Friday, July 03, 2015

Grassroots Federalism Making A Comeback?

by JASmius



The latest Rasmussen poll strongly suggests it - sort of:

After last week's Supreme Court rulings on ObamaCare and same-sex "marriage," more voters believe that states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings, a new Rasmussen Reports survey shows.

The poll found that one-third of the one thousand likely voters surveyed agree that States should hold the power, up nine points from the 24% who agreed in a February Rasmussen poll.

Not a majority, but a large minority.  Now the next step is to educate "likely voters" to understand that States already hold the power to ignore, or nullify, federal court rulings as holders of original authority, their being the ones which created the federal government in the first place.

Further, 52% of the voters in the current poll, taken between June 30th-July 1st, disagree that States should be allowed to go around the Supreme Court's rulings, down from 58% in February.

33/52 is better than 24/58.  Perhaps Obergefell v. Hodges and King v. Burwell managed to open another batch of eyes about the out-of-control tyranny that is forcibly turning our society upside down.  If that number is even-steven by Thanksgiving (even though this States-rights surge will probably fade over time), we'll be able to officially dub it a trend, which has all kinds of interesting implications for the upcoming presidential campaign.

Can't wait to see how Mrs. Clinton will spin or duck this one.

Independence Day and the Constitution Guy

Douglas V. Gibbs will be in the Temecula Independence Day Parade during the late morning hours of July 4, 2015, carrying a banner for the Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly with Bob Kowell.  Be sure to be out there to take pictures, and to give your support.

In the afternoon, Doug will then be, at the request of Mayor Ruiz, at the San Jacinto Independence Day Celebration at the Estudillo Mansion.  He will broadcast live the Constitution Radio program from that location at 1:00 pm.  The festivities will include music, speeches, and giveaways.  Join us for the fun.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Murrieta Residents Stop High Density Housing Complex. . . for now

by Douglas V. Gibbs

The 112 unit apartment complex planned for the corner of the Golf Club at Rancho California in Murrieta has been stopped...for now. Residents argued the high density housing project would impact the area's waterways and traffic situation on surrounding streets, while also requiring a costly reconfiguration of the existing golf course to accommodate the complex.

A court ruling, which was handed down June 12, stops Murrieta's January 2014 approval of the project. This means that the city council will have to, at some point, formally rescind its approval.

In order to revive the plan, the developer will need to pay for a full environmental impact report and once again seek approval from the council. Mayor Harry Ramos was the lone dissenting vote when the City Council originally approved the project.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Oregon Binds & Gags Aaron & Melissa Klein

by JASmius



They exercised the freedom of association and religion they thought they still possessed as evangelical Christians, and were targeted by a lesbian "couple," attacked, and "reported" to the State of Oregon for "discrimination".  The State of Oregon levied a whopping, viciously punitive fine of $135,000 against the Kleins, which they could not afford, putting their family-run cake shop out of business.  Compounding the their plight, gofundme.com shut down the attempt by friends and supporters to raise money for the family on the same grounds of being "homophobes," which is now an official State capital crime,

You'd think that all of that outrageous persecution would have been punishment enough.  But no; not only is the State of Oregon demanding that the full six-figure fine be paid, even though the Kleins have already been driven into bankruptcy, but now they're being forbidden from defending themselves in any setting by an official gag order, upon penalty of more fines and even jail time:

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex "wedding," to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

That is a lie.  The Kleins didn't refuse to serve their lesbian attackers; they refused to participate in the latter's perverted "ceremony"on religious conscience grounds, as they thought was their First Amendment right.  And now they're not allowed to combat that lie and set the record straight:

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex "weddings" based on their Christian beliefs.



“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the State of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

Precisely.  Because they are Christians.  Thus the bitter irony of this entire sordid saga: there is indeed a party in this case that is being flagrantly discriminated against and having emotional trauma inflicted upon it - but it most definitely isn't the lesbian "couple," whose ridiculous damage claims included:

"Felt mentally raped....

Please.  You couldn't find any cake shop that would comply with your request?  None?  In Oregon?  If that was the case, why did you only attack the Kleins?

....dirty and shameful....

That has nothing to do with the Kleins, but your evidently not entirely combusted consciences.

....dislike of going to work....

You worked at Sweet Cakes by Melissa?  Seems like you'd already have known that they were Christians, then,

....doubt; pale and sick at home after work....

