January 23, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17

Hatched by Dafydd

The next four Amendments in the Bill of Rights comprise a series of rights related to trial in criminal and civil court cases...

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Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8

Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

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 offense 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.

Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

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 shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to 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 defence.

Amendment 7 - Trial by Jury in Civil Cases. Ratified 12/15/1791.

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.

Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The joker in this deck of amendments has proven to be the 5th Amendment, for a couple of reasons:

  • Prohibition of double jeopardy: As the federal case against the cops who forcefully subdued Rodney King demonstrates, "the same offense" can be a malleable term indeed! In that case, officers were tried and acquitted in state court of assaulting King; but then -- in my opinion for purely political reasons, and disreputable ones at that -- were tried in federal court for the same actions, but this time tarted up as denying King his constitutional rights -- by forcefully subduing him.

    But there can also be good reasons for such a distinction: Think of murderous Klansmen "tried" and acquitted by a racist jury in fifteen minutes; surely such a sham trial should not mean the murderers are forever safe from punishment. Therein lies the dilemma.

  • Private property be taken for public use, such as seizing land on which to build a highway. But can it also be taken for public benefit? Say, using eminent domain to seize a neighborhood of houses in order to sell the property to a developer who plans to build a private hospital... or a private shopping center? What if thousands of people would actually benefit from such a seizure? But what if it's just a scheme by the state or county to jack up the property taxes on those lots?

    And if so, is "just compensation" the value that the land will have after it's developed, or merely the value that it had beforehand, when it was just some shabby, down-at-heel houses?

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 23, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: GW

nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The left wing of jurists seem bound and determined to erase textual rights from the Constitution, particularly those dealing with property rights, while at the same time, they invent new ones. The Boumediene decision was the worst decision since Dred Scott. Only slightly less worse was the Kelo decision, that eviscerated the final clause of the 5th Am and now allows the government to take property for private use, so long as the government can claim some increased value, such as increased taxes. We saw another aspect of this disdain for property rights in the Court's allowing Obama to strong arm GN and Chrysler investors, taking what was rightfully theirs and transferring it to the UAW.

As to the 8th Am, that is where the SCT really began its trajectory to becoming a legislative body, taking upon itself the right to unilaterally amend the Constitution as it saw fit. In 1958, in Trop, CJ Warren wrote for the Court ""The [Eighth] Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." Gone was the understanding of "cruel and unusual" at the time the Constitution was written, in was whatever 5 Supreme Court justices wanted it to mean. Now, we spend millions of dollars annualy litigating whether any particular form of capital punishment is cruel because it might involve some pain in its application.

Our Courts are the greatest threat to our liberty. The left side of the aisle sees the Courts as an end around the need to amend the Constituion, one, and two, a way to have their views of the society they would like fixed as new Constitutional rights.

The above hissed in response by: GW [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 23, 2011 10:26 AM

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