Tag Archives | Constitution

BU ACLU: ‘When Criticizing Rhetoric, Remember Freedom of Speech’

SarahPACToday I received an interesting email from the Boston University ACLU (text below). It’s also on their Facebook Page:

Jared Lee Loughner, charged with Saturday’s shootings, has invoked his right to silence, leaving us ignorant of his motives. Sources disagree on his politics — an acquaintance calls him an “extreme” liberal; a government memo links him to a “racial-realist” journal (one that denies any ties to him). His online writings point to an unhinged mind. But though much remains unclear, people are withdrawing some of their first theories, which rashly labeled the shootings a Tea Party / Republican plot.

Replacing those accusations is a broader look at how the shooter may have responded to intense political rhetoric. Critics again blame the right-wing, mainly Sarah Palin, whose PAC last year produced an image with crosshairs on congressional seats such as Giffords’. It was only a slight escalation from the usual manner of treating politics as war (Targeted districts, swiftboating, battleground states, political campaigns).

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Birther Disrupts Congressional Reading of The Constitution of the United States (Video)

David Weigel writes on Slate:

During the reading of Article II, Section I of the Constitution — the clause that requires the president of the United States to be a “natural born citizen,” an unidentified woman in the gallery screamed “Except Obama! Except Obama!” Politico’s Marin Cogan adds that the woman yelled, “Help us, Jesus!” She was removed immediately.

UPDATE: I’m told that the woman who made the disruption was Theresa Cao, a birther activist and supporter of court-martialed birther Lt. Col. Terry Lakin. On December 16, she told WorldNetDaily that she was “taking his message to the White House and Congress.” She maintains a blog here.

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U.S. Constitution Too Old To Understand?

Liberal blogger Ezra Klein on the U.S. Constitution:

“…My friends on the right don’t like to hear this, but the Constitution is not a clear document. Written more than 200 years ago, when America had 13 states and very different problems, it rarely speaks directly to the questions we ask it. The Second Amendment, for instance, says nothing about keeping a gun in the home if you’ve not signed up with a ‘well-regulated militia,’ but interpreting the Second Amendment broadly has been important to those who want to bear arms. And so they’ve done it…”

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The Impending Police State

policestateabbyVia Media Roots:

In George Orwell’s 1984, Britain is depicted as a totalitarian police state that is ruled by the Party, or Big Brother — an enigmatic, ubiquitous elite that controls society through heavy surveillance, nationalist propaganda and historical revisionism.

The concept seems like a far-fetched portrayal of a Democratic nation’s demise into totalitarianism, but in America’s “post 9/11” climate of fear, the United States government has been building a comprehensive grid of surveillance and control that bears frightening similarities to Orwell’s fictional narrative.

The glaring difference between the two is that Orwell’s dystopian society is overtly totalitarian. America, conversely, operates under a “soft fascism” – an insidious, systematic method of preventative action and corporate top-down control over society’s media, economy and politics – while maintaining the necessary illusion of personal choice and freedom. A populous with little to no concept of their subjugation makes them the perfect subjects to rule.… Read the rest

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Congress Refuses an Article V Convention — Has Our Government Been Hijacked?

Signing of the Constitution. Painting by Howard Chandler Christy.

Signing of the Constitution. Painting by Howard Chandler Christy.

Article V is the only part of the US Constitution that tells how we can change the Constitution. The states, not Congress, propose amendments at an Article V Convention. An Article V Symposium was held at Cooley Law School on September 17, 2010 in Lansing, Michigan. Bill Walker, cofounder of Friends of the Article V Convention, shared how he filed two federal lawsuits stating that Congress was obligated to call an Article V Convention. The latter lawsuit (Walker v. the Members of Congress in 2004) was appealed to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court declared, as it had in three other separate decisions, that Congress must call for an Article V Convention. But Congress has simply refused in violation of the US Constitution.

To listen to Bill Walker’s speech and to the other scholars at the symposium, who all argue that we should want, not fear, an Article V Convention, click on this link.… Read the rest

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Proud Patriot Beats TSA Using iPhone and the Constitution

Backscatter_x-ray_image_womanMany of you will be traveling in the United States this week for the annual Thanksgiving celebrations. At this point no one can be unaware of the new government policy regarding Backscatter X-Ray machines and the option to suffer a humiliating full body pat down (or groping) by TSA agents. Thanks to Matt Kernan, it seems that those of you with sufficient patience and knowledge of the your constitutional rights may have a third option. It’s well worth reading his entire blog post — this is just a taste:

I said, “I am aware that it is policy, but I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional. As a U.S. citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.”

Policy restatement. “You have two options – the Backscatter or the pat down.

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Obama Administration Claims Unchecked Authority to Kill Americans Outside Combat Zones

ACLU/CCRA joint statement by the ACLU and CCR, published recently on CommonDreams.org:

The Obama administration today argued before a federal court that it should have unreviewable authority to kill Americans the executive branch has unilaterally determined to pose a threat. Government lawyers made that claim in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charging that the administration’s asserted targeted killing authority violates the Constitution and international law. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments from both sides today.

“Not only does the administration claim to have sweeping power to target and kill U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, but it makes the extraordinary claim that the court has no role in reviewing that power or the legal standards that apply,” said CCR Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, who presented arguments in the case. “The Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the government’s claim to an unchecked system of global detention, and the district court should similarly reject the administration’s claim here to an unchecked system of global targeted killing.”

The ACLU and CCR were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government’s decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, U.S.

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Senate Candidate O’Donnell Unfamiliar With First Amendment

New York Magazine notes an interesting debate exchange between Delaware Republican candidate for Senate Christine O’Donnell and her opponent Chris Coons: “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” The situation is laden with irony, of course, as O’Donnell was a “Constitutional Government fellow” at the conservative Claremont Institute. This is a pretty good indication of the level of constitutional knowledge in the Tea Bagger movement.

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Kenya Celebrates New Constitution

After a twenty year wait, Kenya finally celebrates their new US-style constitution. The Telegraph reports:

The new US-style laws include a Bill of Rights and reforms to policies designed to address long-held grievances over land stolen by corrupt politicians.

Some 49 bills now have to pass through parliament to bring into effect some of the key parts of the constitution.

Demands for the constitution stretch back to the end of one-party rule by former president Daniel Arap Moi at the beginning of the 1990s.

Two-thirds of Kenyans voted to approve the new document in a referendum held earlier this month.

It was a key plank of the peace deal brokered by Kofi Annan to end the country’s post-election violence in 2008.

“I was just a small girl when we first started talking of this new constitution,” said Jane Karanja, one of thousands who gathered waving Kenya’s black, red and green flag at a Nairobi park for the ceremony.

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You Have The Right To Photograph Federal Buildings – So Long As You Don’t Actually Try It

One of Matt Urick's photos

One of Matt Urick's photos

Why do we put up with this kind of police state nonsense? Good to see Washington’s mainstream newspaper, the Post, highlighting the issue:

A few weeks ago, on his way to work, Matt Urick stopped to snap a few pictures of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s headquarters. He thought the building was ugly but might make for an interesting photo. The uniformed officer who ran up to him didn’t agree. He told Urick he was not allowed to photograph federal buildings.

Urick wanted to tell the guard that there are pictures of the building on HUD’s Web site, that every angle of the building is visible in street views on Google Maps and that he was merely an amateur photographer, not a threat. But Urick kept all this to himself.

“A lot of these guys have guns and are enforcing laws they obviously don’t understand, and they are not to be reasoned with,” he said.

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