Maybe that was from your dislike of going to work,

....sadness....

Yeah, you're sad, alright,

....felt stupid....

Not felt; are.

And my favorites:

....loss of sleep; excessive sleep”.

Sounds like either one is a self-correcting problem to me.  And one that, again, has bupkis to do with the Kleins, who probably haven't slept in months after all you've had the State of Oregon do to them.

Jazz Shaw sums it up:

Applying a $135,000 fine on a closed business isn’t about damages. It’s not even about setting a precedent. It’s a flat-out abuse of bureaucratic power for one’s own agenda — and vindictiveness for not acquiescing to government power. Avakian is peeved that the Kleins embarrassed him and his state over their petty power grab and he wants to make them pay for it, literally and figuratively.

Happy Independence Day. Sounds like Oregon needs to recall why we needed it in the first place.

UPDATE: A call to civil disobedience:

Defiant Oregon bakers fined $135,000 for their 2013 refusal to make a cake for a lesbian wedding reportedly vow to "fight back" against the state labor commissioner's stiff penalty – and are calling on "Christians … to take a stand."

"For years, we’ve heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody," Aaron Klein, co-owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, told the Blaze.

"I’m here firsthand to tell everyone in America that it has already impacted people. Christians, get ready to take a stand. Get ready for civil disobedience."

What do you do when all other options are taken away from you?  You choose what's left.  Which is a lot easier to do when you have little or nothing left to lose.

A word of caution to the Kleins, however: A lot of Americans will rally to their support at their living martyrdom as they're hauled off to jail in handcuffs and legirons, but a lot more will be cheering their incarceration as political prisoners, with calls for the rest of us to be forced to join them.  Once again, remember why we do what we do - not in any realistic expectation of winning in the short term, or even planting the seeds of a future cultural and civic revival, although that's part of it, but because it's the right thing to do.

The Kleins are being ordered to deny Christ and swear allegiance to Crisco as Lord.  They are refusing.  And whatever the consequences here, the true Messiah Who judges justly will see and reward their courageous faithfulness, and judge Brad Avakian accordingly.

Big Labor Civil War?

by JASmius



This is an interesting development.  Evidently, the union rank and file are Bernie Sanders-loving leftwingnutters - which we already knew - but Big Labor's national leadership are now residing in the "DINO" category (i.e. they're planning to endorse Hillary Clinton), and that's creating problems between the two:

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is warning labor leaders to hold off on endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders' bid for the presidency, saying the federation's bylaws specify that such endorsements are to be left up to the organization on a national level.

Trumka, in a memo sent out this week, reminded groups that they are not allowed to "endorse a presidential candidate" or even work on statements or resolutions that indicate a preference for any candidate, reports Politico. Further, he said that "personal statements" are also forbidden.

"Because in years past, and already this year, a number of questions have been raised," Trumka said, "I want to remind you all that the AFL-CIO endorsement for president and vice president belongs to the national AFL-CIO.

"State federations, central and area labor councils, and all other subordinate bodies must follow the national AFL-CIO endorsement regarding president and vice president."

In short, "We will do the endorsing, and you will endorse who we tell you to endorse, and you will like it - or else!"  Which is entirely in character for Dick Trumka, and which his rank & file members and State affiliates have loved in the past when the extremist belligerence was directed at the Right,  Now that they're on the receiving end of it themselves - shazam! - they don't seem to appreciate it very much:

National union leaders, though, are drawn to the party's more [communist] side, represented by Sanders, a[ socialist] running for the Democrat nomination, and groups in South Carolina and Sanders' home state of Vermont have already passed resolutions that support him. Some union leaders in Iowa are also calling for a resolution to be passed at their convention in August to back Sanders.

In addition, reports Politico, there are more than a thousand labor supporters, which includes local AFL-CIO leaders, who are part of a group called "Labor for Bernie," which is calling on the nation's union leaders to back Sanders....

Jeff Johnson, the president of the AFL-CIO's Washington State Labor Council, said he has not seen a memo like Trumka's before. State leaders are aware of the national law, as the AFL-CIO's endorsement decisions are made by the national leadership.

"There's a lot of anxiety out there in the labor movement," Johnson told Politico, agreeing that it is important for the overall group to endorse just one candidate. "We’re desperately searching for a candidate that actually speaks to working-class values. The Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders camp is very, very attractive to many of our members and to many of us as leaders, because they’re talking about the things that need to happen in this country." [emphases added]

That Barack Obama hasn't already taken care of?  How can that possibly be?  Or are pinkos really insatiable? (Yes, that's a rhetorical question.)

Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman also agreed that Trumka had to enforce the AFL-CIO's bylaws, but still made a broad hint over who he supports.

"Bernie Sanders has spent his life actually fighting for working people," Tolman told Politico. "He’s made no secret of it, and he’s used it as his mantra. And that I respect very much."

And here's the punchline:

When asked about Hillary Clinton, he replied: "Who? Who? Please. I mean with all respect, huh?" [emphasis added]

This is a major league schism, folks.  It fits in perfectly with the ongoing trend: the Democrats' hard-left base does not want to get stuck with Hillary Clinton, because they don't believe in her and don't trust her, and they are so desperate for an alternative in the absence of Elizabeth Warren jumping into the race that they're willing to back an old, white, male, fringe kook like Weekend Bernie.  And the Donk "establishment," which evidently includes Comrade Trumka and the AFL-CIO poobah-ry, are determined to back the Empress, or they wouldn't have issued that unprecedented memo.

I'm telling you, my friends, there is a major rupture coming on the Left that is going to lead to electoral disaster next year that only the Republicans nominating Jeb Bush could avert.

Or, in other words, dueling intra-party civil wars.

Feel free to order the popcorn and the frosty beverage, but keep in mind that it might be like watching a tennis match.

Arrested Protesters Sue Murrieta

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Approaching the eve of the one year anniversary of Murrieta residents turning away bus loads of diseased illegal aliens, two Los Angeles men arrested while protesting against the Murrieta protesters, have filed a lawsuit against Murrieta and Riverside County, alleging misconduct by police and mistreatment in jail.  The opposition to the residents who were protesting the shipping in of hundreds of illegal aliens into a Murrieta Border Patrol facility designed to handle a couple dozen at a time were largely shipped in from other cities, many of them attached to the racist Marxist organization, La Raza.

The two men bringing the lawsuit against the Southern California City of Murrieta were among five people arrested July 4, 2014, charged with resisting arrest and lynching (taking a person from the lawful custody of an officer by means of a riot). The charges were dismissed in February. Three others pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer.

Police indicate they followed all required procedures.  The incident was caught on film, and that footage will likely serve as evidence during the case.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Veterans & Bikers "Disperse" Flag-Burning "Disarm NYPD"

by JASmius



If there's a better way to celebrate Independence Day than driving off a bunch of obnoxious, flag-burning, traitorous malcontents, I don't know what it is:

A group made good on a plan to burn at least one American flag during a protest in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn Wednesday night. But dozens of opponents of the protest stepped in and prompted the protesters to scatter.

The group Disarm NYPD announced that it would burn both American and Confederate flags at the protest, and called them both objectionable symbols.

As Rush Limbaugh forecasted ten days ago.

“We maintain, unwaveringly, that both the Confederate flag, and the American flag are symbols of oppression,” the group said.

Say the pampered, over-privileged, ignorant ingrates whose right to protest Old Glory has been guaranteed and defended by what that flag actually represents.

Behold, the patriotic response:





You know, I tend to be a "live and let live"/"to each their own" kind of guy, but that's the issue with the far Left: They won't let any of us alone.  Their totalitarian impulses won't permit it.  So they get in our faces whether we like or want it or not.

So, we get back in theirs.  Again, an eminently appropriate way to celebrate Independence Day.

Second only to deporting their worthless asses, since they claim to hate this country and everything it stands for so much,  And making sure the door hits each and every last one of them in the ass on the way out.

If only,

Ten Warning Signs A Jihadist Attack Is Imminent

by JASmius



I'll summarize them here and you can all examine the details at the link:

 1. Suspicious activity related to fireworks.

 2. Probing or testing the perimeter of a fence, facility, or its secu
rity systems.

  3. Anyone setting a backpack or bag down in a crowd and walking away.

  4. Suspicious use of social media or the Internet.

  5. Purchases of suspicious supplies.

  6. Attempts at impersonation.

  7. Unusually large or heavy bags.

  8. Unusually bulky, loose-fitting apparel worn in hot weather.

  9. Any sign of tampering.

10. Suspicious or abandoned vehicles.

Constitution Corner: Revolutionary Traitors

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The American Colonists were traitors, or at least that is how the British Crown viewed them.  Two hundred and thirty nine years ago 56 signers declared independence for the United States of America from the British Empire.  The courageous act, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, placed the lives, fortunes and sacred honor of those who mutually pledged independency at risk.  The odds were against them, for they were at war against the greatest military power of the time.  Liberty was worth the fight, and worth the sacrifice.

