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The Three Constitutions - Which One do You Defend
Outpost of Freedom
May 3, 2014
What? Three Constitutions? What must he be talking about?
What we will be looking at is that there are, in the minds of various people, especially those within certain vocations, who perceive the Constitution from a perspective differently than others might. It may appear that when we speak of the Constitution, we think that we are all speaking of the same document. However, we will explore whether there is a document attached, at all, to one of these perspectives; what minimal role the original Constitution plays in another perspective, and finally, the Constitution, as written and intended by the Framers.
Well, the conversation began when I was talking with an Oath Keeper. I had asked, regarding their stated of purpose of keeping their oaths by not obeying unconstitutional laws, just how they interpreted the Constitution. My query was whether that interpretation included the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution they had "sworn an oath to". Well, how do those come into play?
It that phone conversation with an Oath Keeper, that I first asked the question, "Which of the three Constitutions do they affix their oath of allegiance and obedience to?” Of course, he was as perplexed as I had been until the reality formulated in my head. So, let's venture into the realm of, "I knew that, I just didn't realize it".
The Fourth Amendment:
"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."
I have no trouble reading the words. Quite simply, they say that "Writs of Assistance" are no longer recognized in this country and that "unreasonable searches and seizures" cannot be conducted. That means, you can't search to find something that might incriminate a person, you have to have a Warrant, which must be issued based upon "probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and, particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized." It is clearly the intent of the Framers that the Warrant must be based upon knowledge of a crime, identifying the person or object to be seized. A judge, not a cop, must sign the Warrant and it is supported by an oath, which must be based upon personal knowledge.
Now, this is a tough concept to those of us who have been raised in a world where that line, as defined by the Constitution, and that which we recognize to have moved by interpretation, has been so blurred that we accept the latter, without due consideration of the former. (To understand how this worked in the time of our Founders, see Are Cops Constitutional?)
However, before we get to how this applies, we must visit, also, the Fifth Amendment, or at least a part of it:
"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 offence 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."
Let's start by attempting to understand what the (perhaps intentionally archaic) phrase, "held to answer" means. Well, I answer when I go to court to "answer" to the charges. Simple enough. So, let's go to the other, "held". Well, if you are arrested, you are held or detained. Again, quite simple.
Now, let's visit the next portion, "for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime". We all know what capital is, and, with a little research we find the "infamous crime" transitioned into "felony", though its original meaning did carry with it a crime that could result in imprisonment for a year and a day, or more. Those crimes had to be against person or property. They were never, at least back then, applied to a rule violation, as they are in many states, now.
So, putting these two elements together and coupling it with the final provision of this portion of the Amendment, we get paraphrasing, based upon interpretation of the wording and apply it to our language of today:
No person may be arrested and charged in a court of justice (yes, that is what they were called back then, not a court of law), for the serious crimes bearing either the death penalty or over one year in prison, that crime being against person or property, unless a Grand Jury, comprised of "good and honest men" determine that there is probably cause that the crime alleged did appear to have taken place.
To better understand what was intended, I might direct you to The Right to Self Defense , which discusses both arrest, under the Constitution, and killing a law enforcement office attempting to serve an unlawful warrant. Yes, he could kill that officer.
Have you every scratched your head when someone is "arrested for resisting arrest"? First, where is the warrant demonstrating that he was to be arrested for resisting arrest? Second, where is the warrant for the alleged crime that he is to have committed, warranting the arrest that he was arrested for resisting? Wait! Where is our Constitution? Has it, too, been arrested? The answer to that last is, unequivocally, yes. So, let's venture into that First Constitution.
Superiors tell Law enforcement officers what they can, and what they cannot, do. They accept those instructions as if they were firmly grounded in the Constitution; whether by deception or assertion of their "them or us" authority. Regardless, both the Second and Third Constitutions will be violated by this activity.
Before we get to that, we have to think back to many situations, mostly in those two unconstitutionally undeclared wars, on drugs and terrorism. Well, that can't be all bad, can it?
