Tag Archives: Constitutional Law

Freedom in a Time of Madness, by Andrew P. Napolitano

If the totalitarian measures being enacted at the local, state, and federal level are allowed to stand, the Constitution and the concept of freedom itself should be cremated and given a mournful burial. 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.” — Ex parte Milligan, U.S. Supreme Court (1866)

During the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln thought it expedient to silence those in the northern states who challenged his wartime decisions by incarcerating them in military prisons in the name of public safety, he was rebuked by a unanimous Supreme Court. The essence of the rebuke is that no matter the state of difficulties — whether war or pestilence — the Constitution protects our natural rights, and its provisions are to be upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort.

This basic principle of American law — our rights can only be interfered with by means of due process — is being put to a severe test today in most American states.

Here is the backstory.

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Repeal the Patriot Act, by Andrew P. Napolitano

By any reading of the plain words of the Constitution, which is not how contemporary jurists read the Constitution, the Patriot Act is unconstitutional and should be repealed. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

I have been writing for years about the dangers to human freedom that come from government mass surveillance. The United States was born in a defiant reaction to government surveillance. In the decade preceding the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the villains were the Stamp Act and the Writs of Assistance Act. Today, the villain is the Patriot Act.

Here is the backstory.

In 1765, when the British government was looking for creative ways to tax the colonists, Parliament enacted the Stamp Act. That law required all persons in the colonies to purchase stamps from a British government vendor and to affix them to all documents in one’s possession. These were not stamps as we use today, rather they bore the seal of the British government. The vendor would apply ink to the seal and for a fee — a tax — impress an image of the seal onto documents.

All documents in one’s possession — financial, legal, letters, books, newspapers, pamphlets, even posters destined to be nailed to trees — required the government stamps.

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What’s Wrong with FISA? By Andrew P. Napolitano

The whole FISA setup is simply unconstitutional. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978 in response to the unlawful surveillance of Americans by the FBI and the CIA during the Watergate era. President Richard Nixon — who famously quipped after leaving office that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal” — used the FBI and the CIA to spy on his political opponents.

The stated reason was national security. Nixon claimed that foreign agents physically present in the U.S. agitated and aggravated his political opponents to produce the great public unrest in America in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and thus diminished Americans’ appetite for fighting the Vietnam War. There was, of course, no evidence to support that view, but the neocons in Congress and the military-industrial complex supported it even after Nixon left office.

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Hey Comander! Start Commanding! by Ann Coulter

Supposedly, the US president can make war all over the planet, but can’t secure America’s own borders. From Ann Coulter at anncoulter.com:

It’s great that members of Congress have located specific legislative language permitting the president to build a border wall, but I’m wondering: Has anybody read the Constitution?

It says:

“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

“(The president) shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

With millions of foreigners illegally pouring across our border, it sure looks like the laws are not being “faithfully executed.” I wonder if the COMMANDER IN CHIEF has any authority to stop it.

The Constitution was expressly designed to make it difficult to do what our military does all the time — fight wars around the globe — and easy to do what our military never does — defend our own country.

Congress was given power to “declare war,” but not to “make war,” for the precise purpose of stalling the march to war. It was a selling point that the legislative branch takes forever to do anything.

But we had a country to protect, so the Constitution gave the energetic, fast-moving president the authority to deploy the military defensively.

As Duke University constitutional law professor H. Jefferson Powell put it in his 2002 book, The President’s Authority over Foreign Affairs: “(T)he president has a constitutional responsibility, independent of any act of Congress … to preserve the physical safety … of the United States against foreign threat.”

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Supreme Court: Cops Can’t Track Cell Phone Location Without A Warrant, by Tyler Durden

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that the Supreme Court came out the right way on a civil liberties issues. The bad news is that it was a 5-4 decision, not the 9-0 it should have been. Which shows how tenuous our civil liberties are. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that law enforcement cannot track people’s movements for periods of weeks or months without a warrant.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court held that the acquisition of cell-site records by government officials is covered under the Fourth Amendment.

Chief Justice John Roberts who wrote the opinion sided with the court’s four liberal judges; Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer – while Justice Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

While stressing that their decision doesn’t question longstanding surveillance techniques and tools such as security cameras, Roberts said that historical cell-site records present even greater privacy concerns than monitoring via GPS.

“Here the progress of science has afforded law enforcement a powerful new tool to carry out its important responsibilities,” Roberts said, adding “While individuals regularly leave their vehicles, they compulsively carry cell phones with them all the time.

“A cell phone faithfully follows its owner beyond public thoroughfares and into private residences, doctor’s offices, political headquarters, and other potentially revealing locales.”

The conservative judges strongly objected – writing four times as much in their dissents than Roberts did for the court’s majority.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the government’s search of cellphone location records was permissible because they were held by the service provider, not the individual. “The court’s new and uncharted course will inhibit law enforcement.”

Justice Samuel Alito called it a “revolutionary” ruling that “guarantees a blizzard of litigation while threatening many legitimate and valuable investigative practices upon which law enforcement has rightfully come to rely.” –USA Today

To continue reading: Supreme Court: Cops Can’t Track Cell Phone Location Without A Warrant