The event marked a significant shift in the history of humanity.  Tyranny was the norm.  Oligarchies, where a ruling elite governed over the huddled masses, was the most common form of government in the world.  Self-governance, such as was being proposed by the Americans, was considered an impossibility.  The American Experiment would only last for a while, was the prevalent opinion.  It wouldn't be long before the silly colonists across the ocean were begging to be readmitted to the empire.

Even after decades of existence, Europeans considered America to be a joke.  Sigmund Freud said, "America is a mistake."  In the War of 1812, the Americans had to fight the British a second time, as they were still considered petulant children that needed to be brought back into the fold.  When the White House was filled with flames, President James Madison would have been hung for treason by the British, had he have been caught.

Nearly a century into its existence, the United States almost ripped itself apart in the War between the States.  The concept of State Sovereignty was challenged, and the idea of a Separation of Powers were put to the ultimate test as the President seized authorities in an effort to hold together the union. Lincoln was, perhaps, a good man in a terrible situation, but ultimately the Civil War served as another turning point in history.  Nationalism challenged the Founding Father's idea of federalism, centralizing power, and altering the country from "the United States are" to the "United States is."

Despite the trials along the way, through it all, America survived, and prospered.  Despite the assassination of presidents, a number of wars that included two massive world wars, and a progressive era that nearly tore the Constitution to shreds, the United States weathered the storms and came out stronger as a result.

Liberty has survived assault after assault, and for many, she still rings true.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Vox Calls The American Revolution A "Mistake"

by JASmius



I don't have a lot to say about this because Allahpundit undertook the whimsically tedious task of parsing and debunking Dylan Matthews' pretentious, self-important, pseudo-intellectual claptrapfest.  He offers three reasons for his retroactively treasonous ("Tory" would work just as well, I suppose) assertion:

1) No America would have been better for "Original Americans";

2) Slavery would have ended sooner; and

3) (I swear I'm not making this up) No America would have meant no Constitution, and that would have been a better outcome because whatever English-derived polity existed on this continent would have been a parliamentary democracy, and (seriously, Matthews really wrote this) parliamentary democracies are more stable and less prone to dictatorship than constitutional republics with presidents.



And from so many different directions, too.  Though I'm sure Matthews was looking ahead to President Walker's administration, not the current big-eared despot.

What sticks out most starkly to me about the Matthews piece is the transparent candor with which he openly wishes that America had never existed, because in his diseased little pea-sized mind, America is (or was until January 20th, 2009) and has always been irredeemably and entirely evil, and ANYTHING would have been better than what we - he - actually got.  Both for the inhabitants of this continent and for the entirety of humanity.

Call it retroactive "fundamental transformation".  Or maybe "fundamental preemption".

It's a pity we can't "slide" Matthews to an alternate quantum history where his dream actually happened, and make it a one-way trip.

The Francis Effect

by JASmius



Second look at separation of church and state?:

Roman Catholic leaders in the early voting state of Iowa implored candidates for president Thursday to take up Pope Francis' call for "profound political courage" by focusing their campaigns as much on improving the environment and income inequality as they have on opposing gay marriage and abortion in past elections.

It takes "courage" to ideologically surrender, become useless barnacles on the Ready-For-Hillary Express, and otherwise all-around commit political suicide?  Most everyone else would call that rank foolishness.

The vocal pivot from such traditional social issues marks the first time U.S. Catholic bishops have publicly asked those seeking the White House to heed the admonitions of Francis' June encyclical, said Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines.

In Francis' major teaching document, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics called for a "sweeping revolution" to correct a "structurally perverse" economic system that allows the rich to exploit the poor and has turned the Earth into an "immense pile of filth."

"These are going to be difficult decisions that have to be made," said the Reverend Bud Grant of Davenport, joined at a news conference by bishops from central and eastern Iowa. "Politicians have to have the courage to do the right thing, and not necessarily the politically expedient thing."