As we have seen in Interstate highway stops, resulting in unlawful searches, they have been challenged in the Supreme Court. So, the Court decided that "just searching because of suspicion" doesn't pass muster (note that I didn't say "constitutionality, which will be addressed, shortly). However, once the person is no longer detained as the result of the traffic stop, whether valid or not, the rules change. The officer can then, after he has said, "you are free to go", ask for permission to search. If the answer is yes, he searches. If the answer is no, then he can justify "suspicion", based upon the answer, even though he may have to call the drug or explosive smelling dogs, he has achieved the point of an unconstitutional search, the Constitution notwithstanding.
So, this began, and not just in the highway searches, as an act by the officer, firmly believing that he has constitutional authority, because his boss told him he could do it -- just obeying orders, sir -- an act has been committed outside of any reasonable constitutional authority.
Thus concludes the First Constitution.
Now, let us examine the Second Constitution. When the Supreme Court ventures into a matter before it, when they rule, we assume that the ruling is based upon the "constitutionality". Silly us, we are so deceived. Let's take a decision made just a few days ago, Hedges v. Obama, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-758, wherein the Court said that Hedges had no standing to challenge the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as unconstitutional. Why can't we challenge a law, made by the legislature, or even an administrative agency, to see if we are bound by that which the law applies?
Here is what James Madison said about laws in Federalist Paper #62:
It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?
So, did they rule on the Constitutionality, as we would expect? No, they did not; they only said that they won't hear the matter, since Hedges had no standing. But, more about standing, shortly. Just remember this, "Rule #5", as we continue.
Now, let's look at another decision from 2012, dealing with Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius, Supreme Court, No. 11-393. This is the case that many of us are familiar with because of Chief Justice Robert's opinion, wherein he held that the "penalty" described in the Statute was not, in fact, a penalty, rather that it was a "tax". Well, was he addressing constitutionality? Now, just remember "Rule #7".
Finally, at least in subject matter for consideration of the Second Constitution, let's look at our belief that the Supreme Court rules on the Constitutionality of most, if not all, of the matters before it. I will refer to Rules #1, #2, #3, #4, and #6. Well, that's all of the Rules, and you can find out what that means, in the words of Justice Brandeis, by going to About Ashwander v. TVA.
So, the Second Constitution is the one that most believe to be the "real" Constitution, as set forth by the Framers. Instead, we find that it is the "Constitution" promulgated (or, should I say foisted upon us?) by a Supreme Court that is unclear or ambiguous in their decisions, or is simply codifying the incremental expansion of police powers by slowly decimating our rights, from case to case, extending those powers to law enforcement and other agencies of government. Most attorneys (if not all) are taught this as Constitutional Law, most often dealing with cases decided after the early 1900s. After all, many of them are in direct conflict with the John Bad Elk decision from the Self Defense article (linked above). It was in the late 1800s that Yale began teaching case law instead of substantive law. That change allowed the Court to avoid consideration of constitutionality, in favor of what has resulted in incrementally undermining the written word and the intent of the Framers, along with our Rights, in favor of what can best be described as a Despotic government -- death of the Constitution -- by judicial activism.
So, on to the Third Constitution. This does not require any special skills, it only requires that you get a copy of the Constitution, remove those preconceived notions (based upon the above) of what you have been lead to believe it says, and digest each and every word of it.
So, what we have seen is that the First Constitution is an interpretation by a chief law enforcement officer who believes that he has to give his "troops" a greater discretion in fighting the evils of "them", whether under the guise of the War on Drugs, terrorism, Officer Safety, or any other rationalization. This, then, becomes a practice that, when it appears to violate the Constitution, will be challenged by an individual, an organization, ACLU, SPLC, or even the Justice Department, for the purpose of getting a ruling from the Supreme Court, hopefully to obtain an extension of police powers or a further encroachment on our Rights. But, have no fear. They will run this same gauntlet, yet again, to revise the Second Constitution, each time, granting more powers and obscuring more rights. Each of these is a subversion of the Constitution that created the very government that is intent upon destroying the limitations within the Document, and expanding those powers that were intended to be limited.
So, the final question for you to answer is, which Constitution have you taken your Oath to?
This article can be found on line at The Three Constitutions - Which One do You Defend