Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

. . . says Obama as he reverses his position on indefinite detention.

. . . says the House as it debates a bill that would crush free expression on the Internet.

. . . says the Border Patrol, as it declares that giving a ride to an undocumented immigrant is illegal.

Cato’s Tim Lynch reviews the sorry state of the Bill of Rights.  And his list is of course by no means comprehensive.

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30 Responses to “Happy Bill of Rights Day!”

  1. #1 |  Difster | 

    Wow on all counts. *Shakes head, walks away*

  2. #2 |  Sailor | 

    Still Void Where Prohibited by Law.

  3. #3 |  Thom | 

    I’m sure that the new ability of the military to apprehend and detain American citizens on American soil without due process will only be used prudently and in the spirit in which is was passed, just like the PATRIOT Act has been.

  4. #4 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    RE: Indefinite Detention…

    So are we all insurgents now, Mr. Obama. Not too hopey/changey now, are you Barrack.

  5. #5 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Support for indefinite detention of American citizens officially makes Obama and his congressional cohorts traitors.

  6. #6 |  GaryM | 

    So it’s illegal (by definition) for illegal aliens to stay, but it’s also illegal to help them leave.

  7. #7 |  goober1223 | 

    At least Sheriff Joe is getting a slap on the wrist? Seems like it should be much more than that, though.

  8. #8 |  Nick T. | 

    The Bill of Rights, even for 220 years old, looks like total shit.

    The NDAA doesn’t actually make detention of American citizens more or less likely it simply codifies it’s current state, which sadly has been interpretted by the Administration and some courts to be legally permitted even where there are no charges and no trial. Obama apologists are desperately clinging to the fact that the Bill doesn’t say “and you can even do this to American citizens” but it certainly doesn’t exempt them, and in fact, given the current state of things, it could be read to enshrine the current interpretations and thus endorsing those views.

    The bill had a provision in one version that exempted American citizens, but Obama wanted that piece out. Now it’s out. Just an awful day all around, and somehow very little media attention.

  9. #9 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    A complete downer, on all counts.

  10. #10 |  freedomfan | 

    As Nick T.‘s comment notes:

    Obama apologists are desperately clinging to the fact that the Bill doesn’t say “and you can even do this to American citizens” but it certainly doesn’t exempt them […]

    And, if there was even the vaguest chance in hell that Obama or the other supporters of the bill actually operated under the principle that the government can only exercise authority that was explicitly given to it, then even this atrocity would be a huge step forward. However, we know from their treatment of, oh, let’s say, the Constitution, that they will read such documents in exactly the opposite way, such that the government has every power possible using the broadest reading of the law.

    They have brought this upon themselves. Because of the way the statists have chosen to read laws, they deserve absolutely no benefit of the doubt that laws they support will be applied narrowly and not devolve into a playground for “novel” applications by ambitious prosecutors looking to pursue petty vendettas or attract public attention.

  11. #11 |  divadab | 

    Note that the Border Patrol arresting people for giving illegal immigrants a lift are based in Port Angeles. CBP posted FIFTY agents there, and they have so little to do they are desperate. It’s the only CBP post that has, as a matter of official policy, decided to keep their arrest and other actions logs top secret.

    Why? They’re milking it! Frapping boondoggle deluxe. Like the whole “Homeland Security” welfare program for unemployed dominionists.

  12. #12 |  JThompson | 

    @Nick T.: They give you that much of an argument? The best I can usually get out of his apologists is “He is the best president ever!!! In His infinite wisdom, He has seen fit to write things your mortal mind cannot comprehend! You never loved Him anyway! You want President Perry! Arglebargle!” Often with stuff about magic wands, ponies, and Ralph Nader thrown in.

    His apologists have pretty much been weeded down to a personality cult now.

  13. #13 |  John Thacker | 

    President Obama didn’t reverse his position. He may have reversed Senator Obama’s position, but President Obama’s position was only that the Congress shouldn’t tie the hands of the Executive Branch, which should have sole power to decide whether to try, hold indefinitely, or just kill anybody.

  14. #14 |  BamBam | 

    @3, ask Brandon Mayfield about that. As we all know, it’s all about punishing SOMEONE, not the correct SOMEONE.

  15. #15 |  OBTC | 

    Why are all many of you just blaming Obama for “indefinite detention”?

    Seems to me there are “others” involved.

  16. #16 |  Rojo | 

    @OBTC ‘cuz Obama’s the president and has been happily claiming these powers for himself and has agreed to sign the bill?

    Sorta like when people properly blamed Bush for the Iraq war and Guantanamo Bay?

    That’s my guess.

  17. #17 |  Bad Medicine | 

    Not to derail, but have to vent – glad someone is finally calling Arpaio out. Wonder how Perry feels now about that endorsement…

  18. #18 |  albatross | 

    There are many things the president gets held accountable for, but which he has only a little control over–like, if the Eurozone melts down in some spectacular way and takes the global financial system with it, Obama will lose the next election, even though Obama has basically no power to do anything to fix that mess.

    But in this case, Obama has the power to veto or sign bills sent to him by congress. He appears to have negotiated to get this bill to be something he’s willing to sign, and now he’s apparently going to sign it. There is simply no way to spin this as anyone else’s decision but his. Obama and Obama alone has the authority to veto this bill or to sign it. It’s perfectly sensible to hold him responsible for his actions.

  19. #19 |  Berck | 

    Just to point out, the new bill *does* exempt american citizens. Admittedly, it’s still very confusing, but the the bill that passed contains the following:

    Section 1021(e)

    AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

  20. #20 |  OBTC | 

    Every Pubic Serpent who signed this SHOULD BE called out as TRAITORS – to the US Constitution and to the American People and they themselves should be held indefinitely at Guantanamo.