Given that the "thing" they parrotedly urge is both the wrong thing and, in The Age Of The One and the Red Pope, anything but "politically expedient," these shouldn't be difficult decisions at all, other than how to diplomatically tell Francis to go sit on Vatican spire.  Besides, since when did Catholic Democrat pols ever heed the moral issue entreaties against abortion and sodomarriage of John Paul II and Benedict XVI?  Blowing off their "holy father" didn't seem to be a "difficult decision" for any of them.

The push from bishops threatens to disrupt the historically reliable alliance of evangelical Christians and conservative Roman Catholic voters, putting pressure on Republicans who have leaned on their religious faith to guide them on social issues. 
It will also focus attention on how the six Roman Catholics seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will wrestle with a pope's teachings on economics and climate change that clash with traditional Republican ideology. [emphasis added]

That, my friends, is the name of the game, and the commie-Pope's core mission: To use the Catholic Church to force the Obamunist agenda on conservative Catholics, office-seekers and rank & file, and drive a great big wedge in the conservative coalition (at minimum).  It also gives the lie to the false taunt lefties have hurled at evangelicals for years about our wanting to impose a "theocracy" in order to "force our values on everybody else".  The Francis Effect illustrates spectacularly and for all time that libs have no problem at all mixing church and state, so long as it's their values that get shoved down our throats.  Or yet another case of trademark leftwingnut psychological projection.

It also illustrates why the establishment clause was included in the First Amendment: not to protect the state from the church, but to protect the church from the state.  For that's what this is, a communist extremist masquerading in white robes and a big, funny hat using the Vatican to impose a leftist political agenda that has nothing whatsodamn ever to do with Christian teachings or biblical doctrine on GOP Catholics who do not, and are perfectly free not to, agree with it.

Francis is effectively saying that it is an unforgivable sin to be a conservative Republican, and all GOP Catholics should accordingly repent and become Democrats,  Which should tell Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and whomever else in the Republican presidential field just how optional a papal command this "thing" really is.

Gee, Mr. Sulu Sure Is A Racist, Isn't He?

by JASmius



Would the captain of the USS Excelsior have ever said anything like this about Thurgood Marshall, no matter how he had voted on sodomarriage?:

Star Trek actor and gay activist George Takei veered off course in his criticism of Justice Clarence Thomas' same-sex marriage dissent, according to some online critics and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Noting Thomas' language about slaves and people in internment camps not losing their humanity or dignity, Takei tore into Thomas, the only black member currently sitting on the high court.

"He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court," Takei told Fox 10 in Phoenix on Wednesday. "He gets me that angry. He doesn't belong there."

"And for him to say, slaves have dignity. I mean, doesn't he know that slaves were in chains?" Takei continued. "That they were whipped on the back. If he saw the movie 12 Years a Slave, you know, they were raped." [emphasis added]



I'm not sure why I'm bothering to correct the substance of a man whose name in Japanese means "is very fond of plasma injector enemas" other than that I need to flesh out the balance of this post with something.  So....

Here is the relevant portion of Justice Thomas's Obergefell dissent:

"Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal' and 'endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,' they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.

"The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away." [emphases added]

In other words, human dignity is internal, an attitude, just as victimhood is.  Justice Thomas was not saying that African-American slaves were treated in a dignified manner; only a moron would suggest that, just as only a flaming racist would accuse a black Supreme Court Justice of saying it.  Rather, what Justice Thomas was saying is that one can retain one's innate, inalienable personal dignity now matter how viciously one is mistreated - like the way Takei did Justice Thomas, for example.  Being victimized, in other words, does not have to render one a victim.  After all, what else does "We shall overcome" mean?  If you refuse to be defeated in your heart, the other side may win, but you have not yet lost in the sense that truly matters.  That's the burning spirit of defiance that is at the glowing core of human dignity, regardless of circumstances.

Some days it's the only thing that keeps me going, to be perfectly candid.

I'm not going to speculate on how "deep" the one-time Enterprise helmsman is, despite the oodles and oodles of doubled entendre possibilities,  And it doesn't really matter ultimately; whether Takei's racist slur was propelled by shallow ignorance or malevolent cynicism, the effect is that he deliberately twisted Justice Thomas's words in a way that doesn't lay a glove on the latter but makes him look really, really foolish.

And racist.  But being a queer will cover that sin.

And Georgie calls Justice Thomas an "embarrassment"?

