Constitution

No sympathy...

...the Gang of 12 was a turkey from the get-go and unconstitutional to boot—so it's a little hard to be heartbroken over this and by extension, this.

Saturday, September 17th, is Constitution Day

From Heritage:

10 Ways to Celebrate Constitution Day

September 17th is Constitution Day. 224 years ago, America’s Founders ratified a new Constitution that would form a more perfect union and secure the blessings of liberty. Here are 10 easy ways you and your family can celebrate Constitution Day:

    1)      Read it [1]. The Constitution is only a few pages long, well-organized, and clearly written. Now is a great time to clear up any misconceptions you might have about the Constitution. Did you know that the Constitution doesn’t limit voting only to rich, white males [2]?

2)      Pass out copies of pocket Constitutions to your friends and coworkers. Can’t get a hold of pocket Constitutions? Email your friends and coworkers the link [1] to an online copy of the Constitution.

3)      Take a Constitution quiz online. ConstitutionFacts.com offers both a simple [3] and an advanced [4] quiz.

4)      Learn about the Framers of the Constitution. Check out Heritage’s Founders Almanac [5] for short bios and important quotes of some of the key Founders. Can’t decide which Founder you like best? Take the Constitution Center’s Which Founder are You [6]? quiz.

5)      Discover the ideas behind the Constitution. The Federalist Papers [7] are the most famous Founding era essays on the Constitution. To learn more about the history and context of America’s Founding principles and the subsequent challenge to them posed by progressivism and modern liberalism, check out Heritage’s We Still Hold These Truths [8].

6)      Learn about the threat posed by Judicial Activism. Check out Order in the Court [9] to see how judges are undermining core principles of the Constitution. Did you know that some judges have used foreign law to overturn US law [10]? See how the “living document [11]” theory has been used to undermine the constitution.

7)      Make sure your kids understand the Constitution. Read the Constitution together as a family. Discuss the importance of the Constitution at the dinner table. For younger children, check out Heritage’s Understanding America [12] series for easy-to-read explanations of some of the core principles which the constitution defends. Do you have older children, perhaps some in college? Send them a copy of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution [13].

8)      Share what you know about the Constitution. One of the best ways to ensure the Constitution is remembered is to share what you know and learn about it with those around you. Post a blog. Submit an article to your local newspaper about the importance of the Constitution.

9)      Watch a movie about the Founding era1776 [14] is great fun for the whole family.  For a more in-depth and sophisticated portrayal of the Founding era, try the HBO miniseries on John Adams [15]. Want to enjoy some mindless patriotic fun? See if Captain America is still in theatres.

10)   Spread the word in your local community. Find out if your local community has a Constitution Day celebration or festival [16]. Donate copies of We Still Hold These Truths [8]and The Heritage Guide to the Constitution [13] to your local library and school. Urge your local school board commemorate the day as well.

Happy Constitution Day!

The "Gang of 12" is unconstitutional--period

At The Foundry yesterday:

The newly formed Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction holds its first meeting this week. The 12-member panel will gather at 10:30 a.m. Thursday for an organizational session, then meet again on Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m. for a hearing on “The History and Drivers of Our Nation’s Debt and Its Threats.”
 

The committee is chaired by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and tasked with the goal of finding $1.5 trillion in savings to reduce the federal deficit. It’s not an easy goal, made even more challenging by the bleak future facing America.

The problem is Washington’s addiction to spending. For far too long both Republicans and Democrats have expanded government a pace that now threatens prosperity. Future generations of taxpayers are now on the hook for increasing levels of debt. The amount of debt per citizen will soon skyrocket...

Brian Darling, a senior fellow for Government Studies at The Heritage Foundation, wrote recently:

....The congressional Super Committee on the budget needs transparency.  It should operate with input from the American people.
 

The 12-member Super Committee was created as part of the legislation raising the debt ceiling.  It has been charged with finding $1.5 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.  Officially known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, it was set up for the purpose of providing “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly improve the short-term and long-term fiscal imbalance of the federal government.”

To provide transparency and to allow the American people to participate in this very important process, a few actions should be taken by the Super Committee.

First, each committee in the House and Senate are mandated by law to transmit recommendations to the Super Committee by Oct. 14.  All of those recommendations should be shared with the American public.

