Tag Archives: Constitution

9/11 and the Politics of Fear and Self-Preservation, by Whitney Webb

The choice is ours. From Whitney Webb at lewrockwell.com:

We will either be remembered as a country that took freedom and liberty for all seriously or we will be remembered as a nation of cowards who, driven by fear, were willing to deprive this group, then that group, of their freedom — before losing that freedom entirely.

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When the Constitution Fails Us, by Andrew Napolitano

When the Constitution fails us, it’s time for new arrangements. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

I have been writing for years asking if we still have the U.S. Constitution. That issue has come into sharper focus in the past 18 months as mayors and governors have created dictatorial powers and exercised those powers to interfere with personal autonomy in America. They have done this in utter disregard for the freedoms protected by the Constitution they have sworn to uphold by asserting that public health trumps personal liberty.

Here is the backstory.

Government is essentially the negation of freedom. If the values underlying the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — maximum personal liberty and minimal government — are to be taken seriously, then we all know that government has gone so far astray as to make it unrecognizable to the revolutionaries who fought the British and the founders and framers who wrote and ratified the Constitution and its first 10 amendments.

Those underlying values are generally articulated in the first eight amendments, which restrain the government from interfering in personal liberty. The Ninth Amendment codifies that our rights are too numerous to list, and thus it requires the government to respect the natural unenumerated rights of all persons, in addition to those rights specifically enumerated.

The 10th Amendment reflects the ratifiers’ public understanding that the Constitution is a compact, voluntarily entered into by sovereign states; and when they entered, they only surrendered to the federal government those powers enumerated in the Constitution, and thus they retained the powers not surrendered.

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Woke Nonsense Is Warping Everyday Life, by Victor Davis Hanson

Under the Biden administration, the rule of law, US borders, contractual rights, and race relations are crumbling. From Victor Davis Hanson at zerohedge.com:

Americans are growing angrier by the day, but in a way different from prior sagebrush revolts such as the 1960s Silent Majority or the Tea Party movement over a decade ago.

The rage this time is not just fueled by conservatives.

For the first time in their lives, Americans of all classes and races are starting to fear a self-created apocalypse that threatens their family’s safety and the American way of life.

The border is not just porous as in the pre-Trump past. It is arguably nonexistent. Some 2 million people may cross illegally in the current fiscal year, according to reports — with complete impunity. There is zero effort to stop them. Officials hector Americans daily to get vaccinated and tested for COVID-19. But they are mute about illegal entrants, some of them no doubt infected with the virus.

Have we ever had a president who made no pretense about destroying federal immigration law and asking of Americans what he does not ask of those entering the country illegally?

Joe Biden has also conceded that his moratorium on housing evictions defied a Supreme Court ruling. He added that he probably didn’t have the legal authority to ignore the court but didn’t really care.

As in the case of demolishing immigration law, the president seems either unaware or proud that he is insidiously dismantling the Constitution.

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Canceling the Constitution: Biden Hailed for Violating Rule of Law to Extend Eviction Moratorium, by Jonathan Turley

It’s clear that the Supreme Court considers the CDC’s eviction moratorium an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress’s powers, and its clear the Biden administration doesn’t give a damn. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in the Hill on the extension of the eviction moratorium — a move that his White House Counsel and most legal experts told him was unconstitutional. However, according to the Washington Post, Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraged Biden to call Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe who reportedly advised hm that he had the authority. I have had many (and sharp) disagreements with Tribe over the years (including profane and personal attacks) but there is usually some good-faith underlying disagreement in controversies like impeachment. This is not such a case. I fail to see the credible basis for telling a President that the CDC can use the same authority that five justices just declared it did not have.

Here is the column:

During the 2020 presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden told voters that the choice between him and Donald Trump was between the lawful and the lawless. He called for voters to support “the rule of law, our Constitution,” a choice repeated mantralike by the media to “end Trump’s assault on the rule of law.” Now, six months into his presidency, Biden is openly flouting the Constitution with a knowingly invalid extension of the eviction moratorium — and some law professors and advocates on the left are cheering him for it.

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled on the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to impose a nationwide moratorium on the eviction of renters during the pandemic. Some of us criticized the CDC order as unconstitutional. The reason is the breathtaking authority claimed by the CDC under a federal law that gives it the power to “make and enforce such regulations as in [its] judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases.”

I have long been a critic of such unchecked and undefined authority in pandemics. This, however, is a particularly chilling example. It would give the CDC authority over huge swaths of our economy to avoid even the possibility of the “introduction” or spread of a disease. It means that a Constitution designed to prevent tyranny and authoritarianism becomes largely irrelevant if you put on a white lab coat. After all, the law was designed to control disease, not democracy, as a public health priority.

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Joe Drunk, by Eric Peters

The treatment of people suspected of driving while intoxicated shreds the Constitution. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The presumption of innocence is something not paid much respect – or even given much thought – anymore. Everyone is guilty – of everything. No matter that you or I haven’t actually done anything.

It is just a matter of accusation.

The finger now points at every driver – and soon, at every new car buyer – who is to be presumed “drunk” without the bother of conviction.

Or even a probable-cause-free sobriety checkpoint.

Senate Democrats – and some might-as-well-be Democrats who identify as Republicans – have inserted language in the $1 trillion “infrastructure” bill peristaltically making its way through the Senate colon that would require every new car sold within 10 years be equipped with what you used to have to be convicted of DWI to have to have installed in your car:

An alcohol-detecting interlock of some kind that disables the vehicle and prevents it from being driven by a “drunk” driver – the latter to be defined presumptively as every driver.