Introduction to the Bill of Rights: Temecula Constitution Class

Temecula Constitution Class
Faith Armory
41669 Winchester Road
Temecula, CA  92590

Thursdays: 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs
douglasvgibbs@reagan.com



Lesson 12
Bill of Rights: Introduction to, and Incorporation of


Introduction to the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights does not guarantee your rights, nor was it designed to allow the federal government to protect your rights.  The language used in the first ten amendments is clear.  The 1st Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law..."  The 2nd Amendment ends with the words, "...shall not be infringed."  The 3rd Amendment begins, "No Soldier shall..."  The key phrase in the 4th Amendment is "shall not be violated."  The entire Bill of Rights was designed to confirm what the first seven articles had already established.  The federal government was granted only certain authorities, and for the purpose of clarity, the Bill of Rights was written to reinforce the concept that the federal government has no business infringing upon the rights of the people.  The federal government is not charged with protecting those rights, or guaranteeing those rights, anywhere in the Bill of Rights.  The first ten amendments were written to tell the federal government, "Hands off, do not touch, thou shalt not."

The concept that the federal government exists to guarantee our rights, or protect our rights, emerged after the ratification of the 14th Amendment.  The Civil War Amendment tasked the federal government with ensuring the newly emancipated slaves were treated fairly, and that their rights were protected - even at the State level.  In an effort to capitalize on that idea, the courts got involved to ensure that the former slave States behaved.  The southern States, the North was convinced, could not be trusted, and often the South confirmed the lack of confidence the Union States harbored with laws designed to get around the new restrictions placed upon them.

After the American Civil War, the three amendments proposed and ratified to protect the emancipated slaves were specifically designed for the purpose of ensuring the newly freed slaves were treated equally in the eyes of the law.  Statism, however, seized upon the ideas planted by Congressman John Bingham, and through the courts worked to weave an intricate tapestry that would change the culture of the United States from a union of voluntary members, to a nation of states joined in an unbreakable union.  The country no longer resembled the union of sovereign states it had once been, and instead became a nation held together by the statist consequences of the ravages of war.

The federal government telling States what they can and can't do regarding our rights opens a Pandora's Box the framers of the Constitution never intended to be breached.  By allowing the federal government to dictate to the States what they can and can't do regarding rights, even with the best of intentions, the precedent is established allowing federal control.  A federal government that can force a State to behave in an acceptable manner can later dictate to a State to follow a federal mandate designed to reduce your access to your rights.

As President Gerald Ford once wisely said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

A significant segment of the Founding Fathers believed the Bill of Rights to be unnecessary.  The first seven articles of the U.S. Constitution were written in such a way that the concerns of the Anti-Federalists had been addressed, but they still feared that the federal government would compromise the natural rights of the citizens if a Bill of Rights was not included in the Constitution.

The Constitution was written in a manner that allowed the new federal government only the authorities granted to it by the Law of the Land.  Regarding arms, for example, the possession of guns was never an issue granted to the federal government in the first seven articles of the U.S. Constitution, therefore the federal government had no authority to restrict guns in any way, shape, or form.  The Anti-Federalists, however, did not believe the federal government would abide by the limitation of authorities placed on the United States Government, and demanded that a Bill of Rights be written.  Failure to provide a Bill of Rights, indicated the Anti-Federalists, would result in a failure of those States dominated by Anti-Federalists to ratify the new Constitution.

The Framers of the Constitution, understanding that without the critical approval of the Anti-Federalists, the new Constitution would never be ratified, agreed to include a Bill of Rights.  James Madison was asked to gather the amendments to be proposed and potentially ratified by the States, and use them to write a Bill of Rights.

Originally, there were a large number of amendments proposed, but the final proposal that went to the States for ratification was narrowed down to twelve amendments.  Only ten were ratified.  Of the remaining two, one regarding apportionment remains unratified, and the other became the Twenty-Seventh Amendment in 1992.

The debates over the adoption of the Constitution found the Anti-Federalists fearful that as drafted, the Constitution created a central government that may have the opportunity to become a tyranny.  These fears were based on the memory of the British violation of basic civil rights before and during the American Revolution.  With past British tyranny as a frame of reference, the Anti-Federalists demanded that a "bill of rights" be written that would clarify without question the immunities of individual citizens.  Though the amendments of the Bill of Rights were not proposed until 1789, several state conventions during their ratification conventions ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.

