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Freedom to Tinker Research and expert commentary on …

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Nov 032015

Yesterday I posted some thoughts about Purdue Universitys decision to destroy a video recording of my keynote address at its Dawn or Doom colloquium. The organizers had gone dark, and a promised public link was not forthcoming. After a couple of weeks of hoping to resolve the matter quietly, I did some digging and decided to write up what I learned. I posted on the web site of the Century Foundation, my main professional home:

It turns out that Purdue has wiped all copies of my video and slides from university servers, on grounds that I displayed classified documents briefly on screen. A breach report was filed with the universitys Research Information Assurance Officer, also known as the Site Security Officer, under the terms of Defense Department Operating Manual 5220.22-M. I am told that Purdue briefly considered, among other things, whether to destroy the projector I borrowed, lest contaminants remain.

I was, perhaps, naive, but pretty much all of that came as a real surprise.

Lets rewind. Information Assurance? Site Security?

These are familiar terms elsewhere, but new to me in a university context. I learned that Purdue, like a number of its peers, has a facility security clearance to perform classified U.S. government research. The manual of regulations runs to 141 pages. (Its terms forbid uncleared trustees to ask about the work underway on their campus, but thats a subject for another day.) The pertinent provision here, spelled out at length in a manual called Classified Information Spillage, requires sanitization, physical removal, or destruction of classified information discovered on unauthorized media.

Two things happened in rapid sequence around the time I told Purdue about my post.

First, the university broke a week-long silence and expressed a measure of regret:

UPDATE: Just after posting this item I received an email from Julie Rosa, who heads strategic communications for Purdue. She confirmed that Purdue wiped my video after consulting the Defense Security Service, but the university now believes it went too far.

In an overreaction while attempting to comply with regulations, the video was ordered to be deleted instead of just blocking the piece of information in question. Just FYI: The conference organizers were not even aware that any of this had happened until well after the video was already gone.

Im told we are attempting to recover the video, but I have not heard yet whether that is going to be possible. When I find out, I will let you know and we will, of course, provide a copy to you.

Then Edward Snowden tweeted the link, and the Century Foundations web site melted down. It now redirects to Medium, where you can find the full story.

I have not heard back from Purdue today about recovery of the video. It is not clear to me how recovery is even possible, if Purdue followed Pentagon guidelines for secure destruction. Moreover, although the university seems to suggest it could have posted most of the video, it does not promise to do so now. Most importantly, the best that I can hope for here is that my remarks and slides will be made available in redacted form with classified images removed, and some of my central points therefore missing. There would be one version of the talk for the few hundred people who were in the room on Sept. 24, and for however many watched the live stream, and another version left as the only record.

For our purposes here, the most notable questions have to do with academic freedom in the context of national security. How did a university come to sanitize a public lecture it had solicited, on the subject of NSA surveillance, from an author known to possess the Snowden documents? How could it profess to be shocked to find that spillage is going on at such a talk? The beginning of an answer came, I now see, in the question and answer period after my Purdue remarks. A post-doctoral research engineer stood up to ask whether the documents I had put on display were unclassified. No, I replied. Theyre classified still. Eugene Spafford, a professor of computer science there, later attributed that concern to junior security rangers on the faculty and staff. But the display of Top Secret material, he said, once noted, is something that cannot be unnoted.

Someone reported my answer to Purdues Research Information Assurance Officer, who reported in turn to Purdues representative at the Defense Security Service. By the terms of its Pentagon agreement, Purdue decided it was now obliged to wipe the video of my talk in its entirety. I regard this as a rather devout reading of the rules, which allowed Purdue to realistically consider the potential harm that may result from compromise of spilled information. The slides I showed had been viewed already by millions of people online. Even so, federal funding might be at stake for Purdue, and the notoriously vague terms of the Espionage Act hung over the decision. For most lawyers, abundance of caution would be the default choice. Certainly that kind of thinking is commonplace, and sometimes appropriate, in military and intelligence services.

But universities are not secret agencies. They cannot lightly wear the shackles of a National Industrial Security Program, as Purdue agreed to do. The values at their core, in principle and often in practice, are open inquiry and expression.

I do not claim I suffered any great harm when Purdue purged my remarks from its conference proceedings. I do not lack for publishers or public forums. But the next person whose talk is disappeared may have fewer resources.

More importantly, to my mind, Purdue has compromised its own independence and that of its students and faculty. It set an unhappy precedent, even if the people responsible thought they were merely following routine procedures.

One can criticize the university for its choices, and quite a few have since I published my post. What interests me is how nearly the results were foreordained once Purdue made itself eligible for Top Secret work.

Think of it as a classic case of mission creep. Purdue invited the secret-keepers of the Defense Security Service into one cloistered corner of campus (a small but significant fraction of research in certain fields, as the university counsel put it). The trustees accepted what may have seemed a limited burden, confined to the precincts of classified research.

Now the security apparatus claims jurisdiction over the campus (facility) at large. The university finds itself sanitizing a conference that has nothing to do with any government contract.

I am glad to see that Princeton takes the view that [s]ecurity regulations and classification of information are at variance with the basic objectives of a University. It does not permit faculty members to do classified work on campus, which avoids Purdues facility problem. And even so, at Princeton and elsewhere, there may be an undercurrent of self-censorship and informal restraint against the use of documents derived from unauthorized leaks.

Two of my best students nearly dropped a course I taught a few years back, called Secrecy, Accountability and the National Security State, when they learned the syllabus would include documents from Wikileaks. Both had security clearances, for summer jobs, and feared losing them. I told them I would put the documents on Blackboard, so they need not visit the Wikileaks site itself, but the readings were mandatory. Both, to their credit, stayed in the course. They did so against the advice of some of their mentors, including faculty members. The advice was purely practical. The U.S. government will not give a clear answer when asked whether this sort of exposure to published secrets will harm job prospects or future security clearances. Why take the risk?

Every student and scholar must decide for him- or herself, but I think universities should push back harder, and perhaps in concert. There is a treasure trove of primary documents in the archives made available by Snowden and Chelsea Manning. The government may wish otherwise, but that information is irretrievably in the public domain. Should a faculty member ignore the Snowden documents when designing a course on network security architecture? Should a student write a dissertation on modern U.S.-Saudi relations without consulting the numerous diplomatic cables on Wikileaks? To me, those would be abdications of the basic duty to seek out authoritative sources of knowledge, wherever they reside.

I would be interested to learn how others have grappled with these questions. I expect to write about them in my forthcoming book on surveillance, privacy and secrecy.

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Freedom to Tinker Research and expert commentary on …

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Regenerative Medicine – Transplant Center – Mayo Clinic

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Oct 302015

At Mayo Clinic, an integrated team, including stem cell biologists, bioengineers, doctors and scientists, work together and study regenerative medicine. The goal of the team is to treat diseases using novel therapies, such as stem cell therapy and bioengineering. Doctors in transplant medicine and transplant surgery have pioneered the study of regenerative medicine during the past five decades, and doctors continue to study new innovations in transplant medicine and surgery.

In stem cell therapy, or regenerative medicine, researchers study how stem cells may be used to replace, repair, reprogram or renew your diseased cells. Stem cells are able to grow and develop into many different types of cells in your body. Stem cell therapy may use adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed in the laboratory (induced pluripotent stem cells), your own adult stem cells that have been reprogrammed or cells developed from an embryo (embryonic stem cells).

Researchers also study and test how reprogrammed stem cells may be turned into specialized cells that can repair or regenerate cells in your heart, blood, nerves and other parts of your body. These stem cells have the potential to treat many conditions. Stem cells also may be studied to understand how other conditions occur, to develop and test new medications, and for other research.

Researchers across Mayo Clinic, with coordination through the Center for Regenerative Medicine, are discovering, translating and applying stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, degenerative joint conditions, brain and nervous system (neurological) conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, and many other conditions. For example, researchers are studying the possibility of using stem cell therapy to repair or regenerate injured heart tissue to treat many types of cardiovascular diseases, from adult acquired disorders to congenital diseases. Read about regenerative medicine research for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Cardiovascular diseases, neurological conditions and diabetes have been extensively studied in stem cell therapy research. They’ve been studied because the stem cells affected in these conditions have been the same cell types that have been generated in the laboratory from various types of stem cells. Thus, translating stem cell therapy to a potential treatment for people with these conditions may be a realistic goal for the future of transplant medicine and surgery.

Researchers conduct ongoing studies in stem cell therapy. However, research and development of stem cell therapy is unpredictable and depends on many factors, including regulatory guidelines, funding sources and recent successes in stem cell therapy. Mayo Clinic researchers aim to expand research and development of stem cell therapy in the future, while keeping the safety of patients as their primary concern.

Mayo Clinic offers stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant) for people who’ve had leukemia, lymphoma or other conditions that have been treated with chemotherapy.

