Danger, Danger!

It seems that the battle for liberty will never end. Even our most basic liberties, such as the rights to a fair trial, free speech, free religion, and a free press, enshrined in the US Constitution by our forward-thinking founders who feared that later generations may try to impose the yoke of tyranny on our Republic, are constantly, ceaselessly under siege. Don’t be fooled; this attack on the people does not spring solely from the outside, from freedom-hating communists and Islamists, but also from within our own ranks.

At the present moment, it is clear that many of our elected officials were lying through their teeth when they “solemnly swore” to uphold the Constitution of the United States, among which pack of tyrants is our own President! Yes, if you’ll remember from a few scattered news stories back in December, Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Year 2012, containing language authorizing the indefinite definition of American citizens without cause or trial. Sure, he claimed to have “serious reservations” about the aforementioned arrest powers, but those turned out to be false after he vigorously defended the law in court.

Back in June, I didn’t find it necessary to talk at length about NDAA or explain why our right not to be randomly seized for any reason whatsoever is absolutely sacred (it’s the difference between peace and Soviet Union-era forced labor camps), as New York District Court Judge Katharine Forrest ruled the disputed sections of the Act unconstitutional, but now, the Lil’ Stalin Act is back in play. You heard me right; Obama and his attack hounds lawyers have appealed Forrest’s decision, and for at least the next 10 days, before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals makes its own ruling on NDAA, the injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the law has been suspended.

Would this be a good time to panic? Probably not. The military’s right to indefinite detention of US citizens (and legal resident immigrants, for that matter) is so blatantly unconstitutional that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will more than likely agree with the honorable Judge Forrest. Even if the appeals court’s ruling should fail; the “Freedom 7” journalists will bring NDAA to the Supreme Court, where it will be unlikely that Obama will win given the current Court’s disposition on the right to trial (it has ruled in favor of it 3 times since 2003).

There is obviously something to fear in the current state of our habeas corpus rights; most obviously the possibility (however small) that the case against NDAA will end in a loss for our republic and its Constitution, but also the danger that draconian laws in this vein will keep coming regardless of the courts’ desire to uphold our rights.

Consider that NDAA 2012 saw a near-unanimous approval in the Senate (92-8), a huge margin of victory in the House (283-136), and was met with relatively little concern by the people. This is disconcerting. We live in an age still populated with repressive dictators (i.e. Kim Jong-Un, Vladimir Putin), and yet the people of the United States are eager to forget that the “American Freedom” that we pride ourselves on is built not by good will, not by the smiles on campaigning politicians’ faces, but by laws which narrowly restrict the authority of government officials.

Without a vigorously enforced Constitution, we might as well end up under the thumb of Big Brother, constantly in fear of being executed, jailed, or simply removed from the public. This isn’t what we need to turn to, we still live in a democratically elected system, and we as citizens have the power to take action and stop the USA from turning into the USSA. Contact your Congressman/woman. Get informed about your rights. Don’t vote for politicians who want to take away our rights, and get the word out to others so that they will do the same. Remember, if it takes 100 keys to open a door, every key counts, so no individual standing up for his/her rights is “wasting time” or “unnecessary” for the movement to succeed.

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Screw the Constitution, I am the Decider

“The Constitution means whatever we want it to.”

This sums up, in 7 words, the “living Constitution” method of Constitution “interpretation” that many judges so dearly believe in. A few weeks ago, judges Stephen Reinhardt, Michael Hawkins, and N. Randy Smith took this to heart as they declared Proposition 8, the anti-gay-marriage law in California, to be a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Let’s set a few things straight:

1) Law is not politics. This seems simple enough, but to both the casual observer and most judges, in fact, the distinction is somehow subtle. When considering whether or not a law conflicts with another law or Constitutional Amendment, the only thing to be considered is what the law says, not what it ought to say.

2) The job of a judge, in terms of judicial review, is to interpret the law, not rewrite it. It is a perversion of the rule of  law to declare/consider a law “unconstitutional” simply because you dislike its political implications.

3) The Constitution means what it says, just like any other law. A law means nothing if it is not interpreted based on the original intent of the Congress that ratified it. The opinion held among judges that it should be interpreted “to meet the needs of the current society” is not only a violation of the separation of powers (“the needs of current society” are subjective, this is basically rewriting the Constitution), but also undemocratic (since when are un-elected judges better determinants of our needs than our elected representatives?)

4) Politically, I disagree with Prop 8. I don’t think it should have passed in the California state legislature.

With that in mind…

Proposition 8 is Constitutional. The Congress that ratified the 14th Amendment would have never meant it to mean anything about gay marriage. Ever. Frankly, homosexual relationships back then were illegal. We may look at the 14th and say “Well, it says ‘equal protection for all’, literally”.

Let’s get one more thing straight: The meaning of any sentence, any word, is not vested in the meaning of the word. The literal connotations of words, sentences, or Constitutional Amendments change over time. Thomas Jefferson saw no conflict in saying that “All men are created equal” while owning slaves. Similarly, the words “equal protection under the law” didn’t have the same connotations back then as they do today. The 14th gave all citizens the rights vested in the Constitution, but not equal protection under every law. If they had actually meant “equal protection”, it would have given women the right to vote, but judging by the 52-year gap between the 14th and women’s suffrage, I don’t think they meant what we think when we say “equal protection”.

If you’re looking for a law that codifies equal protection, that would be the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, Prop 8 doesn’t conflict with that statute either. All it does is prevent any individual from marrying someone of the same sex, gay or straight. There’s no “unequal protection” involved.

However, why am I talking about this?

It’s not because I want to stop gay marriage or anything, it’s because I want to preserve the Constitution. If judges can rule that the Constitution means whatever they want it to, then soon enough, nothing in the Constitution will mean anything. That includes freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, protection from torture, the whole kit-and-caboodle.

Judges do not dictate natural law. If you want to wage war on Prop. 8, do it in the ballots, that is the way it is properly done in a free and democratic society.