One of the fears regarding the proposal of the Bill of Rights was that by trying to protect specific rights, it might imply that any unmentioned rights would not be protected.  It was believed by many that as a result, the Bill of Rights was actually unnecessary, for in the British system of common law natural rights were not defined, nor quantified.  Adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution may actually limit the rights of the people to those listed in the Constitution.  As a result of this argument, included in the Bill of Rights is the Ninth Amendment, which indicates that rights not enumerated would also be protected.

Another argument against the Bill of Rights is that the ten amendments muddy the waters of the Constitution, because the first seven articles were designed to grant authorities to the federal government, and if an authority is not granted, the federal government does not have that power.  The Bill of Rights tells the federal government what it cannot do.  This enables those who oppose the Constitution to claim that the Constitution does not only grant express powers.  By focusing on the Bill of Rights, the opposition responds to constitutional challenges with the question, "Where in the Constitution does it say the federal government can't do that?"  Considering the Bill of Rights was not even necessary, this provides unnecessary ammunition to those that oppose the Constitution.

Terms:
Anti-Federalists - Opposed to formation of a federal government, particularly by adoption of the Constitution of the United States.

Arms - Weapons, firearms; a gun that may be used for protection of property or as part of a militia.

Bill of Rights - The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution; a formal summary of those rights and liberties considered essential to a people or group of people.

Common Law - The part of English law that is derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes, able to be changed by the whims of the governed, or their representatives.

Enumerated - Counted or told, number by number; reckoned or mentioned by distinct particulars.

Questions for Discussion:
  1. Why does the Constitution offer the opportunity for both oaths, and affirmations?
2.                                                                                                               Why did some of the Founding Fathers consider the Bill of Rights unnecessary?
3.   What did the Anti-Federalists think of the creation of the federal government?  Why?
4.  Why were the Founding Fathers willing to add the Bill of Rights even though they believed the
      amendments to be unnecessary?
Resources:
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder's Constitution -
Volume Five - Amendments 1-12; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987)

The Charters of Freedom: The Bill of Rights, National Archives and
Records Administration: http://archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html


Incorporation of the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights was originally intended to be applied only to the federal government.  Even the most ardent opponent to the originalist view of the Constitution concedes that it is commonly understood that originally the Bill of Rights was not intended to apply to the States whatsoever.  The text of the U.S. Constitution does not necessarily clearly exhibit that the Bill of Rights was only intended to apply to the federal government, but a deep study of the text of the first ten amendments, and the various writings of the Founding Fathers on the topic, reveals without a doubt that the Bill of Rights was indeed originally intended to only apply to the federal government.

Though even the most ardent opponent of the United States Constitution will admit that the Bill of Rights was originally intended to only apply to the federal government, the rule of inapplicability to the States was abandoned by statists after 1868, when it became argued that the 14th Amendment changed this rule, and served to extend most of the Bill of Rights to the States.

The section of the 14th Amendment that has been interpreted to extend the Bill of Rights to the States comes from the second sentence of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which reads:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Through a series of court rulings, the Supreme Court has changed the Constitution by applying parts of the Bill of Rights to the States.  The process over the time period since the ratification of the 14th Amendment which works to apply the Bill of Rights to the States through court rulings and written opinions is called "The Incorporation of the Bill of Rights."

The Bill of Rights was originally not meant to be a guarantee of individual freedoms at all, but a limitation of federal authority against our God given rights.  In other words, the Bill of Rights was not written for the people, but for the federal government as a means of telling the federal government what it cannot do in regards to our unalienable rights.

Why not apply these amendments to the States as well?

The States already had a Bill of Rights in their own State Constitutions (and those that did not have a constitution yet, did include a Bill of Rights later).  The Founding Fathers were confident that the people of the States could control their own State officials, and would be involved in their local governments.  The people did not fear their local governments acting in a tyrannical manner similar to the potential of a centralized government system.  Their fears were of the new and distant central government.

Originally, parts of the first amendments proposed by James Madison did in fact address the States, seeking to limit the State governments with provisions such as, "No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases."  The parts of the Bill of Rights that sought to be applied to the powers of the States, however, were not approved by Congress, and therefore were not a part of the proposed amendments to the States.

The Bill of Rights was understood, at its ratification, to be a bar on the actions of the federal government.  Prior to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States by the courts as based on their interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights did not apply to the States, and was never intended to be fully applied to the States.

The argument used, despite original intent, that the Bill of Rights must also apply to the States is based more on philosophy, than historical evidence.  One of the philosophical standpoints used is that if the specific rights given in the Bill of Rights are based on the more general rights to life, liberty, and property which in turn are considered to be God-given and unalienable, then State governments do not have the authority to infringe on those rights any more than can the federal government.