Next, there is no provision in the law mandating that the American people get to attend hearings or participate in the legislative process before the final report of the committee.  At a minimum, a draft of the final proposal should be shared with the American public before the committee’s final vote in late November.

The hearings should be public.  The law says that the Super Committee “may” hold hearings.  The law does not force transparency on the members of the committee.  Yet this legislative process needs to be open to the public to allow the American people to participate.  Secret meetings and closed-door negotiations have no place in politics today.

No kidding.  Unfortunately for Heritage, though, this kind of discussion merely legitimizes an idea that has no legitimacy to begin with.  They need to take a few courses from this guy:

As Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  What happened to SPQR? The Roman Republic devolved into the Roman Empire but the Roman Senate was kept around for show, to lull folks who weren't really paying attention into thinking things hadn't fundamentally changed.  Seem familiar?

Just sayin.'

The Eighteenth Century Meets the Twenty-First Century in NYS

A little history: The British government generally looked at the American colonies as a money making enterprise. Consequently, they passed many revenue collection bills aimed at generating as much money from the colonists as possible. The colonists naturally resented this and engaged in substantial smuggling operations in order to get around the customs taxes imposed by the British government.

In response, Parliament and the King began to use "writs of assistance," legal search warrants that were very broad and general in their scope. Customs agents could obtain a writ of assistance to search any property they believed might contain contraband goods...

James Otis, a Boston lawyer, represented a group of over 50 merchants who sued the government claiming that the writs of assistance were unjust. His speech condemning British policies, including writs of assistance and general search warrants, was so powerful and eloquent, that it was heard of throughout the colonies and catapulted him to a place of leadership in the swelling tide of disillusionment toward Great Britain.

Future President, John Adams, who was 25 at the time, was sitting in the courtroom and heard Otis' famous speech that day. Later he said,

"The child independence was then and there born, every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance."

On June 8, 1789, James Madison proposed to the First Congress twenty amendments to be added to the Constitution. One of these amendments, that dealt with search and seizure laws, became what we know as the 4th Amendment.

***

Fast forward to NYS in 2011: Senate Bill 1669 has been introduced and is currently in the Committee on Children and Families....Under the 4th Amendment you have the right to be free from unlawful searches or seizures of your property. In order to overcome your opposition to the searching of your property, the Constitution requires a court order based on probable cause or exigent (emergency) circumstances that preclude the requirement of a court order. 

Under Senate Bill 1669, no probable cause is necessary and no emergency situation is needed to get an order to come into your home. Under the Constitution an anonymous tip would never be adequate for probable cause.  Additionally, we are presumed innocent under the laws of our nation and the Constitution. The mere refusal by an individual to allow the government agent into their home would not satisfy the probable cause standard.

 

In 2009 in New York, the most recent year that statistics are available, there were 168,658 reports of abuse and neglect. Of these, 111,958 (or over 66%) were determined to be unfounded; 54,156 (or barely 32%) were "indicated." In New York a report is indicated if "an investigation determines that some credible evidence of the alleged abuse or maltreatment exists." An indicated report does not mean that the person has been found guilty of abuse or neglect.

 

New York is also unlike nearly all of other states that either screen in or screen out reports based upon what is actually reported. Therefore, anyone can make an allegation that must be investigated by social services. Under Senate Bill 1669, if an individual is the subject of a ridiculous allegation and he refuses let the social worker into his home, a court order will be issued to enter the home simply because the individual said "no."

 

There is no known hearing scheduled on the bill; just keep an eye on it, people.

There is hope

Whoa, who knew?  There's an ongoing Freedom and Free Societies group at Cornell:

We aim to enhance understanding and appreciation for constitutional liberty, by stimulating inquiry into the nature and meaning of freedom. We regard the freedom of individuals as the bedrock upon which solutions to thorny problems can be built. But, individual freedom flourishes best in the framework of institutions. Constitutional democracy, limited government, and a strong sense of citizenship are essential.

In the United States, these institutions go back to the era of the American Founding and were forged anew in the Civil War. They depend in turn on the Western political experience on which the Founders drew, going back to the Republics of classical antiquity....

And there's a talk today, Thursday, February 17th, by the former director of the Congressional Budget Office:

There are upcoming talks scheduled as well, and I'll post those as soon as I get a moment. Thanks to Ed Weissman at the Ithaca Tea Party for passing this along.

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