The Bill of Rights has been toasted.

The Constitution of the United States is a wonderful document, or at least it was.  It was supposed to outline how our government was supposed to be very limited in scope, and extremely limited responsibility. It wasn’t unanimously accepted when it was first proposed; Massachusetts Compromise

The Bill of Rights was a requirement to the Constitution for it to be ratified, and it included certain protections for citizens from our government. But increasingly lately, it seems that this is more suggestion than practical law, and the Bill of Rights is being trampled by the very government it was supposed to restrain, and “We the People” are allowing it to happen.  I fear that as a Free Country we are finished because of this. Politicians are increasingly self-serving, on all sides. (Even the “Libertarians” fit this description, they just hide it better.) So how much is actually left of the Bill of Rights? Not much.

First let’s look at what the Bill of Rights is and what it was supposed to protect, so that we can dissect how it has been completely trampled. The Bill of Rights consists of the first ten amendments to the original constitution.  Most people know a few of these by heart but we’ll go over all of them.

  1. Congress shall make no lawrespectingan establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercisethereof; 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.
    1. Freedom of Religion
      1. You are free to practice any religion you choose, and the government cannot tell you what religion you are supposed to be.
    2. Freedom of Speech
      1. You are free to say anything you want about our government or its policies and practices, without fear of reprisal, anywhere you want to.
    3. Freedom of the Press
      1. Newspapers, Radio, and TV can also speak the truth about the government and its activities, even if the government doesn’t like it.
    4. Peaceful Assembly
      1. You can gather with other people to protest, to discuss government affairs, and as long as you are peaceful when doing so, the government can’t stop you.
    5. Petition for redress of grievances
      1. The government has to listen to you if you want to bitch at them about something.
  2. A well-regulated Militia, being necessary tothe security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    1. You can own and carry guns, period.
  3. No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house,withoutthe consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in amannerto be prescribed by law.
    1. The government cannot make you let soldiers (or sailors or marines) stay in your home against your will.
  4. The right of the peopleto 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 placeto be searched, and the persons or thingsto be seized.
    1. Rightto be secure
      1. You have a right to privacy, no one can demand anything from you without a warrant
    2. Warrantless searches
      1. Any time you, your property, or your personal information is searched, there must be a warrant based on probable cause that specifically says what is being searched, and what is being searched for.
  5. 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 inactual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offenceto be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal caseto 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.
    1. Grand Jury
      1. You can’t be put on trial for a major crime unless a Grand Jury indicts you for the crime. (Unless you’re in the military.)
    2. Double Jeopardy
      1. You cannot be tried for the same crime twice, period.
    3. You have a right to say nothing
      1. You cannot be forced to testify at your own trial, and not saying anything does not constitute guilt
    4. Due process
      1. You can’t be punished unless you are put on trial first.
    5. Your stuff is yours
      1. The government cannot seize anything that you own unless it pays you for it, and it has to pay you what it is actually worth, not what they think they should pay for it.
  6. 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 shallhave been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law,andto 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.
    1. Speedy Trial
      1. They can’t keep you in jail for no reason, and they have to get to your trial quickly, not when the prosecutor is good and ready
    2. Jury
      1. They have to try you near where the crime was committed, and the jury should be from there as well.
    3. Know charges
      1. They have to tell you what you are accused of doing
    4. Face your Accuser
      1. You get to know who is accusing you of wrongdoing
    5. Witnesses
      1. You get to have witnesses in your favor
    6. Right to counsel
      1. You are allowed to have a lawyer represent you in court
  7. 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.
    1. Right to Jury trial
      1. For anything over 20 bucks, you are allowed to have a trial by jury
    2. Facts are facts
      1. No massaging the jury in order to get a desired outcome.
  8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
    1. Excessive bail
      1. They cannot set your bail at a million dollars for jaywalking.
    2. Excessive fines
      1. They cannot fine you a million dollars for jaywalking
    3. Cruel and Unusual Punishment
      1. They can incarcerate you
      2. They cannot torture you
      3. They can’t get “creative” with punishing you.
  9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
    1. Just because it is not outlined here, does not mean that you do not have a right to it if you would otherwise have that right.
  10. 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.
    1. The only law that the federal government gets to enforce, or power it gets to exert are specifically lined out in the Constitution. If it is not listed here, the federal government is not allowed to do it.

So that’s the short version of the Bill of Rights, and roughly what each amendment means.  Now let’s see how fucked we are as a country, since most of these limitations are now useless. We’ll go one by one, and if any part of an amendment is found to have been violated, that counts.

