Tag Archives: Constitution

After 2-Year Legal Battle, School Lets Students Pass Out US Constitutions, by Celine Ryan

You’d better not let college students read the Constitution. Next thing you know they might be reading the Declaration of Independence and other ancient documents and tomes, and they might start wondering why present-day government bears no resemblance at all to that contemplated in those writings. SLL has a new hero: Kevin Shaw. From Celine Ryan at campusreform.org:

  • Pierce College instructed student Kevin Shaw, who was handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution, that he must use the school’s “free speech zone.”
  • The student sued the college and, two years later, the school has abolished its “free speech zone” policy.

After a two-year battle, the Los Angeles Community College District has agreed to abolish a policy that limited student expression to “free speech zones,” available only through application.

Pierce College student Kevin Shaw was handing out Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution in November 2016 when an administrator told him that he would have to confine his activity to the school’s “free speech zone.” The school told Shaw that he would have to apply for access to the 616-square foot zone and that his failure to comply would result in his removal from campus.

After the incident, Shaw sued the school for violating his First Amendment rights with the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The Department of Justice then filed a statement in support of his case.

[RELATED: DOJ supports student fighting for First Amendment rights]

Pierce College filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in January 2018 but a California district court ultimately rejected the school’s assertion that the public campus was a “non-public forum.”

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Community College District agreed to settle the lawsuit, as well as to revoke the unconstitutional policy that recognized all campuses within the district as “non-public forums,” effectively removing free speech restrictions placed on 150,000 students, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

“I wish it hadn’t taken two years for my school to conclude I had a right to free expression,” Shaw told Campus Reform. “All the same, I’m thankful to know future students won’t have to worry about being harassed for expressing political opinions.”

“I wish it hadn’t taken two years for my school to conclude I had a right to free expression”   

[RELATED: Florida joins push to outlaw ‘free speech zones’ on campus]

“More than two years ago, administrators wrongly told Kevin he was not allowed to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution in the center of his public college campus,” FIRE Director of Litigation Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon said in a statement. “He’s been standing up for his First Amendment rights every day since, and in the process has vindicated the rights of every student in the district.”

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Why The Senate Vote to End Yemen War is So Important, by Ron Paul

Will Congress try to take back its war-making power? From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Last week something historic happened in the US Senate. For the first time in 45 years, a chamber of the US Congress voted to pull US forces from a military conflict under the 1973 War Powers Act.

While there is plenty to criticize in the War Powers Act, in this situation it was an important tool used by a broad Senate coalition to require President Trump to end US participation in the Saudi war against Yemen. And while the resolution was not perfect – there were huge loopholes – it has finally drawn wider attention to the US Administration’s dirty war in Yemen.

The four year Saudi war on neighboring Yemen has left some 50,000 dead, including many women and children. We’ve all seen the horrible photos of school buses blown up by the Saudis – using US-supplied bombs loaded into US-supplied aircraft. Millions more face starvation as the infrastructure is decimated and the ports have been blocked to keep out humanitarian aid.

Stopping US participation in this brutal war is by itself a wise and correct move, even if it comes years too late.

The Senate vote is also about much more than just Yemen. It is about the decades of Presidential assaults on the Constitution in matters of war. President Trump is only the latest to ignore Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, which grants war power exclusively to Congress. Yes, it was President Obama who initially dragged the US illegally into the Yemen war, but President Trump has only escalated it. And to this point Congress has been totally asleep.

Fortunately that all changed last week with the Senate vote. Unfortunately, Members of the House will not be allowed to vote on their own version of the Senate resolution.

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Gimme Some Truth: John Lennon Tells It Like It Is, by John Whitehead

Some harsh truths about “our” government. From John Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil. The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a revolution. It’s not thinking logically, it’s out of control.”—John Lennon (1969)

Long before Bette Midler was roundly condemned for tweeting “Women, are the n-word of the world,” John Lennon—never one to pull his punches—proclaimed in song “Woman Is the Nigger of the World.”

Unlike Midler and the rest of the politically correct world, which refuses to say, let alone print, the word “nigger” lest they be accused of racism, Lennon didn’t just use the “n” word—he wrote a whole song about it and included it on his 1972 album Some Time In New York City.

Titled “Woman Is the Nigger of the World,” the song—with lyrics inspired and co-written by Yoko Ono—has Lennon’s brand of truth-telling stamped all over it:

Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is, think about it
Woman is the nigger of the world
Think about it, do something about it

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won’t be a slave, we say that she don’t love us
If she’s real, we say she’s trying to be a man
While putting her down we pretend that she is above us
Woman is the nigger of the world, yes she is
If you don’t believe me take a look to the one you’re with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Ah yeah, better scream about it.

Blackballed by most radio stations, the controversial song was widely condemned as racist and anti-woman.

The song was neither.

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A Silver Lining, by Robert Gore

A political victory only, not a stand on principle.

No lion, tiger, bear, or wolf would, if it could choose, give up its claws or fangs. No poisonous snake or spider would surrender its venom. Only humans voluntarily abandon their means of survival.

Reason is humans’ tool of survival and separates them from the other animals. The Oxford Dictionary defines reason as: “the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.” Ayn Rand had it right when she warned that reason was under sustained attack. It has only intensified since her death in 1982.

Anybody can accuse anybody of committing a crime. The longstanding legal presumption is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Given a guilty judgment’s consequences, the burden necessarily falls on accusers to prove guilt. If it did not, mere accusation would be a verdict leading to punishment of the accused, or Salem Witch Trial justice.

