Can Federal Judges Alter the Constitution? by Andrew Napolitano

Judges aren’t supposed to be able to alter the Constitution, but they’ve done so repeatedly, such that much of that document has little relation to its original intended meaning. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

“No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” — Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Last year, a detainee at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, filed a writ of habeas corpus in a federal district court in Washington, D.C. — to which all cases from Guantanamo have been assigned — and it was denied because he was not in the United States.

A writ of habeas corpus is the ancient individual right of every person confined by the government to require the government to justify the confinement under the law to a neutral judge. That right is guaranteed by the Constitution. This is so because the framers, who knew of summary incarceration by British authorities, made certain that the new government here could not treat any persons as the British government had treated the colonists.

One of the arguments that the British government had made was that the rights of Englishmen — which included the right of habeas corpus — only applied to persons in England. So the framers included language in the Constitution that prohibited the suspension of the right except in cases of rebellion or invasion of such magnitude that the courts could not sit. Like most rights in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution does not grant the right of habeas corpus — which comes from our humanity — but prohibits the denial of it.

Continue reading→

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.