  1. Freedom of Expression
    1. Freedom of Religion
      1. http://abcnews.go.com/US/judge-orders-colorado-bakery-cater-sex-weddings/story?id=21136505
      2. http://reason.com/archives/2015/04/15/freedom-of-and-from-religion
      3. The practice of my religion (or lack thereof) should have zero impact on the practice of your religion (or lack thereof) forcing me to pay for something for someone else that goes against my religious beliefs is a violation, regardless of whether it is politically correct or right or wrong.
    2. Freedom of Speech
      1. http://www.chron.com/local/education/campus-chronicles/article/Student-sues-Blinn-College-says-free-speech-6275705.php
      2. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/12/07/california-college-settles-first-amendment-suit-with-student/
      3. http://mynorthwest.com/992/2652561/Attorneys-School-violated-student-preachers-first-amendment-rights
      4. Free Speech isn’t supposed to be restricted to zones, or only speech that we “approve” of. You don’t have to be politically correct with free speech.
    3. Freedom of the Press
      1. http://www.wired.com/2014/10/twitter-sues-government/
      2. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13559.html
      3. Changing the medium of Free Speech doesn’t change it protection from restriction
    4. Freedom of Assembly
      1. http://thefreethoughtproject.com/oakland-mayor-orders-anti-protest-curfew-women-children-march-peacefully/
      2. Curfew is not part of the Freedom of Assembly. Any time, any place is fair game. The only place you can’t is private property where the property owner doesn’t want you there. The government doesn’t own ANY private property.
    5. Petition for Redress of Grievances
      1. http://mrconservative.com/2013/09/24888-parent-forcibly-removed-from-town-hall-for-questioning-govts-school-policy/
      2. http://www.democracynow.org/2005/4/8/three_people_forcibly_removed_from_bush
      3. Mr. Government person, I don’t give a shit if you don’t like hearing it, the people have a right to address you, and ask what you are going to do.
  2. Guns (Oh where should I begin! Shit!)
    1. Keep Arms
      1. http://mrconservative.com/2013/12/28148-forceful-gun-confiscation-begins-in-california/
      2. http://hotair.com/archives/2013/04/13/dont-be-fooled-gun-confiscation-has-already-begun-in-ny/
      3. http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/21/va-sends-veterans-medical-info-to-fbi-to-get-their-guns-taken-away/
      4. http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1877b.cfm
      5. I would say that in these cases there has been some infringement on the right to keep arms.
    2. Bear Arms
      1. http://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/fire_fact.shtml
      2. https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/
      3. http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/education-events/hed/gun-licensing-requirements.html
      4. http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Licensing/Concealed-Weapon-License
      5. And the list goes on… Requiring a permit to carry I would think is an infringement on the right to bear arms.
    3. Keep and Bear
      1. https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/national-firearms-act
      2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Control_Act_of_1968
      3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearm_Owners_Protection_Act (Hughes Amendment)
      4. Even the Federal Government is getting in on the game, and they are specifically not allowed to.
  3. No forced quarters
    1. Holy shit, this one hasn’t been touched! Oh wait. Shit
    2. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/08/third-amendment-violated-nev-police-allegedly-invade-familys-home-to-use-during-swat-call-arrest-two-for-obstruction-when-owner-refuses/
    3. (Even though the case above was thrown out, I present this one as precedent.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engblom_v._Carey
  4. Illegal Search and Seizure
    1. Rightto be Privacy (Be secure of your person, property, papers, etc.)
      1. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/us/politics/fisa-surveillance-court-rules-nsa-can-resume-bulk-data-collection.html?_r=0
      2. NSA is all over it.
    2. Warrantless Searches
      1. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/09/nsa-loophole-warrantless-searches-email-calls
      2. NSA gives us a two for one special…
  5. Double Jeopardy, Right to Remain Silent, Due Process, Property Rights
    1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/derekkhanna/2013/07/23/double-jeopardy-and-the-zimmerman-trial-can-he-be-tried-all-over-again/
      1. Simply changing the level of court, or venue because the government didn’t like the verdict in a lower court? Yeah, I would think that counts as double jeopardy. (Same trial, same facts, different jury, different judge)
    2. http://www.npr.org/2014/10/05/353893046/you-have-the-right-to-remain-silent-or-do-you
      1. Apparently anything I don’t say counts against me in court now too.
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2012#Indefinite_detention_without_trial:_Section_1021
      1. Political Dissidents? What about them? Is Due Process a requirement anymore?
    4. http://www.rt.com/usa/199883-irs-structuring-civil-asset-forfeiture/
      1. So they will take your money until you pay them the money they say you owe them with the money they just took from you? Even the Mafia plays fairer than this!
  6. Speedy Trial, Jury of your Peers, Know the Crime, Face your Accuser, Right to witnesses, Right to counsel.
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2012#Indefinite_detention_without_trial:_Section_1021
      1. “Indefinite” does not equal “speedy.”
    2. http://ryansrally.org/2012/02/09/6th-amendment-right-to-face-your-accuser-well-not-always/
      1. Your accuser is a faceless government bureaucracy?
    3. http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2013/12/federal-judge-in-washington-finds-sixth-amendment-violations-from-cuts-to-local-public-defender-prog.html
      1. I guess that having competent defense counsel costs too much.
  7. Jury Trial
    1. http://www.cantonrep.com/article/20130512/news/305129922
      1. Except when you don’t
  8. Excessive Bail, Fines, Punishment
    1. http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/judge_censured_for_excessive_bail_severe_attitude/
    2. http://apublicdefender.com/2009/05/10/what-does-excessive-mean-anymore/
      1. So I guess bail can be whatever the judge says it should be and it’s not excessive
  9. This documentshould be considered restrictions on the government, not on the people.
    1. Really, I have to cite examples, as though every example I’ve already posted isn’t a clear violation?
  10. State’s rights
    1. Seriously? There are so many current cases…

So there it is. The Bill of Rights, which was a requirement from some states before the Constitution would ever be ratified, lays in a heaping pile, having been completely trampled by the very government it was supposed to protect us from after the politicians wiped their asses with it.  I would suggest possibly holding every politician on legal grounds, but the Supreme Court, who is supposed to strictly uphold the Constitution, is complicit in its demise.  It hadn’t even occurred to me how far we’ve fallen until I started putting this list together and really thinking about everything that we’ve lost.

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