Nel's New Day

July 2, 2013

Conservatives Hate the U.S. Constitution

When the United States Supreme Court ruled 50 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education that all public schools must be desegregated, almost ever Southern Congressman signed the Southern Manifesto that declared their states would nullify this ruling. Within the past decade, almost 80 percent of the states have adopted laws opposing federal legislation regarding marijuana use, gun control, health insurance requirements, death with dignity, and identification standards for driver’s licenses.

Federal authorities delayed implementation of the 2005 Real ID Act, an anti-terrorism law that set stringent requirements for photo identification cards to be used to board commercial flights or enter federal buildings, because half the states oppose the law. Gun control nullification started with Montana’s 2009 law declaring that federal firearms regulations don’t apply in that state. Since then eight other states have followed suit, and Missouri is trying to be the tenth state, also allowing people to own machine guns. Because the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that local police did not have to comply with a federal gun control law, some states declare they don’t have to follow any federal laws that they don’t want to.

July 2 is actually the nation’s “Independence Day” become on that date in 1776 the Continental Congress voted for the Declaration of Independence.  The U.S. Constitution was adopted over 11 years later when the Constitutional Convention accepted it on September 17, 1787 and then sent it to 11 states to be ratified. March 4, 1789 is the actual date that the document went into effect.

During the drafting of the constitution, framers discussed the possibility of states nullifying parts of the document. One framer, James Madison, argued that nullification would “speedily put an end to the Union itself” by allowing federal laws to be freely ignored by states. Conservatives in the 21st century proclaim their love and reverence for this foundation of the nation’s laws, but they spend their time legislating it out of existence.

The media has shown how dependent some conservatives are on the Second Amendment, so much so that they read far more into it that it declares. They want individual ownership of as many and as powerful weapons as they can purchase with their credit cards with no responsibility for knowing how to use these. Although the Second Amendment doesn’t address background checks and lists of buyers, they claim that this is infringement on their rights.

Those who claim that they are fighting for freedom in the United States probably approve of a few other amendments. States rights (Amendment Ten) and lack of foreign rights (Amendment Eleven) fit the selfish conservatives’ need for no federal meddling in their affairs.  The two amendments involving prohibition (Amendments Eighteen and Twenty-One) are a nonissue for most conservatives. Election rules (Amendments Twenty, Twenty-Two, and Twenty-Five) are fine with them as long as they don’t let anyone of color vote. (See Amendment 13.)  And the last amendment, Twenty-Seven, limits the rights of Congress to increase its own salaries, fine with all conservatives except those in Congress.

Conservatives, however, have shown that they want to destroy the rest of the amendments.

Amendment One: Conservatives really hate freedom of religion, and they’re not happy with freedom of assembly if it’s progressives who are gathering. Even the FBI has tried to stop protesting since the reign of J. Edgar Hoover began.

Amendment Three: Quartering soldiers in the home is prevented only in peacetime—and the U.S. is permanently at war with someone. Conservatives would likely go ballistic if soldiers are housed in their personal domain.

Amendment Four: The freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures without warrants issued for probable cause has gone by the wayside through NSA’s technology. A secret court gave NSA a warrant to obtain “on an ongoing daily basis…all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad (and) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.” The man who leaked this information is now labeled a “traitor” by both conservatives and progressives.

Amendment Five: SCOTUS ruled in Salinas v. Texas that the silence of the defendant, Genovevo Salinas, could be used as an admission of guilt because he was questioned voluntarily without having his rights read to him. Forget the part in the amendment that a person has the right to remain silent. That will show the person’s guilt, according to the 5-4 SCOTUS ruling decision. In addition, Rep. Mo Brooks (R- AL) wants a law that would automatically fire federal employees if they “take the Fifth” while testifying before Congress. Due process of law has long gone with the faintest whiff of “terrorism”—which is defined anyway that conservatives wish.

Amendment Six: No longer do people have the right for the accused to a speedy trial. The people who can’t escape the “no-fly” list are just one prime example of this problem.

Amendment Seven: The right to a jury trial if the amount exceeds $20 was severely cut back by a Texas law that orders the loser to pay for the winner’s legal fees. Corporations are far more likely to win: there goes the “right to a jury trial.”

Amendment Eight: Freedom from excessive bail as well as cruel and unusual punishment–gone. For example, Bradley Manning, of the infamous WikiLeaks, was forced to sleep naked in a cell with no sheets or pillow where he was left for 23 hours each day and then allowed no physical exercise during his remaining one hour.  At least 80,000 prisoners in the U.S. are in solitary confinement, leading to serious mental problems when they are released.

Amendment Nine: Conservatives are passing more and more laws that infringe on the rights not listed in the Constitution including the reproductive rights of women and the equal rights of LGBT people.

Amendment Twelve: The Electoral College is a thorn in conservatives’ side because it allows for somebody like President Obama to win the election—twice. Instead of repealing it, however, they’ve decided to rig it so that the popular vote will never elect a president again.

Amendment Thirteen: Not every conservative thinks that the country should have abolished slavery.

Amendment Fourteen: Conservatives largely object to this amendment because it confers citizenship on anyone born within the country. Many conservatives are also not happy with the freedom from discrimination and equal protection under the law because they want to decide who they discriminate against and deny legal rights to.

Amendment Fifteen: The right of blacks to vote is being abrogated through a large number of state voting restrictions. With SCOTUS overturning the guts of the Voting Rights Act, voting will be a privilege for only whites and the elite.

Amendment Sixteen: Obviously conservatives want to do away with the income tax—in fact, any taxes.

Amendment Seventeen: Conservatives really hate the idea of a popular vote for U.S. senators; they want the original method of state legislators appointing them, especially with the majority of red states.

Amendment Nineteen: Many conservatives are almost as distressed about women voting as they are about the people of color voting. Think about Rush Limbaugh’s objection to this amendment.

Amendment Twenty-Three: After voters in Washington, D.C. got permission to vote in presidential elections, they seem to think that they should have the right to make their own rules. Conservative Congressional legislators are quick to disabuse them of this notion, making sure that they aren’t allowed their laws in gun control, abortion rights, and financial control. After all, according to one representative, D.C. leaders are like children who would go crazy if they were given rights.

Amendment Twenty-Four: Conservatives have found a way to get around the abolition of poll taxes for voting: they just make people pay lots of money for the extensive documentation necessary for voting. And SCOTUS now lets all the states do this.

Amendment Twenty-Six: The right of people to start voting at the age of 18 has also enraged conservatives who think that they’re not smart enough to make the correct decisions. That’s one of the reasons that GOP legislators have worked to disenfranchise college students from voting.

The conservatives want to overturn 19 of the 27 amendments, almost 75 percent of them. Even within the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, only two suit their purposes, and they are badly distorting the meaning of one of them.

The next time that conservatives talks about the importance of following the Constitution, ask them how they feel about some of its amendments.

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