?

My colleague Mark Mitchell feels some cognitive dissonance with the NRA’s response to gun violence in schools:

NRA president Wayne LaPierre called for a new initiative to place policemen in every school in America. It’s curious that in attempting to defend one right, the consequence is a dramatically increased police force. While I am doubtful that limiting the sale of certain guns will have any dramatic impact of gun violence, it is disappointing (though perhaps not surprising) that the best the NRA leadership can do is propose more policemen. And why stop at one policeman per school? With the size of many public schools, one police officer is simply inadequate. An officer in every hall might be a better plan. In short, we need a police state to protect our right to own all the guns we want? That’s the best idea the NRA has?

via NRA Proposes More Policemen | Front Porch Republic.

The People’s Rights Amendment

House Democrats have introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would specify that the rights guaranteed by that document apply only to individuals and not to “corporate” entities.  The intention is to undo the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows organizations to spend unlimited money on political campaigns since they have free speech.  But a “corporation” is not just a business organization.  The Amendment–introduced by Jim McGovern (D-Mass) and co-sponsored by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, 26 other Democrats, and one Republican–would have far-reaching consequences, as George Will points out:

[McGovern's]  “People’s Rights Amendment” declares that the Constitution protects only the rights of “natural persons,” not such persons organized in corporations, and that Congress can impose on corporations whatever restrictions Congress deems “reasonable.” His amendment says that it shall not be construed “to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.” But the amendment is explicitly designed to deny such rights to natural persons who, exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of association, come together in corporate entities to speak in concert.

McGovern stresses that his amendment decrees that “all corporate entities — for-profit and nonprofit alike” — have no constitutional rights. So Congress — and state legislatures and local governments — could regulate to the point of proscription political speech, or any other speech, by the Sierra Club, the National Rifle Association, NARAL Pro-Choice America or any of the other tens of thousands of nonprofit corporate advocacy groups, including political parties and campaign committees.

Newspapers, magazines, broadcasting entities, online journalism operations — and most religious institutions — are corporate entities. McGovern’s amendment would strip them of all constitutional rights. By doing so, the amendment would empower the government to do much more than proscribe speech. Ilya Somin of George Mason University Law School, writing for the Volokh Conspiracy blog, notes that government, unleashed by McGovern’s amendment, could regulate religious practices at most houses of worship, conduct whatever searches it wants, reasonable or not, of corporate entities, and seize corporate-owned property for whatever it deems public uses — without paying compensation. Yes, McGovern’s scythe would mow down the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, as well as the First.

The proposed amendment is intended to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which affirmed the right of persons to associate in corporate entities for the purpose of unrestricted collective speech independent of candidates’ campaigns. The court’s decision was foreshadowed when, in oral argument, the government’s lawyer insisted that the government could ban a 500-page book that contained one sentence that said “vote for” a particular candidate. McGovern’s amendment would confer upon Congress the power to ban publishing corporations from producing books containing political advocacy, when Congress considers a ban reasonable — never mind the amendment’s rhetoric about the “inalienable” rights people enjoy until they band together to act in corporate entities.

via Taking a scythe to the Bill of Rights – The Washington Post.


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