Mayo Clinic currently offers a specialty consult service for regenerative medicine within the Transplant Center, the first consult service established in the United States to provide guidance for patients and families regarding stem cell-based protocols. This consult service provides medical evaluations for people with many conditions who have questions about the potential use of stem cell therapy. The staff provides guidance to determine whether stem cell clinical trials are appropriate for these individuals. Regenerative medicine staff may be consulted if a doctor or patient has asked about the potential use of stem cell therapies for many conditions, including degenerative or congenital diseases of the heart, liver, pancreas or lungs.

People sometimes have misconceptions about the use and applications of stem cell therapies. This consult service provides people with educational guidance and appropriate referrals to research studies and clinical trials in stem cell therapies for the heart, liver, pancreas and other organs. Also, the consult service supports ongoing regenerative medicine research activities within Mayo Clinic, from basic science to clinical protocols.

Read more about stem cells.


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First Amendment – constitution |

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Oct 282015

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is contained in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment has proven to be one of the most fundamental and important in respects to the rights attributed to the populace of the United States. Originally, the First Amendment was implemented and applied solely to Congress. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century, it was upheld that the First Amendment is to apply to all forms of government, including state and local levels. The Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause would apply to the 1st Amendment, and thus rendering such a decision.

As stated in the United States Constitution, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, of of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Though a relatively short and concise assertion, the text provides for quite an encompassing set of rights that protect the citizens of the United States, and some of the most important and basic human rights. The First Amendment has many clauses that relate to each of the concepts that it sets out to protect. Religion is discussed in two clauses, one regarding the establishment of religion, and the other the free exercise of religion.

This proves to be one of the most important rights to secure by the Fathers of the Constitution, for so many people of European descent immigrated to the American Colonies to avoid religious persecution, and to find a safe haven to practice their religion of choice without any dire consequences. The First Amendment prohibits the government to establish a formal or national religion for the nation. It also addresses that there will be no preference of any particular religion, including the practice of no religion, or non religion.

The 1st Amendment guarantees the people of the United States the free exercise of religion, without interference from governmental factions. This right would also extend to any organization or individual infringing on such right, and would be deemed as unconstitutional.

One of the most commonly referred to clauses under the 1st Amendment is the freedom of speech. This clause has proven to be of great importance, particularly in the twentieth century and continues on with such regard in our lifetime. Under the text of the First Amendment, many issues are addressed regarding Freedom of Speech, and restrictions to exist in which such a practice may prove to be harmful to the general population or public. An example is the concept of sedition, and how this conduct can lead to insurrection against the government.

Other concepts also addressed include commercial speech, political speech, obscenity, libel, slander, and symbolic speech, such as the desecration of the American Flag. Under the First Amendment, there have been important and key court cases that have established a form precedence in how to apply the Amendment to these kinds of circumstances. The Freedom of the press is also included, and subject to similar restrictions as the freedom of speech.

The rights to petition and assembly often seem to be overlooked, for freedom of religion and speech are most commonly associated with the 1st Amendment. The right to petition is important because it gives citizens the opportunity to address their government in issues that have relevance and importance to the commonwealth. The formulation of an assembly, under the First Amendment, can be interpreted as citizens gathering and unifying for the purpose of communicating views or opinions on national issues, and for the relaying of pertinent information. The right to assembly is often related to that of petition, in such a way where citizens may assemble in the process of petitioning the government.


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First Amendment – constitution |

First Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Oct 282015

Clauses of the First Amendment

The Establishment Clause

Americas early settlers came from a variety of religious backgrounds: Puritans predominated in New England; Anglicans predominated in the South; Quakers and Lutherans flocked especially to Pennsylvania; Roman Catholics settled mostly in Maryland; Presbyterians were most numerous in the middle colonies; and there were Jewish congregations in five cities.

During colonial times, the Church of England was established by law in all of the southern colonies, while localized Puritan (or Congregationalist) establishments held sway in most New England states. In those colonies, clergy were appointed and disciplined by colonial authorities and colonists were required to pay religious taxes and (often) to attend church services. Dissenters were often punished for preaching without a license or refusing to pay taxes to a church they disagreed with. Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and much of New York had no established church.

After Independence, there was widespread agreement that there should be no nationally established church. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, principally authored by James Madison, reflects this consensus. The language of the Establishment Clause itself applies only to the federal government (Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion). All states disestablished religion by 1833, and in the 1940s the Supreme Court held that disestablishment applies to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Virtually all jurists agree that it would violate the Establishment Clause for the government to compel attendance or financial support of a religious institution as such, for the government to interfere with a religious organizations selection of clergy or religious doctrine; for religious organizations or figures acting in a religious capacity to exercise governmental power; or for the government to extend benefits to some religious entities and not others without adequate secular justification. Beyond that, the meaning of the Amendment is often hotly contested, and Establishment cases in the Supreme Court often lead to 5-4 splits.

The Lemon Test

In 1971, the Supreme Court surveyed its previous Establishment Clause cases and identified three factors that identify when a government practice violates the Establishment Clause: First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive entanglement with religion. Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). In the years since Lemon, the test has been much criticized and the Court often decides Establishment Clause cases without reference to it. Yet the Justices have not overruled the Lemon test, meaning the lower courts remain obliged to use it. In some specific areas of controversy, however, the Court has adopted specific, more targeted tests to replace Lemon.

The vast majority of Establishment Clause cases have fallen in four areas: monetary aid to religious education or other social welfare activities conducted by religious institutions; government-sponsored prayer; accommodation of religious dissenters from generally-applicable laws; and government owned or sponsored religious symbols.

Aid to religious institutions

Scholars have long debated between two opposing interpretations of the Establishment Clause as it applies to government funding: (1) that the government must be neutral between religious and non-religious institutions that provide education or other social services; or (2) that no taxpayer funds should be given to religious institutions if they might be used to communicate religious doctrine. Initially, the Court tended toward the first interpretation, in the 1970s and 1980s the Court shifted to the second interpretation, and more recently the Court has decisively moved back to the first idea.

After two early decisions upholding state statutes allowing students who attend private religious schools to receive transportation, Everson v. Board of Education (1947), and textbook subsidies available to all elementary and secondary students, Board of Education v. Allen (1968), the Court attempted for about fifteen years to draw increasingly sharp lines against the use of tax-funded assistance for the religious aspects of education. At one point the Court even forbade public school teaching specialists from going on the premises of religious schools to provide remedial assistance. Aguilar v. Felton (1985). More recently, the Court has upheld programs that provide aid to educational or social programs on a neutral basis only as a result of the genuine and independent choices of private individuals. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002). Indeed, the Court has held that it is unconstitutional under free speech or free exercise principles to exclude otherwise eligible recipients from government assistance solely because their activity is religious in nature. Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (1995).

Government-sponsored prayer

The Courts best-known Establishment Clause decisions held it unconstitutional for public schools to lead schoolchildren in prayer or Bible reading, even on an ostensibly voluntary basis. Engel v. Vitale (1962); Abington School District v. Schempp (1963). Although these decisions were highly controversial among the public (less so among scholars), the Court has not backed down. Instead it has extended the prohibition to prayers at graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman (1992), and football games, Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000).

In less coercive settings involving adults, the Court has generally allowed government-sponsored prayer. In Marsh v. Chambers (1983), the Court upheld legislative prayer, specifically because it was steeped in history. More recently, the Court approved an opening prayer or statement at town council meetings, where the Town represented that it would accept any prayers of any faith. Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014).

Accommodation of religion

Hundreds of federal, state, and local laws exempt or accommodate religious believers or institutions from otherwise neutral, generally-applicable laws for whom compliance would conflict with religiously motivated conduct. Examples include military draft exemptions, kosher or halal meals for prisoners, medical neglect exemptions for parents who do not believe in medical treatment for their ill children, exemptions from some anti-discrimination laws for religious entities, military headgear requirements, and exemptions for the sacramental use of certain drugs. The Supreme Court has addressed very few of these exemptions. While the Court held that a state sales tax exemption limited to religious publications was unconstitutional in Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock (1989), it unanimously upheld the exemption of religious organizations from prohibitions on employment discrimination for ministers. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

Two federal laws, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), provide broad-based statutory accommodations for religious practice when it conflicts with federal and certain state and local laws. A unanimous Court upheld this approach for prisoners against a claim that granting religious accommodations violates the Establishment Clause, reasoning that RLUIPA alleviates exceptional government-created burdens on private religious exercise in prisons. Cutter v. Wilkinson (2005).

The Court in Cutter left open the question whether such a regime applied to land use is constitutional and it also left open the possibility that even some applications in prisons may be unconstitutional if they are not even-handed among religions or impose too extreme a burden on non-believers. The Courts recent 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), holding that RFRA exempts for-profit employers from paying for insurance coverage of contraceptive drugs that they believe are abortion-inducing, has reinvigorated the debate over such laws.

Government-sponsored religious symbols

The cases involving governmental displays of religious symbolssuch as Ten Commandment displays in public school classrooms, courthouses, or public parks; nativity scenes in courthouses and shopping districts; or crosses on public landhave generated much debate. The most prominent approach in more recent cases is called the endorsement test; it asks whether a reasonable observer acquainted with the full context would regard the display as the government endorsing religion and, therefore, sending a message of disenfranchisement to other believers and non-believers.

