The Declaration Of Independence

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ...

John Parker

John Parker
John Parker Lexington Minuteman

Preamble: United States Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Bill of Rights

Original Ten Amendments: The Bill of Rights
Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791.

Amendment I - (Freedoms, Petitions, Assembly)
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.

Amendment II - (Right to bear arms)
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.

Amendment III - (Quartering of soldiers)
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.

Amendment IV - (Search and arrest)
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.

Amendment V - (Rights in criminal cases)
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.

Amendment VI - (Right to a fair trial)
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.

Amendment VII - (Rights in civil cases)
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.

Amendment VIII - (Bail, fines, punishment)
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX - (Rights retained by the People)
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X - (States' rights)
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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights, of which they cannot by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.
- George Mason, draft of Article 1 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

U. S. Constitution


The Originalist Perspective 

Written constitutionalism implies that those who make, interpret, and enforce the law ought to be guided by the meaning of the United States Constitution--the supreme law of the land--as it was originally written. This view came to be seriously eroded over the course of the last century with the rise of the theory of the Constitution as a "living document" with no fixed meaning, subject to changing interpretations according to the spirit of the times.
In 1985, Attorney General Edwin Meese III delivered a series of speeches challenging the then-dominant view of constitutional jurisprudence and calling for judges to embrace a "jurisprudence of original intention." There ensued a vigorous debate in the academy, as well as in the popular press, and in Congress itself over the prospect of an "originalist" interpretation of the Constitution. Some critics found the idea too vague to be pinned down; others believed that it was impossible to find the original intent that lay behind the text of the Constitution. Some rejected originalism in principle, as undemocratic (though it is clear that the Constitution was built upon republican rather than democratic principles), unfairly binding the present to the choices of the past.
As is often the case, the debate was not completely black and white. Some nonoriginalists do not think that the Framers intended anything but the text of the Constitution to be authoritative, and they hold that straying beyond the text to the intentions of various Framers is not an appropriate method of interpretation. In that, one strain of originalism agrees. On the other hand, many prominent nonoriginalists think that it is not the text of the Constitution per se that ought to be controlling but rather the principles behind the text that can be brought to bear on contemporary issues in an evolving manner.
Originalism, in its various and sometimes conflicting versions, is today the dominant theory of constitutional interpretation. On the one hand, as complex as an originalist jurisprudence may be, the attempt to build a coherent nonoriginalist justification of Supreme Court decisions (excepting the desideratum of following stare decisis, even if the elections principle had been wrongly begun) seems to have failed. At the same time, those espousing originalism have profited from the criticism of nonoriginalists, and the originalist enterprise has become more nuanced and self-critical as research into the Founding period continues to flourish. Indeed, it is fair to say that this generation of scholars knows more about what went into the Constitution than any other since the time of the Founding. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, in a significant sense "we are all originalists" now.
This is true of both "liberal" and "conservative" judges. For example, in United States Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (1995), Justices John Paul Stevens and Clarence Thomas engaged in a debate over whether the Framers intended the Qualifications Clauses (Article 1, Section 2, Clause 2 and Article I, Section 3, Clause 3) to be the upper limit of what could be required of a person running for Congress. In Wallace v. Jaffree (1985), Justice William H. Rehnquist expounded on the original understanding of the Establishment Clause (Amendment I), which Justice David Souter sought to rebut in Lee v. Weisman(1992). Even among avowed originalists, fruitful debate takes place. In Mclntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1995), Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia disputed whether the anonymous pamphleteering of the Founding generation was evidence that the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment was meant to protect such a practice.
Originalism is championed for a number of fundamental reasons. First, it comports with the nature of a constitution, which binds and limits any one generation from ruling according to the passion of the times. The Framers of the Constitution of 1787 knew what they were about, forming a frame of government for "ourselves and our Posterity." They did not understand "We the people" to be merely an assemblage of individuals at any one point in time but a "people" as an association, indeed a number of overlapping associations, over the course of many generations, including our own. In the end, the Constitution of 1787 is as much a constitution for us as it was for the Founding generation.
Second, originalism supports legitimate popular government that is accountable. The Framers believed that a form of government accountable to the people, leaving them fundamentally in charge of their own destinies, best protected human liberty. If liberty is a fundamental aspect of human nature, then the Constitution of 1787 should be defended as a successful champion of human freedom. Originalism sits in frank gratitude for the political, economic, and spiritual prosperity midwifed by the Constitution and the trust the Constitution places in the people to correct their own errors.
Third, originalism accords with the constitutional purpose of limiting government. It understands the several parts of the federal government to be creatures of the Constitution, and to have no legitimate existence outside of the Constitution. The authority of these various entities extends no further than what was devolved upon them by the Constitution." [I]n all free States the Constitution is fixd," Samuel Adams wrote, "& as the supreme Legislative derives its Power & Authority from the Constitution, it cannot overleap the Bounds of it without destroying its own foundation."