    We are fucking doomed.

  21. #21 |  He Campaigned On Closing Gitmo, That Was Yesterday … | The Pretense of Knowledge | 

    […] on it. This your beloved Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Oh, and yesterday was Bill of Rights day. And here’s some more on […]

  22. #22 |  Alex | 

    Berck: One could read that language as applying only when the US citizen is captured on US soil. (Imagine a comma after “persons.”)

  23. #23 |  Kristen | 

    Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said “the buck stops here”. I think that was a right & noble sentiment and should still apply to subsequent Presidents, inlcuding Hope & Change King of the World Messiah Obama™.

  24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    At least Sheriff Joe is getting a slap on the wrist? Seems like it should be much more than that, though.

    But he won’t get slapped on the wrist. The only penalty the Feds are considering is withholding funding–which doesn’t impact Joe at all. You and I would face prison. False arrest, harassment, intimidation, threatening, and failure to follow up on sexual attacks…all important offenses. What’s been happening in Maricopa county is nightmarish AND criminal.

    Joe will bluster…and maybe claim he’ll form a committee to consider changes. No changes will happen and the Feds might investigate again in 3-5 years.

    Then, Joe will retire will a very, very healthy and full pension. Of course he might just retire tomorrow if he decides he’s kicked enough people in the balls.

    Joe don’t give a fuck. Why should he? He’s untouchable and protected by everything-about-how-the-government works.

  25. #25 |  CyniCAl | 

    I am ashamed of the lack of awareness of my fellow commentors here. Not one of you recognized Radley’s awesome turn of phrase at the end of the blog post:

    “And his list is of course by no means comprehensive.”

    That is essentially the gist of the 9th Amendment, its meaning turned on its head by the depressing content of the remainder of the post.

    Come on people, step up your reading comprehension.

  26. #26 |  Berck | 

    Alex: True, but considering it’s apparently legal to launch hellfire missiles at US citizens abroad, the right to detain them seems moot.

  27. #27 |  fwb | 

    Has anyone read the NDAA? I saw a write up this AM with supposed sections exempting citizens on American soil and also limiting action concerning legal aliens on American Soil.


    I do not know if these provisions are real. Just saw Nick T’s remark about the provisions being removed. Can we check on that?

    The whole problem with our legal system is that EVERYONE has been brainwashed into believing the courts have the authority to “interpret” the Constitution. I say the courts DO NOT have any authority to do so. And here’s why.

    Hold the flames until after you read.

    I ask, “Who’s the boss, the Creator or the created?” Of course, the correct answer is the Creator because the Creator is superior.

    Move on to the Constitution and I ask, “Who’s the creator, We the People or the Constitution?” The answer is We the People are the creator of the Constitution and are therefore both superior to and the boss of the Constitution

    Move to a comparison of the Constitution and the government, and I ask “Who’s the boss, the Constitution or the government?” The answer is of course, the Constitution because the Constitution is the creator OF the government, all three branches.

    Thus all branches of government are subordinate TO the Constitution. The Constitution is superior. The subordinate does not have the authority to define its superior. You do not have the legitimate authority/power to tell your boss his/her job. So the courts cannot define/interpret the Constitution because they are subordinate to the Constitution. We got to where we are because the Courts usurped powers not delegated. Lord Acton warned us.

    So long as the People fail to understand the Creator/created or superior/subordinate relationship that was designed by the Framers into our singular form of government, the government will continue to deny our Rights and to restrict our liberty. One must throw off the chains of oppression with which the government schools bound one.

    Congress cannot define terms in the Constitution. The President is NOT the boss. Congress can fire the President but the President cannot fire even a single Congressperson. The President doesn’t make the rules for the military and does not have the Constitutional authority to call up troops. Congress does not have the legitimate authority to let the President do such things even if the lazy b-tards in Congress constantly fail to follow the law. We are SOOOOO wrong I don’t have much hope for change in the right direction. [Got both them words in there, ]

  28. #28 |  CyniCAl | 

    FWB, words are not self-interpreting. The Constitution is a trap. Lysander Spooner proved this over 150 years ago when he so cogently wrote that either the Constitution authorized the government we now have or it was powerless to prevent it — either way, it is useless, or more accurately, it is useful only to those with real political power, not those you erroneously think have political power.

  29. #29 |  StrangeOne | 

    The only rights you ever had were the ones you’re willing it defend. Ironically Bush said it best “The Constitution is just a piece of paper”. It won’t break you out of prison, or stop government bullets, or anything else. It’s only purpose is to enumerate the principles and procedures of just government as the founding fathers understood it. In some ways we’ve expanded our concept of rights to include groups they didn’t, but mostly our government has come to completely disregard even the most basic assertions of civil liberty that it contains. Once the reality of our government no longer matches what is written it’s the peoples responsibility to do something about it.

    I don’t really think the NDAA clause that exempts Americans matters. Ask Jose Padilla, ask Bradley Manning. They’ve been doing this shit for years, no one except the victims suffered for it, and now they’ve just further codified their illegal acts into law. You really think some federal thug, tasked with black bagging people into secret prisons and torture, is going to take five minutes to go “Hey wait this guy is an American, surely we are going to afford him better treatment than all the other people I’ve already done this to?” They’ll snatch first and leave it to his family, friends, and lawyers (if the victim has any) to fruitlessly argue for years that he has a right to a trial, or even to be charged for a crime. The NDAA just makes the ongoing illegal operations of the federal government slightly more legal, that’s all.

  30. #30 |  Border Patrol: It’s A Crime To Give A Ride To An Illegal Alien « JONATHAN TURLEY | 

    […] H/T: Seattle Weekly, Peninsula Daily News, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Radley Balko. […]