And on the basis of ever-attenuating standards of “drunkenness,” which now encompasses the drinking of as little as a single beer or even less, in states that have lowered their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) thresholds defining it at .05 or even less (for those under 21). No evidence of actual impairment being necessary to convict.

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Their Endgame For The Flag, The National Anthem, The Declaration Of Independence And The Constitution

The game is not just to get rid of cherished national symbols, but to get rid of the ideas embedded implicitly or explicitly in those symbols. From Michael Snyder at themostimportantnews.com:

A huge national debate about our most important national symbols has erupted, and it is rapidly becoming one of our hottest political issues.  But what most people don’t realize is that this isn’t really a debate about our past.  Rather, it is a debate about what our future is going to look like.  Those that are demonizing the American flag, the national anthem, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not doing so for the purpose of winning a historical debate.  Their true goal is to “cancel” those symbols and replace them with new ones, because our existing national symbols represent values and principles that are diametrically opposed to the values and principles that they wish to impose upon society.

If they ultimately get their way, the United States will eventually become an extremely repressive high tech dystopian society where absolutely no dissent is tolerated.  In other words, we would look a whole lot like communist China does today.

When I was growing up, the “godless communists” on the other side of the globe were the “bad guys”, and I was raised to greatly love the flag and the freedoms that it represented.  But now our flag is regularly demonized by the corporate media.  For example, the New York Times just published an article in which the flag was described as “alienating”

What was once a unifying symbol — there is a star on it for each state, after all — is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront.

And it has made the celebration of the Fourth of July, of patriotic bunting and cakes with blueberries and strawberries arranged into Old Glory, into another cleft in a country that seems no longer quite so indivisible, under a flag threatening to fray.

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Can the President Kill? by Andrew Napolitano

It certainly was not the intent of the Constitution’s framers, but the presidential war power has become such that the president can unilaterally make war. Wars do indeed kill people, which means that yes, presidents can kill. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last weekend, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. ordered the U.S. military to bomb targets in Syria and Iraq in an effort “to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message” to Iran. It is apparently the belief of the Biden administration — as it has been with Biden’s three immediate presidential predecessors — that the U.S. has the moral and legal authority to destroy any target outside the U.S. with financial or political or military ties to Iran.

Morally, the U.S. can only use force defensively or to repel an imminent attack. When asked for the legal authority for an offensive attack, a Pentagon spokesperson stated that it could be found in Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Yet, it is not there.

Governments love war. The political philosopher Randolph Bourne, who made a lifetime study of the effects of war, once famously and derisively called it “the health of the State” because it tends to unify persons behind the military might of the war-makers and it makes it easier to raise taxes to support the troops. It keeps the government’s agents busy and its patrons well compensated. Hence the nearly irresistible impulse that modern American presidents have had to utilize the military to assert imperial political will around the globe.

Can the president on his own send lethal missiles to any target of his choosing? In a word: No.

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Taking Liberty for Granted, by Andrew P. Napolitano

A governments that does not protect its citizens’ natural rights can and should be replaced with one that does. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).

No one knows if Thomas Jefferson personally uttered those words. They have been widely attributed to him, but they don’t appear in any of his writings. If he did not literally utter them, he uttered the sentiments they offer. They remind us not to take liberty for granted.

As America returns to pre-pandemic normalcy, we should think about the dangers of taking liberty for granted. This column has argued frequently that personal liberty is our birthright. It is a natural right. It doesn’t come from the government. It comes from our humanity, which is a gift from God. As God is perfectly free, so are we.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution presume that our liberties are natural and cannot be suppressed or taken away by the government absent due process.

Due process requires a notice of charges, a fair hearing with all constitutional protections at which the government must prove fault, and the right to appeal. The Constitution doesn’t grant liberty; it restrains the government from infringing upon it.

Some liberties are so essential to the pursuit of happiness that the Constitution prohibits their infringement, period — with or without due process. These are the liberties that we exercise every day — worship, speech, peaceable assembly, self-defense, privacy, ownership and use of property, commercial transactions, travel. We voluntarily establish governments to protect our liberties.

Are the governments we have established morally legitimate? They are when they have, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration, the consent of the governed, and when they defend our liberties. Absent consent and defense of liberty, government is not legitimate.

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The Government’s Emergency Powers Myth, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Other than Article I, Section 9, clause 2’s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in “Cases of Rebellion or Invasion,” the Constitution doesn’t grant the federal government, and by extension via the 14th Amendment, state governments a single other emergency power. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

“The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government.”
— Ex Parte Milligan, Supreme Court of the United States, 1866.

Last week, the media in New Jersey began to ask Gov. Phil Murphy when he would surrender his emergency powers. He claimed emergency powers in March 2020, and he also claimed that those powers are not limited by the Constitution when he said on Fox that the Bill of Rights is above his pay grade. His reply to the media inquiries was that he will surrender them when he surrenders them!

I am using the example of Murphy in order to address the concept of emergency powers, but there is no hyperbole here. Murphy quite literally issued executive orders barring folks from doing what the Constitution guarantees them the right to do, and he imposed criminal penalties for violating his orders, and he had folks who defied him arrested and prosecuted. Stated differently, he assumed the powers of the state legislature — which is to write the laws — and he violated his oath to uphold the Constitution.

He claimed that somehow he can interfere with the exercise of basic human freedoms — like going to church, going to work, shopping for food, operating a business, assembling and traveling — because he declared a state of emergency.

If the government declares an emergency, can it thereby acquire the lawful power to interfere with constitutionally guaranteed freedoms? In a word: No.

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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.

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