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Is There Enough of America Left To Be Saved?, by Paul Craig Roberts

The individual rights the government protects has dwindled to the point that very few are left. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

As many readers of this website have noticed, the United States has lost its character and become a dysfunctional society. In place of a largely homogeneous population once united in veneration of the Constitution, there exists today massive diversity which Identity Politics has used to disunite the population into separate interest groups.

No clause or article of the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights, is safe. The George W. Bush and Obama regimes destroyed two of the most important protections of civil liberty—habeas corpus and due process. Bush declared indefinite imprisonment on suspicion alone without evidence or trial. Obama declared execution of US citizens on accusation alone without due process. The Justice (sic) Department wrote legal memos justifying torture, thus destroying the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. One of the authors of the memos is now a professor of law at UC Berkeley. The other is now a federal judge, indications that respect for the Constitution and enforcement of US and international laws against torture is fading in law schools and the federal judiciary.

A third important protection of civil liberty—freedom of speech which is necessary for the discovery of truth and to serve justice—is being destroyed. Apple, Google/Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, university speech codes, legislation against protesting Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians, and the presstitute media that has been turned into a propaganda organ in behalf of vested interests are all actively involved in protecting lies against truth.

Glenn Greenwald reported that “the single greatest threat to free speech in the West — and in the U.S. — is the coordinated, growing campaign to outlaw and punish those who advocate for, or participate in, activism to end the Israeli occupation” of Palestine.https://theintercept.com/2016/02/16/greatest-threat-to-free-speech-in-the-west-criminalizing-activism-against-israeli-occupation/

To continue reading: Is There Enough of America Left To Be Saved?

Would the Founding Fathers Recognize Modern America? by Bill Bonner

Every year on Independence Day SLL tries to post at least one article pointing out that Americans are hardly independent, and the government we’ve got is light years from what the founders envisioned. This year Bill Bonner saves us the trouble of writing that article. From Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is one of the most remarkable things in nature. The animal apparently digests itself, using enzymes triggered by hormones. Then, from the pupa, a whole new animal develops – one with wings.

Time and growth produce changes in institutions, too. Sometimes, they merely get bigger and older. Sometimes, they go through a metamorphosis and change into something very different.

We recently moved back to France for the summer. We lived here for nearly 20 years… and still have a house in the country, to which we retire every summer.

Here, we find our old friends and acquaintances… our old clothes and shoes… our tools and workshop… our tractor… and our favorite office.

And what a pleasure… there, on the table next to the bed, was a copy of Michel De Jaeghere’s great book, Les Derniers Jours: La Fin de l’Empire Romain d’Occident (The Last Days: The End of the Roman Empire in the West).

We picked it up and found where we left off a year ago… page 321.

Roman Example

Many of the founders of the American Republic were readers and scholars. “I can’t live without books,” said Jefferson.

He, Monroe, Madison, Adams, and others were much more aware of Roman history than our leaders today. Most had studied Latin and/or Greek.

They had read Plutarch, Seneca, Sallust, Suetonius, and Cicero.

Much was known about the Roman era… and much was discussed. People believed they could learn from it and do better.

In the same year that the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his masterpiece, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of the transition – natural, and perhaps inevitable – from republic to empire. They had studied it in the Roman example. They had seen how it drew power into a few hands… and corrupted them.

They tried to prevent it from happening in the New World, putting in place limits… circuit breakers… and checks and balances… to keep the government from becoming too big, too ambitious, or too powerful.

Even then, they were doubtful that it would stick. “We give you a republic…” Franklin wrote to posterity, “if you can keep it.”

America did keep it… for nearly 100 years. Maybe a few more. Then, the metamorphosis occurred. And, like Rome, it was not very pretty.

To continue reading: Would the Founding Fathers Recognize Modern America?

There Is No ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card for the President, by John W. Whitehead

What President Trump doesn’t know about the Constitution would fill a multi-volume set. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.“—Richard Nixon

Someone needs to alert Donald Trump: there is no “Get Out of Jail Free” card just for being president.

According to Trump’s Twitter feed, he believes that he has an absolute right to pardon himself of any crimes for which he might be charged while serving in office.

He’s not alone in this imperial belief.

Two of Trump’s lawyers have attempted to float the idea that “the president’s powers are so broad as to make it impossible for him to have obstructed justice.”

Rudy Giuliani, another of Trump’s enablers, insists that Trump could even get away with shooting the FBI director in the Oval Office and not be prosecuted for murder. “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,” Giuliani argued, claiming a president’s constitutional powers are that broad.

It’s a losing argument.

Back in 1974, four days before Richard Nixon resigned, the Department of Justice concluded, “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself.”

To suggest otherwise, to empower the President to chart his own course and establish his own rules, not bound by the legislative or judicial branches of the government, is to effectively place him “above the law.”

In operating above the law, the president thus becomes a law unto himself—a dictator, an imperial overlord, a king.

Yet the United States government—a constitutional republic—is predicated on the notion that the law is supreme, and that no person, no matter how high-ranking, is able to flout it.

In other words, in America, the law is king.

That is the ideal that Thomas Paine put forth in his revolutionary treatise Common Sense. As Paine observed, “But where, say some, is the king of America? … The world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

When we refer to the “rule of law,” that’s constitutional shorthand for the idea that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.

To continue reading: There Is No ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card for the President