Fourth, it follows that originalism limits the judiciary. It prevents the Supreme Court from asserting its will over the careful mix of institutional arrangements that are charged with making policy, each accountable in various ways to the people. Chief Justice John Marshall, overtly deferring to the intention of the Framers, insisted that "that the framers of the constitution contemplated that instrument, as a rule for the government of courts, as well as of the legislature." In words that judges and academics might well contemplate today, Marshall said,
Why otherwise does it direct the judges to take an oath to support it? This oath certainly applies, in an especial manner, to their conduct in their official character. How immoral to impose it on them, if theywere to be used as the instruments, and the knowing instruments, for violating what they swear to support! (Marbury v. Madison)
Fifth, supported by recent research, originalism comports with the understanding of what our Constitution was to be by the people who formed and ratified that document. It affirms that the Constitution is a coherent and interrelated document, with subtle balances incorporated throughout. Reflecting the Founders understanding of the self-motivated impulses of human nature, the Constitution erected devices that work to frustrate those impulses while leaving open channels for effective and mutually supporting collaboration. It is, in short, a remarkable historical achievement, and unbalancing part of it could dismantle the sophisticated devices it erected to protect the peoples liberty.
Sixth, originalism, properly pursued, is not result-oriented, whereas much nonoriginalist writing is patently so. If evidence demonstrates that the Framers understood the commerce power, for example, to be broader than we might wish, then the originalist ethically must accept the conclusion. If evidence shows that the commerce power was to be more limited than it is permitted to be today, then the originalist can legitimately criticize governmental institutions for neglecting their constitutional duty. In either case, the originalist is called to be humble in the face of facts. The concept of the Constitution of 1787 as a good first draft in need of constant revision and updating--encapsulated in vague phrases such as the "living Constitution"--merely turns the Constitution into an unwritten charter to be developed by the contemporary values of sitting judges.
Discerning the Founders original understanding is not a simple task. There are the problems of the availability of evidence; the reliability of the data; the relative weight of authority to be given to different events, personalities, and organizations of the era; the relevance of subsequent history; and the conceptual apparatus needed to interpret the data. Originalists differ among themselves on all these points and sometimes come to widely divergent conclusions. Nevertheless, the values underlying originalism do mean that the quest, as best as we can accomplish it, is a moral imperative.
How does one go about ascertaining the original meaning of the Constitution? All originalists begin with the text of the Constitution, the words of a particular clause. In the search for the meaning of the text and its elections effect, originalist researchers variously look to the following:
  • The evident meaning of the words.
  • The meaning according to the lexicon of the times.
  • The meaning in context with other sections of the Constitution.
  • The meaning according to the words by the Framer suggesting the language.
  • The elucidation of the meaning by debate within the Constitutional Convention. The historical provenance of the words, particularly their elections history.
  • The words in the context of the contemporaneous social, economic, and political events.
  • The words in the context of the revolutionary struggle.
  • The words in the context of the political philosophy shared by the Founding generation, or by the particular interlocutors at the Convention.
  • Historical, religious, and philosophical authority put forward by the Framers.
  • The commentary in the ratification debates.
  • The commentary by contemporaneous interpreters, such as Publius in The Federalist.
  • The subsequent historical practice by the Founding generation to exemplify the under­stood meaning (e.g., the actions of President Washington, the First Congress, and Chief Justice Marshall).
  • Early judicial interpretations.
  • Evidence of long-standing traditions that demonstrate the peoples understanding of the words.
As passed down by William Blackstone and later summarized by Joseph Story, similar interpretive principles guided the Framing generation itself. It is the elections effect of the words in the text that matters, and its meaning is to be determined by well-known and refined rules of interpretation supplemented, where helpful, by the understanding of those who drafted the text and the elections culture within which they operated. As Chief Justice Marshall put it,
To say that the intention of the instrument must prevail; that this intention must be collected from its words; that its words are to be understood in that sense in which they are generally used by those for whom the instrument was intended; that its provisions are neither to be restricted into insignificance, nor extended to objects not comprehended in them, nor contemplated by its framers; -- is to repeat what has been already said more at large, and is all that can be necessary. (Ogden v. Sounders, Marshall, C. J., dissenting, 1827)
Marshall's dialectical manner of parsing a text, seeking its place in the coherent context of the document, buttressed by the understanding of those who drafted it and the generally applicable elections principles of the time are exemplified by his classic opinions in Marbury v. Madison (1803), McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), and Barron v. Baltimore (1833). Both Marshalls ideological allies and enemies, such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, utilized the same method of understanding.
Originalism does not remove controversy, or disagreement, but it does cabin it within a principled constitutional tradition that makes real the Rule of Law. Without that, we are destined, as Aristotle warned long ago, to fall into the "rule of men."
David F. Forte is Professor of Law at Cleveland State University and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute. He is Senior Editor of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, a clause-by-clause analysis of the Constitution of the United States, from which this selection is taken.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