The Courts decisions in this arena are often closely divided. They also illustrate that the Court has declined to take a rigid, absolutist view of the separation of church and state. In Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), the Court allowed display of a nativity scene surrounded by other holiday decorations in the heart of a shopping district, stating that it engenders a friendly community spirit of good will in keeping with the season. But in County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union (1989), a different majority of Justices held that the display of a nativity scene by itself at the top of the grand stairway in a courthouse violated the Establishment Clause because it was indisputably religiousindeed sectarian. In McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union (2005), the Court held that a prominent display of the Ten Commandments at the county courthouse, which was preceded by an officials description of the Ten Commandments as the embodiment of ethics in Christ, was a religious display that was unconstitutional. The same day, it upheld a Ten Commandments monument, which was donated by a secular organization dedicated to reducing juvenile delinquency and surrounded by other monuments on the spacious statehouse grounds. Van Orden v. Perry (2005). Only one Justice was in the majority in both cases.

More broadly, the Establishment Clause provides a legal framework for resolving disagreements about the public role of religion in our increasingly pluralistic republic.

An accurate recounting of history is necessary to appreciate the need for disestablishment and a separation between church and state.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion is one of the most misunderstood in the Constitution.

The Establishment Clause: A Check on Religious Tyranny by Marci A. Hamilton

An accurate recounting of history is necessary to appreciate the need for disestablishment and a separation between church and state. The religiosity of the generation that framed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (of which the First Amendment is the first as a result of historical accident, not the preference for religious liberty over any other right) has been overstated. In reality, many of the Framers and the most influential men of that generation rarely attended church, were often Deist rather than Christian, and had a healthy understanding of the potential for religious tyranny. This latter concern is to be expected as European history was awash with executions of religious heretics: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim. Three of the most influential men in the Framing era provide valuable insights into the mindset at the time: Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and John Adams. Franklin saw a pattern:

If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England.

Benjamin Franklin, Letter to the London Packet (June 3, 1772).

The father of the Constitution and primary drafter of the First Amendment, James Madison, in his most important document on the topic, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785), stated:

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. . . . What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people.

Two years later, John Adams described the states as having been derived from reason, not religious belief:

It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. . . .Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Vol. 4, 292-93 (Charles C. Little & James Brown, eds., 1851).

Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are examples of early discord. In Massachusetts, the Congregationalist establishment enforced taxation on all believers and expelled or even put to death dissenters. Baptist clergy became the first in the United States to advocate for a separation of church and state and an absolute right to believe what one chooses. Baptist pastor John Leland was an eloquent and forceful proponent of the freedom of conscience and the separation of church and state. For him, America was not a Christian nation, but rather should recognize the equality of all believers, whether Jews, Turks, Pagans [or] Christians. Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. He proposed an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution in 1794 because of the evils . . . occasioned in the world by religious establishments, and to keep up the proper distinction between religion and politics.”

Pennsylvania, dubbed the Holy Experiment by founder William Penn, was politically controlled by Quakers, who advocated tolerance of all believers and the mutual co-existence of differing faiths, but who made their Christianity a prerequisite for public office, only permitted Christians to vote, and forbade work on the Sabbath. Even so, the Quakers set in motion a principle that became a mainstay in religious liberty jurisprudence: the government may not coerce citizens to believe what they are unwilling to believe. If one looks carefully into the history of the United States religious experiment, one also uncovers a widely-shared view that too much liberty, or licentiousness, is as bad as no liberty. According to historian John Philip Reid, those in the eighteenth century had as great a duty to oppose licentiousness as to defend liberty.

Establishment Clause Doctrine

The Establishment Clause has yielded a wide array of doctrines (legal theories articulated by courts), each of which is largely distinct from the others, some of which are described in Professor McConnells and my joint contribution on the Establishment Clause. The reason for this proliferation of distinct doctrines is that the Establishment Clause is rooted in a concept of separating the power of church and state. These are the two most authoritative forces of human existence, and drawing a boundary line between them is not easy. The further complication is that the exercise of power is fluid, which leads both state and church to alter their positions to gain power either one over the other or as a union in opposition to the general public or particular minorities.

The separation of church and state does not mean that there is an impermeable wall between the two, but rather that the Framers fundamentally understood that the union of power between church and state would lead inevitably to tyranny. The established churches of Europe were well-known to the Founding era and the Framers and undoubtedly contributed to James Madisons inclusion of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, and its ratification. The following are some of the most important principles.

The Government May Not Delegate Governing Authority to Religious Entities

The Court has been sensitive to incipient establishments of religion. A Massachusetts law delegated authority to churches and schools to determine who could receive a liquor license within 500 feet of their buildings. The Supreme Court struck down the law, because it delegated to churches zoning power, which belongs to state and local government, not private entities. Larkin v. Grendels Den, Inc. (1982). According to the Court: The law substitutes the unilateral and absolute power of a church for the reasoned decision making of a public legislative body . . . on issues with significant economic and political implications. The challenged statute thus enmeshes churches in the processes of government and creates the danger of [p]olitical fragmentation and divisiveness along religious lines.

In another scenario, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to define political boundaries solely according to religion. In Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet (1994), the state of New York designated the neighborhood boundaries of Satmar Hasidim Orthodox Jews in Kiryas Joel Village as a public school district to itself. Thus, the boundary was determined solely by religious identity, in part because the community did not want their children to be exposed to children outside the faith. The Court invalidated the school district because political boundaries identified solely by reference to religion violate the Establishment Clause.

There Is No Such Thing as Church Autonomy Although There Is a Doctrine that Forbids the Courts from Determining What Religious Organizations Believe

In recent years, religious litigants have asserted a right to church autonomythat churches should not be subject to governmental regulationin a wide variety of cases, and in particular in cases involving the sexual abuse of children by clergy. The phrase, however, is misleading. The Supreme Court has never interpreted the First Amendment to confer on religious organizations a right to autonomy from the law. In fact, in the case in which they have most recently demanded such a right, arguing religious ministers should be exempt from laws prohibiting employment discrimination, the Court majority did not embrace the theory, not even using the term once. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

The courts are forbidden, however, from getting involved in determining what a religious organization believes, how it organizes itself internally, or who it chooses to be ministers of the faith. Therefore, if the dispute brought to a court can only be resolved by a judge or jury settling an intra-church, ecclesiastical dispute, the dispute is beyond judicial consideration. This is a corollary to the absolute right to believe what one chooses; it is not a right to be above the laws that apply to everyone else. There is extraordinary slippage in legal briefs in numerous cases where the entity is arguing for autonomy, but what they really mean is freedom from the law, per se. For the Court and basic common sense, these are arguments for placing religion above the law, and in violation of the Establishment Clause. They are also fundamentally at odds with the common sense of the Framing generation that understood so well the evils of religious tyranny.

The Establishment Clause: Co-Guarantor of Religious Freedom by Michael McConnell

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion is one of the most misunderstood in the Constitution. Unlike most of the Constitution, it refers to a legal arrangement, the establishment of religion, which has not existed in the United States in almost two centuries. We understand what freedom of speech is, we know what private property” is, and we know what searches and seizures are, but most of us have no familiarity with what an establishment of religion would be.

The Church by Law Established in Britain was a church under control of the government. The monarch was (and is) the supreme head of the established church and chooses its leadership; Parliament enacted its Articles of Faith; the state composed or directed the content of its prayers and liturgy; clergy had to take an oath of allegiance to the king or queen; and not surprisingly, the established church was used to inculcate the idea that British subjects had a religious as well as a civic obligation to obey royal authority. The established church was a bit like a government-controlled press: it was a means by which the government could mold public opinion.

British subjects (including Americans in eight of the colonies) were legally required to attend and financially support the established church, ministers were licensed or selected by the government, and the content of church services was partially dictated by the state.

The establishment of religion was bad for liberty and it was bad for religion, too. It was opposed by a coalition of the most fervently evangelical religious sects in America (especially the Baptists), who thought the hand of government was poisonous to genuine religion, joined by the enlightenment and often deist elite (like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin), who thought church and state should be separate, and by the leadership of minority religions, who worried that government involvement would disadvantage them. Accordingly, there was virtually no opposition to abolishing establishment of religion at the national level. Establishments survived for a while in a few states, but the last state (Massachusetts) ended its establishment in 1833.

The abolition of establishment of religion entails a number of obvious and uncontroversial elements. Individuals may not be required to contribute to, attend, or participate in religious activities. These must be voluntary. The government may not control the doctrine, liturgy, or personnel of religious organizations. These must be free of state control. Other issues are harder.

