The Bill of Rights amended the Constitution in 1781, less than two years after initial adoption. The founders knew individual rights demanded protection in America’s framework and as such, were separately drawn up, proposed, debated, passed and ratified over time, with deliberate planning to be clear and sure.
As the CPAC meets in Florida at the present time, conservatives leaders have wisely decided to spotlight the Bill Of Rights and examine current threats. Let’s refresh our understanding of this landmark document and note its precarious standing in 2021.
– Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press
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.
We can agree that the Federal Government is not directly infringing on this right as no law violates this amendment. However, statements by members of Congress pressuring Big Tech for censorship, a wall around the Capitol and the failure to listen to Americans impacted by covid lockdowns could be construed as a violation of the 1st amendment. The Supreme Court would need a clear basis for ruling on any 1st amendment case. Free speech, religious freedom and freedom of assembly both in person and virtual ARE under assault, just not from Congress in a manner consistent with the Constitution.
– The 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.
The text of this amendment has led to court interpretation over meaning, scope and jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has set precedent that the individual rights to gun ownership for multiple purposes is constitutional. As such, current restrictions by the Federal government to enforce existing laws or regulations could be challenged. Moreover, impending gun control plans may clearly be contested as unconstitutional if brought to fruition. (see Wednesdays’ article https://therepublic1776.com/2021/02/24/dictators-and-gun-control-plans/)
– The Housing 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.
While the housing of soldiers is not a current issue, some argue that federal agents using internet access can maintain a presence in the homes of American citizens. While a stretch, this more clearly could be viewed as a 4th amendment violation.
– Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
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.
Internet privacy and online censorship have emerged as major concerns of ordinary Americans who wish to keep basic liberties intact. Federal agencies targeting political groups could classify as relevant to the 4th amendment as would federal surveillance without warrants or probable cause.
– Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property
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 offense 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.
Notably, “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” is often mentioned when the state, whether the legislative or executive branch, limit individual freedoms. Legal precedent often negates these contests as long as fair hearing or legal deliberation has occurred.
Amendments 6-10 have less relevancy to today’s debate but are provided below.
– Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases
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 defense.
– 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 reexamined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.
– Excessive Bail, Fines, and Punishments Forbidden
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
– Other Rights Kept by the People
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
– Undelegated Powers Kept by the States and the People
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.
Amendment text and titles sourced from https://nccs.net/
Now, more than ever, it is vital to be aware of our rights and decide individually whether they are being infringed upon. As most media sources will not cover the topics or will with extreme boas, it is our obligation to protect the Republic!