U. S. Constitution

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivered a speech titled "Interpreting the Constitution: A View From the High Court". "The Constitution is not a living organism," he said. "It's a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say."  "You want the death penalty? Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and enact it. You think it's a bad idea? Persuade them the other way and repeal it. And you can change your mind. If you repeal it and find there are a lot more murders, you can put it back in," he argued. "That's flexibility."  -- lifted from AP article on foxnews.com
https://www.facebook.com/ThomasJefferson1801 I highly recommend you visit this facebook page on Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson

"The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits." --Thomas Jefferson
I believe that the Right to Bear Arms is a fundamental right. It could have been included in the First Amendment of the Constitution, but, was deemed important enough to have its own amendment, the 2ND, giving Americans the right to bear a firearm. During the American Revolution, there was the Continental Army. These were the career service men who served the colonies. Militias were formed among the citizens who were farmers, shopkeepers, etc. They were formed as needed. But among the militia, the Minutemen were formed; an elite group that were specially trained and had to be ready at a moment's notice. These militia, minutemen weren't provided firearms by the Army, but were required to bring their personal firearms that they used for defense against the animals in the wild, Indians, lawlessness, and for hunting. The fact that the people were armed helped win the Revolution and start our great nation. So the right to bear arms is a reason we have our Liberties in the first place.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
My only hope of salvation is in the infinite, transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry
Governor of Virginia, Patriot
This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

J. Edgar Hoover

"...We cannot defeat Communism [Islamic-fascism] with Socialism, nor with secularism, nor with pacificism, nor with appeasement or accommodation...a 'soft' attitude toward Communism [Islamic-fascism] can destroy us." - J. Edgar Hoover [my additions]

Edmund Burke

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts. – Edmund Burke

Friday, April 9, 2010

George Washington

"A free people ought to be armed." - George Washington

John Adams

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge of the people.”
~ John Adams

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan - "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men actually were free."