For a few decades between the late 1960s and the early 1990s, the Supreme Court attempted to forbid states to provide tax subsidies to schools that teach religious doctrine along with ordinary secular subjects. Most of these schools were Roman Catholic. This effort was largely based on a misinterpretation of history, egged on by residual anti-Catholicism. The Justices said that neutral aid to schools is just like a 1785 effort to force Virginians to contribute to the church of their choice. The analogy, however, made little sense: there is all the difference in the world between funding churches because they inculcate religion and funding schools because they provide education. In fact, the history of the early republic shows that states (and later the federal government, during Reconstruction) funded education by subsidizing all schools on a nondiscriminatory basis, and no one ever suggested this violated the non-establishment principle. By 2002, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Supreme Court returned to this original idea, allowing the government to fund schools on a neutral basis so long as the choice of religious schools was left to voluntary choice. Not only was ruling this true to history, it also best serves the ideal of religious freedom, making it possible for families to choose the type of education they want for their children.

It is sometimes suggested that laws making special accommodations for people whose religious beliefs are at odds with government policy violate the Establishment Clause, on the theory that these accommodations privilege or advance religion. This is a recently-minted idea, and not a sensible one. In all cases of accommodation, the religion involved is dissenting from prevailing policy, which means, by definition, that the religion is not dominating society. The idea that making exceptions for the benefit of people whose beliefs conflict with the majority somehow establishes religion is a plain distortion of the words. And the Supreme Court has unanimously held that religious accommodations are permissible so long as they lift a governmental obstacle to the exercise of religion, take account of costs to others, and do not favor one faith over another. Nonetheless, when religions take unpopular stances on hot-button issues (for example, regarding abortion-inducing contraceptives or same-sex marriage), critics are quick to assert that it violates the Constitution to accommodate their differences, no matter how little support that position has in history or Supreme Court precedent.

The fundamental error is to think that the Establishment Clause is designed to reduce the role of religion in American life. A better understanding is captured in this statement by Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court: this country sponsor[s] an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma. Zorach v. Clauson (1952).

The Free Exercise Clause

Many settlers from Europe braved the hardships of immigration to the American colonies to escape religious persecution in their home countries and to secure the freedom to worship according to their own conscience and conviction. Although the colonists often understood freedom of religion more narrowly than we do today, support for protection of some conception of religious freedom was broad and deep. By the time of Independence and the construction of a new Constitution, freedom of religion was among the most widely recognized inalienable rights, protected in some fashion by state bills of rights and judicial decisions. James Madison, for example, the principal author of the First Amendment, eloquently expressed his support for such a provision in Virginia: It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.

Although the original Constitution contained only a prohibition of religious tests for federal office (Article VI, Clause 3), the Free Exercise Clause was added as part of the First Amendment in 1791. In drafting the Clause, Congress considered several formulations, but ultimately settled on protecting the free exercise of religion. This phrase makes plain the protection of actions as well as beliefs, but only those in some way connected to religion.

From the beginning, courts in the United States have struggled to find a balance between the religious liberty of believers, who often claim the right to be excused or exempted from laws that interfere with their religious practices, and the interests of society reflected in those very laws. Early state court decisions went both ways on this central question.

The Supreme Court first addressed the question in a series of cases involving nineteenth-century laws aimed at suppressing the practice of polygamy by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as Mormons. The Court unanimously rejected free exercise challenges to these laws, holding that the Free Exercise Clause protects beliefs but not conduct. Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Reynolds v. United States (1878). What followed was perhaps the most extreme government assault on religious freedom in American history. Hundreds of church leaders were jailed, rank-and-file Mormons were deprived of their right to vote, and Congress dissolved the LDS Church and expropriated most of its property, until the church finally agreed to abandon polygamy.

The belief-action distinction ignored the Free Exercise Clauses obvious protection of religious practice, but spoke to the concern that allowing believers to disobey laws that bind everyone else would undermine the value of a government of laws applied to all. Doing so, Reynolds warned, would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

Reynolds influenced the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause well into the twentieth century. In 1940, for example, the Court extended the Clausewhich by its terms constrains only the federal governmentto limit state laws and other state actions that burden religious exercise. Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940). Though it recognized that governments may not unduly infringe religious exercise, the Court reiterated that [c]onduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society, citing Reynolds as authority. Similarly, the Court held in 1961 that the Free Exercise Clause did not exempt an orthodox Jewish merchant from Sunday closing laws, again citing Reynolds.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Court shifted, strengthening protection for religious conduct by construing the Free Exercise Clause to protect a right of religious believers to exemption from generally applicable laws which burden religious exercise. The Court held that the government may not enforce even a religiously-neutral law that applies generally to all or most of society unless the public interest in enforcement is compelling. Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972). Yoder thus held that Amish families could not be punished for refusing to send their children to school beyond the age of 14.

Although the language of this compelling-interest test suggested powerful protections for religion, these were never fully realized. The cases in which the Supreme Court denied exemptions outnumbered those in which it granted them. Aside from Yoder, the Court exempted believers from availability for work requirements, which denied unemployment benefits to workers terminated for prioritizing religious practices over job requirements. But it denied exemptions to believers and religious organizations which found their religious practices burdened by conditions for federal tax exemption, military uniform regulations, federal minimum wage laws, state prison regulations, state sales taxes, federal administration of public lands, and mandatory taxation and other requirements of the Social Security system. In all of these cases the Court found, often controversially, either that the governments interest in enforcement was compelling, or that the law in question did not constitute a legally-recognizable burden on religious practice.

In 1990, the Supreme Court changed course yet again, holding that the Free Exercise Clause does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes). Employment Division v. Smith (1990). Though it did not return to the belief-action distinction, the Court echoed Reynolds concern that religious exemptions permit a person, by virtue of his beliefs, to become a law unto himself, contradicting both constitutional tradition and common sense. Any exceptions to religiously-neutral and generally-applicable laws, therefore, must come from the political process. Smith went on to hold that the Free Exercise Clause does not protect the sacramental use of peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, by members of the Native American Church.

Smith proved to be controversial. In 1993, overwhelming majorities in Congress voted to reinstate the pre-Smith compelling-interest test by statute with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA authorizes courts to exempt a person from any law that imposes a substantial burden on sincere religious beliefs or actions, unless the government can show that the law is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. Almost half of the states have passed similar lawsstate RFRAsapplicable to their own laws. In 1997 the Supreme Court held that Congress had constitutional authority only to apply RFRA to federal laws, and not to state or local laws. Congress then enacted a narrower law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which applies the compelling-interest test to state laws affecting prisoners and land use. RFRA and RLUIPA have afforded exemptions in a wide range of federal and state contextsfrom kosher and halal diets for prisoners, to relief from zoning and landmark regulations on churches and ministries, to exemptions from jury service.

Although some exemption claims brought under these religious freedom statutes have been relatively uncontroversialthe Supreme Court unanimously protected the right of a tiny religious sect to use a hallucinogenic drug prohibited by federal law and the right of a Muslim prisoner to wear a half-inch beard prohibited by state prison rulessome touch on highly contested moral questions. For example, the Court by a 5-4 vote excused a commercial family-owned corporation from complying with the contraception mandate, a regulation which required the corporations health insurance plan to cover what its owners believe are abortion-inducing drugs. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. (2014). In the wake of Hobby Lobby and the Courts subsequent determination that states may not deny gays and lesbians the right to civil marriage, state RFRAs have become a flashpoint in conflicts over whether commercial vendors with religious objections may refuse their products and services to same-sex weddings.

Besides RFRA and other exemption statutes, the Free Exercise Clause itself, even after Smith, continues to provide protection for believers against burdens on religious exercise from laws that target religious practices, or that disadvantage religion in discretionary, case-by-case decision making. In Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (1993), for example, the Court unanimously struck down a local ordinance against the unnecessary killing of animals in a ritual or ceremonya law that was drawn to apply only to a small and unpopular religious sect whose worship includes animal sacrifice.

The Court recently recognized that the Free Exercise Clause (along with the Establishment Clause) required a religious exemption from a neutral and general federal antidiscrimination law that interfered with a churchs freedom to select its own ministers. The Court distinguished Smith on the ground that it involved government regulation of only outward physical acts, while this case concerns government interference with an internal church decision that affects the faith and mission of the church itself. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

It remains unclear whether Lukumi and Hosanna-Tabor are narrow exceptions to Smiths general presumption against religious exemptions, or foreshadow yet another shift towards a more exemption-friendly free exercise doctrine.

At the time the United States adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, other nations routinely imposed disabilities on religious minorities within their borders, depriving them of legal rights, making it difficult or impossible to practice their faith, and often enabling violent persecution.

One of this nations deepest commitments is to the full, equal, and free exercise of religion a right that protects not only believers, but unbelievers as well.

Religious Liberty Is Equal Liberty by Frederick Gedicks

At the time the United States adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, other nations routinely imposed disabilities on religious minorities within their borders, depriving them of legal rights, making it difficult or impossible to practice their faith, and often enabling violent persecution. The Free Exercise Clause was thus an exceptional political achievement, imposing a constitutional norm of civic equality by prohibiting the federal government from interfering with all religious exerciseregardless of affiliation.

