Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Bill Of Rights Day!

Talk about mixed feelings: "...Established in 1941 by Franklin D. Roosevelt...." Well, it was the sesquicentennial.

Though many of the provisions of Bill of Rights (and even more so, what the courts infer from them) have been and are contentious [1], I've long been bugged by the lack of provisions for enforcement; it'd be nice if The Gummit was risking something other than a lawsuit [2] when they went stompin' on activities protected under those Amendments.

Then there's the other problem: exactly as some critics predicted back in the 18th Century, the perception has emerged that the Bill of Rights grants rights, rather than protecting them and that the specially listed rights are all a citizen gets. I am well-nigh certain that the flip side was that had those Amendments not existed, the rights they protect would have long ago been eroded to nothing; but I'm pessimistic that way and believe in getting things in writing.

Whatever. Y'still otta celebrate. Me, I think I'll read the 'net and the paper, carry a gun [3] and maybe even make some noise about the way Uncle Same keeps pushin' away at the Fourth Amendment.

Update: Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is celebrating Bill of Rights Day by pushin' to expand the de facto FedGov immunity from prosecution if the CIA thinks allowing the case to proceed would endanger state secrets. ...Yeah, it sounds almost okay, why give the bad guys a way to learn what our side knows, but geez-o-peet, we'd better find a way proctect sensitive intel, methods and sources that doesn't hand the Feds a free pass. The courts are trying to figure it out; I hate having to bet on the wisdom of judges but we're down to that. (And yes, I fully expect to be lectured about my ignorance by the "but they're our jackboots" crowd; 'cos they'd never Horiuchi your wife and child, right?). The only good side is the way it makes President Obama's former boosters cry.
1. Be Careful What You Wish For: It's an easy shot to sneer at some of the thinner threads of legal logic but considered as a series of limitations on the government -- originally limiting just the Feds but expanded under the 14th Amendment -- the more broadly the courts construe the rights protected by the Bill of Rights, the better off we are.

2. It's tough to win a court case against an entity that buys attorneys by the barrel; contrarily, if there were some nice language about how violatin' the BoR in an official capacity was a capital offense, Our Public Servants might be moved to think before acting.

3. Some -- the Skunk Works does have some silly rules that way. Sigh.


Ed Rasimus said...

Find a high school student. Ask him/her to name one of the rights guaranteed by the BOR. Just one.

And, you are right about the fact that the BOR isn't the source for granting those rights. Reread and mourn for the now defunct Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

BobG said...

"I've long been bugged by the lack of provisions for enforcement; it'd be nice if The Gummit was risking something other than a lawsuit [2] when they went stompin' on activities protected under those Amendments."

They did have a provision in mind for it; the problem is that they made it the second amendment when it should have been first on the list.

Rob K said...

It's sad to say the anti-federalists were in many ways prescient. Reading Madison's response to their objects to the general welfare language is painful.

Stingray said...

I'm torn. On the one hand, I have this overwhelming desire to appropriate and assimilate the use of Horiuchi as a verb. That's just plain handy right there.

On the other hand, the festering little syphillitic snot-weasel is still squishing about on this side of the dirt, and there's a little tickle in the back of my head that says saying his name too often might be akin to saying Candleja

Secesh said...

This may be off-topic, but has anyone else had trouble logging-on to Breda's website?
Verizon is listing it as a fraudulent website.

Larry said...

Well, the systemic defense aginst the CIA is supposed to be that it is not authorized to operate inside the confines of the United States. It's also not auithorized to be used in a LE capacity.

Division of responsibilities between the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice creates a bit of a wall there. The FBI investigates domestic spies, the CIA investigates the agents and activies of foreign governments, and coordinates intelligence among the branches of the military department and civilian intelligence agencies of the Federal government.

I'll be honest; the shuffling of the alphabet agencies in the last few years has me less confident in pontificating about the differences between them. There used to be some fairly clear lines, and once upon a time I went through regular education on what those lines were. But thankfully, I'm not a part of the unintelligent community any more.

Back then, the legal difference between a "US Person" and others was a pretty bright line. And while I'm with you on rights being inherent and merely acknowledged-not-granted by our Constitution, I also firmly believe that we have no obligation to extend our version of civil rights protections to foreign enemies. Protecting their rights is the job of their own voluntary associations.

Roberta X said...

It's not the rights of nasty d00ds that fret me, Larry, it's the powers the Feds seize that they're not supposed to - and I think the only bright line they see any more is "FedGov" and "All Others."