Constitution

The Bill of Rights: The Rights of the Accused

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Among the legitimate purposes of government is the punishment of those who violate the rights of others through the commission of violent or forceful acts, such as murder, rape, robbery, theft, burglary, or trespass. As the Framers understood, however, the matter does not end there because an important inquiry immediately arises: How do we ensure that people are not ... [click for more]

How the Enemy Combatant Label Is Being Used, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 On Monday, October 4, the Supreme Court declined to consider a petition filed by Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. Al-Marri is perhaps the least well known of the three persons who have been held in the United States as enemy combatants. The decision was unsurprising yet still disappointing. Al-Marri, who has been waiting for nearly three ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Trial by Jury

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The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part as follows: 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.... Trial by jury is one of the essential prerequisites of a free society. As our ... [click for more]

How the Enemy Combatant Label Is Being Used, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 On Monday, October 4, the Supreme Court declined to consider a petition filed by Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. Al-Marri is perhaps the least well known of the three persons who have been held in the United States as enemy combatants. The decision was unsurprising yet still disappointing. Al-Marri, who has been waiting for nearly three ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Due Process of Law

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One of the most deeply rooted principles in American jurisprudence is the concept of due process of law, which is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Due process of law actually stretches back to the year 1215, when the ... [click for more]

Take the Constitution Seriously in the Second Term

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Should President Bush declare a mandate and push ahead with his agenda or extend an olive branch of conciliation to his opponents? This is a typical false alternative that American politics often presents. He should do neither. Instead, he should do what on January 20 he will declare he is obligated to do. On Inauguration Day he will swear, as the ... [click for more]

Kerry Doesn’t Know What a Right Is

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Not that this disqualifies him from being president, but Senator John F. Kerry proved in Fridays debate that he misunderstands Americas founding philosophy and the U.S. Constitution. (If that disqualified someone from being president, few would qualify.) Kerry showed his ignorance when asked why someone who regards abortion as murder should be forced to pay for it. Regardless of ones ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Searches and Seizures

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The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is rooted in the horrific government abuses arising from “general warrants” in English history and “writs of assistance” in British colonial history in America. With the aim of protecting the American people from similar abuses at the hands of U.S. federal officials, the Fourth Amendment was worded as follows: The right of ... [click for more]

Swift Boat Censorship

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The recent hot topics of American politics — John Kerry’s service in the Vietnam War, whether he lied about it, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads claiming that he lied, and George Bush’s reaction to those ads — seem to have come right out of an alternate dimension. ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Antipathy to Militarism

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The Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “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.” Obviously, the Third Amendment has little relevance today. But what is relevant for us today is the mindset that ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Freedom of Speech

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When the Constitution was being proposed to our American ancestors in 1787, many people expressed the concern that the document failed to specify the fundamental rights of the people that would be immune from assault by federal officials. The response to that argument was that since the Constitution expressly restricted the government to specified, enumerated powers, and since those powers ... [click for more]

Lessons about Our Constitution from Abu Ghraib

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Those who think that the U.S. Constitution is an antiquated document with no relevance to modern times might want to consider how federal officials would operate in the absence of constitutional restraints. The best evidence for such a thought experiment exists in Iraq, where U.S. officials have had ... [click for more]
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