The argument, however, simply suggests that the Bill of Rights ought to apply at the State level, not that it originally did.

If the Bill of Rights originally only applied to the Federal Government, and over time has changed to be something that was applicable on the State level through court decisions, the reality is that the Constitution itself has never allowed the Bill of Rights to be applied to the States.  The change was done by judicial means, meaning that the Constitution has been changed by judicial activism.  The problem, however, is that according to the Constitution, the only way to change the Constitution is through an amendment process.  Therefore, the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States occurred unconstitutionally.

This returns us to the argument that the 14th Amendment is the source and authority of the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States.  The Supreme Court's first ruling regarding the scope of the 14th Amendment, and if the amendment enables the Bill of Rights to be applied to the States, was rendered in the Slaughterhouse Cases just five years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868.  A five to four vote by the high court interpreted the Privileges and Immunities Clause to be the authority they needed to enforce The Bill of Rights against the States.  Subsequent cases also used the 14th Amendment as an authority for incorporation.  During the early twentieth century a number of court cases, using the arguments referencing the 14th Amendment, began selectively incorporating some of the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights while rejecting the incorporation of others.

The courts, through this process of incorporating The Bill of Rights to the States, have changed the Constitution through unconstitutional means, and against original intent.  As originally intended, all provisions in the U.S. Constitution apply to the federal government, unless otherwise noted.  The Bill of Rights was originally intended to apply only to the federal government, and if we are to remain in line with the original intent of the Founding Fathers, State sovereignty must remain protected by that original intent.

Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio was the primary author of the first section of the 14th amendment, and it was his personal intention the Bill of Rights be applied to the States as well.  His argument was that it was necessary in order to secure the civil rights of the newly appointed slaves.  However, most of the representatives during the five months of debate on the floor of Congress argued against incorporating the Bill of Rights to the States, and so when the amendment was agreed upon for proposal, the majority of those involved intended for the 14th Amendment to not influence how the Bill of Rights was applied.  In the beginning, the courts ruled that the Amendment did not extend the Bill of Rights to the States.  It was after the realization that Black Codes were emerging in the South that the courts decided for the purpose of protecting the civil rights of the emancipated slaves, they would begin to apply parts of the Bill of Rights to the States.
Terms:
Black Codes - Laws put in place in the United States after the Civil War with the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of blacks.

Incorporation of the Bill of Rights - The process through court rulings based on the interpretation of the 14th Amendment to apply the Bill of Rights to the States.

Judicial Activism - When judges violate the Separation of Powers through their rulings; when a judge rules legislatively by modifying or striking down a law using the unconstitutional authority of judicial review.

Original Intent - Original meaning of the United States Constitution as intended by the framers during the Federal Convention of 1787, and the subsequent State Ratification Conventions.

Originalist view of the Constitution - View that the Constitution as written should be interpreted in a manner consistent with what was meant by those who drafted and          ratified it.

Questions for Discussion:

1.   Why is the originalist view of the Constitution so important?

2.   How have Statists changed the Constitution through the courts over the last two hundred years?

3.   What is the only legal way to change the Constitution?

4.   Why is the Bill of Rights not a guarantee of individual freedoms?

5.   From where do our rights come from?

6.   How did the Black Codes play a part in the incorporation of the Bill of Rights?

Resources:

14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Civil Rights (1868), Our
Documents dot gov: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=43

Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment was to Protect All Rights (argument
supporting incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States), Constitution dot org (2000): http://www.constitution.org/col/intent_14th.htm

Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder's Constitution -
Volume Five - Amendments 1-12; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987)

Richard L. Aynes, On Misreading John Bingham and the Fourteenth
Amendment (1993): http://www.constitution.org/lrev/aynes_14th.htm

The Fourteenth Amendment and Incorporation, The Tenth Amendment
Center (2010): http://newyork.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/05/the-14th-amendment-and-incorporation/

To Whom Does The Bill Of Rights Apply?, Lew Rockwell dot com
(2005): http://www.lewrockwell.com/browne/browne27.html

What is the Bill of Rights?, About dot com Civil Liberties (argument
supporting incorporation of Bill of Rights to the States:http://civilliberty.about.com/od/historyprofiles/f/what_is_bill.htm



Copyright 2015 Douglas V. Gibbs