Picking Apart the Bill of Rights


The irony of the AP wiretapping scandal is listening to the Press cry apoplectic about the threat to the First Amendment after the Press lead the largest potential restriction of the Second Amendment in a generation.  There are certainly on a micro level very different issues.  But they fit the pattern of constant government assault on the Bill of Rights since 1980.

A forgotten part of the conservative agenda in 1980 was legal reform.  It is forgotten because it was so hugely successful it is now the mainstream thought of both the Left and the Right.  Conservatives believed the liberal Warren Supreme Court of the 1960s had expanded the Fourth and Fifth Amendment’s guarantees to the accused (Nixonian translation “criminals”) over society and victims.  As the War on Drugs accelerated the pendulum swung to law and order.

These Liberal/Conservative Supreme Court cutbacks, particularly in drug and national security cases, fit a pattern of an over grasping Federal Government diluting fundamental rights.  You do not have to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to have concern.  It is precisely the concern the Founders had in writing the Bill of Rights.

So the Federal Government marches on in its collection of power.  Intimidating reporters, restricting gun rights, tolerating warrantless stop and frisk searches, listening to domestic phone and Internet conversations to overseas without a warrant, entering homes without a warrant, searching cars without a warrant …

We all have parts of the Constitution that we find more interesting, more relevant, more inspiring.  But in the end it is a unitary document.  We either all as voters band together to insist on preserving all of it or call a Constitutional Convention to change it.  Perhaps it is time after 225+ years.

But we as voters should express clearly and often that the Federal Government’s job is to protect the Bill of Rights and expand its relevance in the modern world, not cut it back under the guise of national security, “common sense” regulation,  or judicial “exceptional circumstances”.  If we as citizens want any changes, we will call that Constitutional Convention, then let our public servants know what changes we have wrought to the foundations of the Republic.


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