Only a few years before the First Amendment was ratified, James Madison wrote that all people naturally retain equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of conscience without the governments subjecting some to peculiar burdens or granting to others peculiar exemptions. A Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785). As Madison suggested, at the time the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified, the guarantee of religious free exercise was understood to protect against government discrimination or abuse on the basis of religion, but not to require favorable government treatment of believers. In particular, there is little evidence that the Founders understood the Free Exercise Clause to mandate religious exemptions that would excuse believers from complying with neutral and general laws that constrain the rest of society.

The Supreme Court has historically left the question of religious exemptions to Congress and the state legislatures. The first judicially-ordered exemptions arose in the 1960s and early 1970s, when the Supreme Court held the Free Exercise Clause required religious exemptions for Amish families who objected to sending their children to high school, and for employees who were denied unemployment benefits when they lost their jobs for refusing to work on their Sabbath. This doctrine of judicially-ordered exemptions, however, was an historical aberration. In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the Court considered a claim by members of a Native American religion who lost their jobs as drug counselors for using an illegal drug in a religious ritual. The Court abandoned its new doctrine of religious exemptions, ruling that the Free Exercise Clause did not grant believers a right to exemptions from religiously neutral, generally applicable laws, though legislatures were free to grant such exemptions if they wished. This relegation of exemptions to the political process in most circumstances returned the Free Exercise Clause to its historical baseline. Notwithstanding the narrow ministerial exception recognized in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church & School v. EEOC (2012), the Court has repeatedly affirmed Smith and the century of precedent cited in that case, and has shown no inclination to overturn its basic principle that neutral and general laws should apply equally to all, regardless of religious belief or unbelief.

The growth of social welfare entitlements and religious diversity in the United States has underscored the wisdom of the Smith rule. Exempting believers from social welfare laws may give them a competitive advantage, and also may harm those whom the law was designed to protect or benefit.

For example, the Court refused to exempt an Amish employer from paying Social Security taxes for his employees, reasoning that doing so would impose the employers religious faith on the employees by reducing their social security benefits regardless of whether they shared their employers religious objection to government entitlement programs. United States v. Lee (1982). Similarly, the Court refused to exempt a religious employer from federal minimum wage laws, because doing so would give the employer an advantage over competitors and depress the wages of all employees in local labor markets. Tony & Susan Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor (1985).

Read the full discussion here.

The Court seems poised to adopt this third-party burden principle in decisions interpreting the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as well. Five Justices in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), expressly stated that RFRA exemptions imposing significant costs on others are not allowed. The majority opinion likewise acknowledged that courts must take adequate account of third-party burdens before ordering a RFRA exemption.

The growth of religious diversity makes a religious exemption regime doubly impractical. The vast range of religious beliefs and practices in the United States means that there is a potential religious objector to almost any law the government might enact. If religious objectors were presumptively entitled to exemption from any burdensome law, religious exemptions would threaten to swallow the rule of law, which presupposes its equal application to everyone. As the Court observed in Lee, a religiously diverse social welfare state cannot shield every person . . . from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs.

Even under the equal-liberty regime contemplated by the Founders and restored by Smith, government remains subject to important constraints that protect religious liberty. Religious gerrymanders, or laws that single out particular religions for burdens not imposed on other religions or on comparable secular conduct, must satisfy strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause. Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (1993); Sherbert v. Verner (1963). Under RFRA and the related Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), the federal government and often the state governments are prohibited from burdening religious exercise without adequate justification. Holt v. Hobbs (2015); Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal (2005). And, like judicially-ordered exemptions, legislative exemptions that impose material costs on others in order to protect believers free exercise interests may be invalid under the Establishment Clause, which protects believers and unbelievers alike from bearing the burdens of practicing someone elses religion. Estate of Thornton v. Caldor (1985).

If exemptions are to be afforded to those whose religious practices are burdened by neutral and general laws, they should generally not be granted by courts, but by the politically accountable branches of the federal and state governments. These branches are better situated to weigh and balance the competing interests of believers and others in a complex and religiously-diverse society.

Free Exercise: A Vital Protection for Diversity and Freedom by Michael McConnell

One of this nations deepest commitments is to the full, equal, and free exercise of religion a right that protects not only believers, but unbelievers as well. The government cannot use its authority to forbid Americans to conduct their lives in accordance with their religious beliefs or to require them to engage in actions contrary to religious conscience even when the vast majority of their countrymen regard those beliefs as backward, mistaken, or even immoral.

Unfortunately, in the last few years and especially since the Supreme Courts decision requiring states to recognize same-sex marriage this consensus in favor of tolerance has been slipping. All too often, we hear demands that religious people and religious institutions such as colleges or adoption agencies must join the state in recognizing same-sex marriages (or performing abortions or supplying contraceptives, or whatever the issues happen to be), or lose their right to operate.

That has not been the American way. When this country severed its ties with the British Empire, one thing that went with it was the established church. To an unprecedented degree, the young United States not only tolerated but actively welcomed people of all faiths. For example, despite his annoyance with the Quakers for their refusal to support the revolutionary war effort, Washington wrote to a Quaker Society to express his wish and desire, that the laws may always be as extensively accommodated to them, as a due regard for the protection and essential interests of the nation may justify and permit. Letter to the Annual Meeting of Quakers (1789).

What would it mean to have a regime of free exercise of religion? No one knew; there had been no such thing before. It quickly became clear that it was not enough just to cease persecution or discrimination against religious minorities. Just two years after the ink was dry on the First Amendment, the leader of the Jewish community in Philadelphia went to court and asked, under authority of his states free exercise clause, to be excused from complying with a subpoena to appear in court on his day of sabbath. He did not ask that the state cease to do official business on Saturday, but he did ask the court to make an exception an accommodation that would enable him to be faithful to the Jewish law.

This would become the central interpretive question under the Free Exercise Clause: Does it give Americans whose religions conflict with government practices the right to ask for special accommodation, assuming an accommodation can be made without great harm to the public interest or the rights of others?

Read the full discussion here.

In the early years, some religious claimants won and some lost. The Mormon Church lost in a big way, in the first such case to reach the United States Supreme Court. Reynolds v. United States (1878). In 1963, the Supreme Court held that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does require the government to make accommodations for religious exercise, subject as always to limitations based on the public interest and the rights of others. Sherbert v. Verner (1963). In 1990, the Court shifted to the opposite view, in a case involving the sacramental use of peyote by members of the Native American Church. Employment Division v. Smith (1990).

Today we have a patchwork of rules. When the federal government is involved, legislation called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act grants us the right to seek appropriate accommodation when our religious practices conflict with government policy. About half the states have similar rules, and a similar rule protects prisoners like the Muslim prisoner who recently won the right to wear a half-inch beard in accordance with Islamic law, by a 9-0 vote in the Supreme Court. Holt v. Hobbs (2015).

The range of claims has been as diverse as the religious demography of the country. A small Brazilian sect won the right to use a hallucinogenic drug in worship ceremonies; Amish farmers have won exceptions from traffic rules; Muslim soldiers have been given special accommodation when fasting for Ramadan; Orthodox Jewish boys won the right to wear their skullcaps when playing high school basketball; a Jehovahs Witness won the right to unemployment compensation after he quit rather than working to produce tank turrets; a Mormon acting student won the right to refuse roles involving nudity or profanity; and in the most controversial recent case, a family-owned business with religious objections to paying for abortion-inducing drugs persuaded the Supreme Court that the government should make those contraceptives available without forcing them to be involved.

In all these cases, courts or agencies came to the conclusion that religious exercise could be accommodated with little or no harm to the public interest or to others. As Justice Sandra Day OConnor (joined by liberal lions Brennan, Marshall, and Blackmun) wrote: courts have been quite capable of applying our free exercise jurisprudence to strike sensible balances between religious liberty and competing state interests. Employment Division v. Smith (1989) (concurring opinion).

At a time when the Supreme Courts same-sex marriage decision has allowed many millions of Americans to live their lives in accordance with their own identity, it would be tragic if we turned our backs on the right to live in accordance with our religious conviction, which is also part of who we are. A robust protection for free exercise of religion is not only part of the American tradition, it is vital to our protection for diversity and freedom.

Freedom of Speech and the Press

Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. What does this mean today? Generally speaking, it means that the government may not jail, fine, or impose civil liability on people or organizations based on what they say or write, except in exceptional circumstances.

Although the First Amendment says Congress, the Supreme Court has held that speakers are protected against all government agencies and officials: federal, state, and local, and legislative, executive, or judicial. The First Amendment does not protect speakers, however, against private individuals or organizations, such as private employers, private colleges, or private landowners. The First Amendment restrains only the government.

The Supreme Court has interpreted speech and press broadly as covering not only talking, writing, and printing, but also broadcasting, using the Internet, and other forms of expression. The freedom of speech also applies to symbolic expression, such as displaying flags, burning flags, wearing armbands, burning crosses, and the like.

The Supreme Court has held that restrictions on speech because of its contentthat is, when the government targets the speakers messagegenerally violate the First Amendment. Laws that prohibit people from criticizing a war, opposing abortion, or advocating high taxes are examples of unconstitutional content-based restrictions. Such laws are thought to be especially problematic because they distort public debate and contradict a basic principle of self-governance: that the government cannot be trusted to decide what ideas or information the people should be allowed to hear.

There are generally three situations in which the government can constitutionally restrict speech under a less demanding standard.

The rest is here:
First Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Annotation 6 – First Amendment – FindLaw

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Oct 282015


Adoption and the Common Law Background

Madison’s version of the speech and press clauses, introduced in the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789, provided: ”The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”1 The special committee rewrote the language to some extent, adding other provisions from Madison’s draft, to make it read: ”The freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to apply to the Government for redress of grievances, shall not be infringed.”2 In this form it went to the Senate, which rewrote it to read: ”That Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”3 Subsequently, the religion clauses and these clauses were combined by the Senate.4 The final language was agreed upon in conference.

Debate in the House is unenlightening with regard to the meaning the Members ascribed to the speech and press clause and there is no record of debate in the Senate.5 In the course of debate, Madison warned against the dangers which would arise ”from discussing and proposing abstract propositions, of which the judgment may not be convinced. I venture to say, that if we confine ourselves to an enumeration of simple, acknowledged principles, the ratification will meet with but little difficulty.”6 That the ”simple, acknowledged principles” embodied in the First Amendment have occasioned controversy without end both in the courts and out should alert one to the difficulties latent in such spare language. Insofar as there is likely to have been a consensus, it was no doubt the common law view as expressed by Blackstone. ”The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the Revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government. But to punish as the law does at present any dangerous or offensive writings, which, when published, shall on a fair and impartial trial be adjudged of a pernicious tendency, is necessary for the preservation of peace and good order, of government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty. Thus, the will of individuals is still left free: the abuse only of that free will is the object of legal punishment. Neither is any restraint hereby laid upon freedom of thought or inquiry; liberty of private sentiment is still left; the disseminating, or making public, of bad sentiments, destructive to the ends of society, is the crime which society corrects.”7

Whatever the general unanimity on this proposition at the time of the proposal of and ratification of the First Amendment,8 it appears that there emerged in the course of the Jeffersonian counterattack on the Sedition Act9 and the use by the Adams Administration of the Act to prosecute its political opponents,10 something of a libertarian theory of freedom of speech and press,11 which, however much the Jeffersonians may have departed from it upon assuming power,12 was to blossom into the theory undergirding Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence in modern times. Full acceptance of the theory that the Amendment operates not only to bar most prior restraints of expression but subsequent punishment of all but a narrow range of expression, in political discourse and indeed in all fields of expression, dates from a quite recent period, although the Court’s movement toward that position began in its consideration of limitations on speech and press in the period following World War I.13 Thus, in 1907, Justice Holmes could observe that even if the Fourteenth Amendment embodied prohibitions similar to the First Amendment, ”still we should be far from the conclusion that the plaintiff in error would have us reach. In the first place, the main purpose of such constitutional provisions is ‘to prevent all such previous restraints upon publications as had been practiced by other governments,’ and they do not prevent the subsequent punishment of such as may be deemed contrary to the public welfare . . . . The preliminary freedom extends as well to the false as to the true; the subsequent punishment may extend as well to the true as to the false. This was the law of criminal libel apart from statute in most cases, if not in all.”14 But as Justice Holmes also observed, ”[t]here is no constitutional right to have all general propositions of law once adopted remain unchanged.”15

But in Schenck v. United States,16 the first of the post-World War I cases to reach the Court, Justice Holmes, in the opinion of the Court, while upholding convictions for violating the Espionage Act by attempting to cause insubordination in the military service by circulation of leaflets, suggested First Amendment restraints on subsequent punishment as well as prior restraint. ”It well may be that the prohibition of laws abridging the freedom of speech is not confined to previous restraints although to prevent them may have been the main purpose . . . . We admit that in many places and in ordinary times the defendants in saying all that was said in the circular would have been within their constitutional rights. But the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. . . . The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Justice Holmes along with Justice Brandeis soon went into dissent in their views that the majority of the Court was misapplying the legal standards thus expressed to uphold suppression of speech which offered no threat of danger to organized institutions.17 But it was with the Court’s assumption that the Fourteenth Amendment restrained the power of the States to suppress speech and press that the doctrines developed.18 At first, Holmes and Brandeis remained in dissent, but in Fiske v. Kansas,19 the Court sustained a First Amendment type of claim in a state case, and in Stromberg v. California,20 a state law was voided on grounds of its interference with free speech.21 State common law was also voided, the Court in an opinion by Justice Black asserting that the First Amendment enlarged protections for speech, press, and religion beyond those enjoyed under English common law.22 Development over the years since has been uneven, but by 1964 the Court could say with unanimity: ”we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”23 And in 1969, it was said that the cases ”have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”24 This development and its myriad applications are elaborated in the following sections. The First Amendment by its terms applies only to laws enacted by Congress, and not to the actions of private persons. Supp.15 This leads to a ”state action” (or ”governmental action”) limitation similar to that applicable to the Fourteenth Amendment. Supp.16 The limitation has seldom been litigated in the First Amendment context, but there is no obvious reason why analysis should differ markedly from Fourteenth Amendment state action analysis. Both contexts require ”cautious analysis of the quality and degree of Government relationship to the particular acts in question.” Supp.17 In holding that the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) is a governmental entity for purposes of the First Amendment, the Court declared that ”[t]he Constitution constrains governmental action ‘by whatever instruments or in whatever modes that action may be taken.’. . . [a]nd under whatever congressional label.”Supp.18 The relationship of the government to broadcast licensees affords other opportunities to explore the breadth of ”governmental action.”Supp.19


[Footnote 1] 1 Annals of Congress 434 (1789). Madison had also proposed language limiting the power of the States in a number of respects, including a guarantee of freedom of the press, Id. at 435. Although passed by the House, the amendment was defeated by the Senate, supra, p.957.

[Footnote 2] Id. at 731 (August 15, 1789).

[Footnote 3] The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History 1148-49 (B. Schwartz ed. 1971).

[Footnote 4] Id. at 1153.

[Footnote 5] The House debate insofar as it touched upon this amendment was concerned almost exclusively with a motion to strike the right to assemble and an amendment to add a right of the people to instruct their Representatives. 1 Annals of Congress 731-49 (August 15, 1789). There are no records of debates in the States on ratification.

[Footnote 6] Id. at 738.

[Footnote 7] 4 W. Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England 151-52 (T. Cooley 2d rev. ed. 1872). See 3 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 1874-86 (Boston: 1833). The most comprehensive effort to assess theory and practice in the period prior to and immediately following adoption of the Amendment is L. Levy, Legacy of Suppression: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early American History (1960), which generally concluded that the Blackstonian view was the prevailing one at the time and probably the understanding of those who drafted, voted for, and ratified the Amendment.

[Footnote 8] It would appear that Madison advanced libertarian views earlier than his Jeffersonian compatriots, as witness his leadership of a move to refuse officially to concur in Washington’s condemnation of ”[c]ertain self-created societies,” by which the President meant political clubs supporting the French Revolution, and his success in deflecting the Federalist intention to censure such societies. I. Brant, James Madison–Father of the Constitution 1787-1800, 416-20 (1950). ”If we advert to the nature of republican government,” Madison told the House, ”we shall find that the censorial power is in the people over the government, and not in the government over the people.” 4 Annals of Congress 934 (1794). On the other hand, the early Madison, while a member of his county’s committee on public safety, had enthusiastically promoted prosecution of Loyalist speakers and the burning of their pamphlets during the Revolutionary period. 1 Papers of James Madison 147, 161-62, 190-92 (W. Hutchinson & W. Rachal eds. 1962). There seems little doubt that Jefferson held to the Blackstonian view. Writing to Madison in 1788, he said: ”A declaration that the federal government will never restrain the presses from printing anything they please, will not take away the liability of the printers for false facts printed.” 13 Papers of Thomas Jefferson 442 (J. Boyd ed. 1955). Commenting a year later to Madison on his proposed amendment, Jefferson suggested that the free speech-free press clause might read something like: ”The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write or otherwise to publish anything but false facts affecting injuriously the life, liberty, property, or reputation of others or affecting the peace of the confederacy with foreign nations.” 15 Papers, supra, at 367.

[Footnote 9] The Act, Ch. 74, 1 Stat. 596 (1798), punished anyone who would ”write, print, utter or publish . . . any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute.” See J. Smith, Freedom’s Fetters–The Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties (1956).

[Footnote 10] Id. at 159 et seq.

[Footnote 11] L. Levy, Legacy of Suppression: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early American History, ch. 6 (Cambridge, 1960); New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 273-76 (1964). But compare L. Levy, Emergence of a Free Press (1985), a revised and enlarged edition of Legacy of Suppression, in which Professor Levy modifies his earlier views, arguing that while the intention of the Framers to outlaw the crime of seditious libel, in pursuit of a free speech principle, cannot be established and may not have been the goal, there was a tradition of robust and rowdy expression during the period of the framing that contradicts his prior view that a modern theory of free expression did not begin to emerge until the debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts.

[Footnote 12] L. Levy, Jefferson and Civil Liberties–The Darker Side (Cambridge, 1963). Thus President Jefferson wrote to Governor McKean of Pennsylvania in 1803: ”The federalists having failed in destroying freedom of the press by their gag-law, seem to have attacked it in an opposite direction; that is, by pushing its licentiousness and its lying to such a degree of prostitution as to deprive it of all credit. . . . This is a dangerous state of things, and the press ought to be restored to its credibility if possible. The restraints provided by the laws of the States are sufficient for this if applied. And I have, therefore, long thought that a few prosecutions of the most prominent offenders would have a wholesome effect in restoring the integrity of the presses. Not a general prosecution, for that would look like persecution; but a selected one.” 9 Works of Thomas Jefferson 449 (P. Ford, ed. 1905).

[Footnote 13] New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), provides the principal doctrinal justification for the development, although the results had long since been fully applied by the Court. In Sullivan, Justice Brennan discerned in the controversies over the Sedition Act a crystallization of ”a national awareness of the central meaning of the First Amendment,” id. at 273, which is that the ”right of free public discussion of the stewardship of public officials . . . [is] a fundamental principle of the American form of government.” Id. at 275. This ”central meaning” proscribes either civil or criminal punishment for any but the most maliciously, knowingly false criticism of government. ”Although the Sedition Act was never tested in this Court, the attack upon its validity has carried the day in the court of history. . . . [The historical record] reflect[s] a broad consensus that the Act, because of the restraint it imposed upon criticism of government and public officials, was inconsistent with the First Amendment.” Id. at 276. Madison’s Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and his Report in support of them brought together and expressed the theories being developed by the Jeffersonians and represent a solid doctrinal foundation for the point of view that the First Amendment superseded the common law on speech and press, that a free, popular government cannot be libeled, and that the First Amendment absolutely protects speech and press. 6 Writings of James Madison, 341-406 (G. Hunt. ed. 1908).

[Footnote 14] Patterson v. Colorado, 205 U.S. 454, 462 (1907) (emphasis original). Justice Frankfurter had similar views in 1951: ”The historic antecedents of the First Amendment preclude the notion that its purpose was to give unqualified immunity to every expression that touched on matters within the range of political interest. . . . ‘The law is perfectly well settled,’ this Court said over fifty years ago, ‘that the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, were not intended to lay down any novel principles of government, but simply to embody certain guaranties and immunities which we had inherited from our English ancestors, and which had from time immemorial been subject to certain well-recognized exceptions arising from the necessities of the case. In incorporating these principles into the fundamental law there was no intention of disregarding the exceptions, which continued to be recognized as if they had been formally expressed.’ That this represents the authentic view of the Bill of Rights and the spirit in which it must be construed has been recognized again and again in cases that have come here within the last fifty years.” Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 521-522, 524 (1951) (concurring opinion). The internal quotation is from Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275, 281 (1897).

[Footnote 15] Patterson v. Colorado, 205 U.S. 454, 461 (1907).

[Footnote 16] 249 U.S. 47, 51-52 (1919) (citations omitted).

[Footnote 17] Debs v. United States, 249 U.S. 211 (1919); Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919); Schaefer v. United States, 251 U.S. 466 (1920); Pierce v. United States, 252 U.S. 239 (1920); United States ex rel. Milwaukee Social Democratic Pub. Co. v. Burleson, 255 U.S. 407 (1921). A state statute similar to the federal one was upheld in Gilbert v. Minnesota, 254 U.S. 325 (1920).

[Footnote 18] Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925); Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927). The Brandeis and Holmes dissents in both cases were important formulations of speech and press principles.

[Footnote 19] 274 U.S. 380 (1927).

[Footnote 20] 283 U.S. 359 (1931). By contrast, it was not until 1965 that a federal statute was held unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Lamont v. Postmaster General, 381 U.S. 301 (1965). See also United States v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967).

[Footnote 21] And see Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 U.S. 697 (1931); Herndon v. Lowry, 301 U.S. 242 (1937); De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353 (1937); Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938).

[Footnote 22] Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 263-68 (1941) (overturning contempt convictions of newspaper editor and others for publishing commentary on pending cases).

[Footnote 23] New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964).

[Footnote 24] Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969).

[Footnote 15 (1996 Supplement)] Through interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the prohibition extends to the States as well. See discussion on incorporation, main text, pp. 957-64.

[Footnote 16 (1996 Supplement)] See discussion on state action, main text, pp.1786-1802.

[Footnote 17 (1996 Supplement)] CBS v. Democratic Nat’l Comm., 412 U.S. 94, 115 (1973) (opinion of Chief Justice Burger).

[Footnote 18 (1996 Supplement)] Lebron v. National R.R. Passenger Corp., 115 S. Ct. 961, 971 (1995) (quoting Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339, 346-47 (1880)). The Court refused to be bound by the statement in Amtrak’s authorizing statute that the corporation is ”not . . . an agency or establishment of the United States Government.” This assertion can be effective ”only for purposes of matters that are within Congress’ control,” the Court explained. ”It is not for Congress to make the final determination of Amtrak’s status as a governmental entity for purposes of determining the constitutional rights of citizens affected by its actions.” 115 S. Ct. at 971.

[Footnote 19 (1996 Supplement)] In CBS v. Democratic Nat’l Comm., 412 U.S. 94 (1973), the Court held that a broadcast licensee could refuse to carry a paid editorial advertisement. Chief Justice Burger, joined only by Justices Stewart and Rehnquist in that portion of his opinion, reasoned that a licensee’s refusal to accept such an ad did not constitute ”governmental action” for purposes of the First Amendment. ”The First Amendment does not reach acts of private parties in every instance where the Congress or the [Federal Communications] Commission has merely permitted or failed to prohibit such acts.” Id. at 119.

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Annotation 6 – First Amendment – FindLaw

First Amendment – Text, Origins, and Meaning

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Oct 232015

Text of Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 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. Jeff Hunter/The Image Bank/Getty Images Origins of the First Amendment

The founding father most concerned–some might say obsessed–with free speech and free religious exercise was Thomas Jefferson, who had already implemented several similar protections in the constitution of his home state of Virginia. It was Jefferson who ultimately persuaded James Madison to propose the Bill of Rights, and the First Amendment was Jefferson’s top priority.

The first clause in the First Amendment–“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”–is generally referred to as the establishment clause. It is the establishment clause that grants “separation of church and state,” preventing–for example–a government-funded Church of the United States from coming into being. More

The second clause in the First Amendment–“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”–protects freedom of religion. Religious persecution was for all practical purposes universal during the 18th century, and in the already religiously diverse United States there was immense pressure to guarantee that the U.S. government would not require uniformity of belief.

Congress is also prohibited from passing laws “abridging the freedom of speech.” What free speech means, exactly, has varied from era to era. It is noteworthy that within ten years of the Bill of Rights’ ratification, President John Adams successfully passed an act specifically written to restrict the free speech of supporters of Adams’ political opponent, Thomas Jefferson. More

During the 18th century, pamphleteers such as Thomas Paine were subject to persecution for publishing unpopular opinions. The freedom of press clause makes it clear that the First Amendment is meant to protect not only freedom to speak, but also freedom to publish and distribute speech. More

The “right of the people to peaceably assemble” was frequently violated by the British in the years leading up to the American Revolution, as efforts were made to ensure that radical colonists would not be able to foment a revolutionary movement. The Bill of Rights, written as it was by revolutionaries, was intended to prevent the government from restricting future social movements.

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First Amendment – Text, Origins, and Meaning

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Second Amendment – Conservapedia

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Oct 192015

See also gun control.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states:[1]

For several decades, the lower federal courts had interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting merely a collective right of state militias.[2] However, the U.S Supreme Court has always called it an individual right. The 2008 Supreme Court decision of District of Columbia v. Heller ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

In 1786, the United States existed as a loose national government under the Articles of Confederation. This confederation was perceived to have several weaknesses, among which was the inability to mount a Federal military response to an armed uprising in western Massachusetts known as Shays’ Rebellion.

In 1787, to address these weaknesses, the Constitutional Convention was held with the idea of amending the Articles. When the convention ended with a proposed Constitution, those who debated the ratification of the Constitution divided into two camps; the Federalists (who supported ratification of the Constitution) and the Anti-Federalists (who opposed it).

Among their objections to the Constitution, anti-Federalists feared a standing army that could eventually endanger democracy and civil liberties. Although the anti-Federalists were unsuccessful at blocking ratification of the Constitution, through the Massachusetts Compromise they insured that a Bill of Rights would be made, which would provide constitutional guarantees against taking away certain rights.

One of those rights was the right to bear arms. This was intended to prevent the Federal Government from taking away the ability of the states to raise an army and defend itself and arguably to prevent them from taking away from individuals the ability to bear arms.

The meaning of this amendment is controversial with respect to gun control.

The National Rifle Association, which supports gun rights, has a stone plaque in front of its headquarters bearing the words “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The slogan means that individual citizens have the right to own and use guns.

American law has always said that the militia includes ordinary private citizens, and gun rights advocates say that the amendment means individuals have the right to own and use guns. Gun control advocates began in the late 20th century to say it means only that there is only some sort of collective or state-controlled right.

Supreme Court opinions have all been consistent with the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, but the lower court opinions are mixed.

As of 2007, people argue about the meaning of the Second Amendment, but there is no definitive answer. The latest ruling is Parker v District of Columbia, in which the DC Circuit court of appeals ruled on March 9, 2007 that the DC gun ban violated individual rights under the Second Amendment.

The One Comma vs. The Three Comma Debate

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.””’

Quoted from:

Down to the Last Second (Amendment)

Participants in the various debates on firearms, crime, and constitutional law may have noticed that the Second Amendment is often quoted differently by those involved. The two main variations differ in punctuation- specifically, in the number of commas used to separate those twenty-seven words. But which is the correct one? The answer to this question must be found in official records from the early days of the republic. Therefore, a look into the progression of this declaratory and restrictive clause from its inception to its final form is in order.

Before beginning, one must note that common nouns, like “state” and “people,” were often capitalized in official and unofficial documents of the era. Also, an obsolete formation of the letter s used to indicate the long s sound was in common usage. The long ‘s’ is subject to confusion with the lower case ‘f’ ,therefore, Congress” is sometimes spelled as “Congrefs,” as is the case in the parchment copy of the Bill of Rights displayed by the National Archives. The quotations listed here are accurate. With the exception of the omission of quotations marks, versions of what is now known as the Second Amendment in boldface appear with the exact spelling, capitalization, and punctuation as the cited originals.

During ratification debates on the Constitution in the state conventions, several states proposed amendments to that charter. Anti-Federalist opposition to ratification was particularly strong in the key states of New York and Virginia, and one of their main grievances was that the Constitution lacked a declaration of rights. During the ratification process, Federalist James Madison became a champion of such a declaration, and so it fell to him, as a member of the 1st Congress, to write one. On June 8, 1789, Madison introduced his declaration of rights on the floor of the House. One of its articles read:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.1

On July 21, John Vining of Delaware was appointed to chair a select committee of eleven to review, and make a report on, the subject of amendments to the Constitution. Each committeeman represented one of the eleven states (Rhode Island and North Carolina had not ratified the Constitution at that time), with James Madison representing Virginia. Unfortunately, no record of the committee’s proceedings is known to exist. Seven days later, Vining duly issued the report, one of the amendments reading:

A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms. 2

In debates on the House floor, some congressmen, notably Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts and Thomas Scott of Pennsylvania, objected to the conscientious objector clause in the fifth article. They expressed concerns that a future Congress might declare the people religiously scrupulous in a bid to disarm them, and that such persons could not be called up for military duty. However, motions to strike the clause were not carried. On August 21, the House enumerated the Amendments as modified, with the fifth article listed as follows:

5. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person. 3

Finally, on August 24, the House of Representatives passed its proposals for amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the Senate for their consideration. The next day, the Senate entered the document into their official journal. The Senate Journal shows Article the Fifth as:

Art. V. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person. 4

On September 4, the Senate debated the amendments proposed by the House, and the conscientious objector clause was quickly stricken. Sadly, these debates were held in secret, so records of them do not exist. The Senators agreed to accept Article the Fifth in this form:

…a well regulated militia, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall net be infringed. 5

In further debates on September 9, the Senate agreed to strike the words, “the best,” and replace them with, “necessary to the.” Since the third and fourth articles had been combined, the Senators also agreed to rename the amendment as Article the Fourth. The Senate Journal that day carried the article without the word, “best,” but also without the replacements, “necessary to.” Note that the extraneous commas have been omitted:

A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. 6

With two-thirds of the Senate concurring on the proposed amendments, they were sent back to the House for the Representatives’ perusal. On September 21, the House notified the Senate that it agreed to some of their amendments, but not all of them. However, they agreed to Article the Fourth in its entirety:

Resolved, That this House doth agree to the second, fourth, eighth, twelfth, thirteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth amendments… 7

By September 25, the Congress had resolved all differences pertaining to the proposed amendments to the Constitution. On that day, a Clerk of the House, William Lambert, put what is now known as the Bill of Rights to parchment. Three days later, it was signed by the Speaker of the House, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, and the President of the Senate, Vice President John Adams. This parchment copy is held by the National Archives and Records Administration, and shows the following version of the fourth article:

Article the Fourth. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. 8

The above version is used almost exclusively today, but aside from the parchment copy, the author was unable to find any other official documents from that era which carry the amendment with the extra commas. In fact, in the appendix of the Senate Journal, Article the Fourth is entered as reading:

Art. IV. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.9

Also, the Annals of Congress, formally called The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, show the proposed amendment as follows:

Article the Fourth. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.10

Further, once two-thirds of both chambers of the Congress agreed to the proposed amendments, the House passed a resolve to request that the President send copies of them to the governors of the eleven states in the Union, and to those of Rhode Island and North Carolina. The Senate concurred on September 26, as recorded in their journal:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be requested to transmit to the executives of the United States, which have ratified the constitution copies of the amendments proposed by Congress, to be added thereto; and like copies to the executives of the states of Rhode Island and North Carolina.11

Fortunately, an original copy of the amendments proposed by the Congress, and sent to the State of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations, does survive. Certified as a true copy by Assembly Secretary Henry Ward, it reads in part:

Article the Fourth, –A well regulated Militia being neceffary to the Security of a free State, the Right of the People to keep and bear Arms fhall not be infringed. 12

And so, the proposed amendments to the Constitution were sent to the states for ratification. When notifying the President that their legislatures or conventions had ratified some or all of the proposed amendments, some states attached certified copies of them. New York, Maryland, South Carolina, and Rhode Island notified the general government that they had ratified the fourth amendment in this form:

Article the Fourth. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. 13

Articles the First and Second were not ratified by the required three-fourths of the states, but by December 15, 1791, the last ten articles were. These, of course, are now known as the Bill of Rights. Renumbering the amendments was required since the first two had not been ratified. The 1796 revision of The Federalist on the New Constitution reflects the change as such:


A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.14

This version is carried throughout the 19th Century, in such legal treatises as Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833) and Thomas Cooley’s Principles of Constitutional Law (1898). It is also transcribed in this manner in the 1845 Statutes at Large, although the term “state” is capitalized in that text. The latter are the official source for acts of Congress.15,16, 17

This version still appears today, as is the case with the annotated version of the Constitution they sponsored on the Government Printing Office web site (1992, supplemented in 1996 and 1998). The Second Amendment is shown as reading:

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. 18

(The Senate-sponsored GPO site does carry a “literal print” of the amendments to the Constitution showing the Second Amendment with the additional commas. The punctuation and capitalization of the amendments transcribed there are the same as those found on the parchment copy displayed in the Rotunda of the National Archives.)19

Thus, the correct rendition of the Second Amendment carries but a single comma, after the word “state.” It was in this form that those twenty-seven words were written, agreed upon, passed, and ratified.

Why the Commas are Important

It is important to use the proper Second Amendment because it is clearly and flawlessly written in its original form. Also, the function of the words, “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” are readily discerned when the proper punctuation is used. On the other hand, the gratuitous addition of commas serve only to render the sentence grammatically incorrect and unnecessarily ambiguous. These points will be demonstrated later in the Second Amendment Series.

Footnotes to Comment section:

1. Amendments Offered in Congress by James Madison, June 8, 1789. The Constitution Society., 16 January 2000.

2. Amendments Reported by the Select Committee. July 28, 1789. The Constitution Society., 16 January 2000.

3. U.S. House Journal. 1st Cong., 1st sess., 21 August 1789.

4. U.S. Senate Journal. 1st Cong., 1st sess., 25 August 1789.

5. U.S. Senate Journal, 1st Cong., 1st sess., 4 September 1789.

6. U.S. Senate Journal, 1st Cong., 1st sess., 9 September 1789.

7. U.S. House Journal. 1st Cong., 1st sess., 21 September 1789.

8. Bill of Rights. National Archives and Records Administration., 22 January 2000.

9. U.S. Senate Journal. 1st Cong., 1st sess., Appendix.

10. Annals of Congress, 1st Cong., 1st sess., Appendix

11. U.S. Senate Journal. 1st Cong. 1st sess., 26 September 1789.

12. A True Bill. The Constitution for the United States, Its Sources and Its Applications., 27 January 2000.

13. U.S. House Journal, 1st Cong., 3rd sess., Appendix Note: Maryland and South Carolina capitalized the “m” in “Militia.”

14. The Federalist on the New Constitution, 1796. The Constitution for the United States, Its Sources and Its Applications., 17 February 2000.

15. Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution Society., 18 February 2000.

16. Quotes from Constitutional Commentators. Gun Cite., 2 February 2000.

17. