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Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Bill Of Rights

"The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the oftentimes bitter 1787–88 battle over ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and crafted to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people."

In the climate of the present US Presidential campaign, all candidates are throwing out references to this document's contents.  I want to parse it.  Following are the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution (the Bill of Rights), with my comments on each one underlined:

I.  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  Note, it does not say "establishment of A religion", but clearly "establishment of religion"  - - - period.

II.  A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  Where is the "Militia" in the USA presently?  The National Guard?  Clearly, this amendment does not cover the individual's ISOLATED right to bear arms.  That said, there is no reason to restrict law-abiding residents from owning personal firearms for protection or recreation. However, the TYPE of weapon CAN be regulated and the person wishing to own a firearm can be screened for their responsibility in owning a firearm.

III.  No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.  A basic right that no reasonable person would argue with.

IV.  The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.  A basic right that no reasonable person would argue with.

V.  No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.   A basic right that no reasonable person would argue with.

VI.  In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.   A basic right that no reasonable person would argue with.

VII.  In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.   A basic right that no reasonable person would argue with.

VIII.  Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.   A basic right that no reasonable person would argue with.

IX.  The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.  A basic right that no reasonable person would argue with.

X.  The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.  This is a major point of disagreement politically today.  While I am not a "libertarian", I agree that government can grow out of control if not controlled.  IMO, the phrase "or to the people" takes precedence over the "States" (note the word "or", not "then").  I live in NC, and this presently is a big issue.  Our Republican governor is behind the ominous HB2 Bill that attempts to overrule the municipality of Charlotte's action giving civil rights to the transgender community.

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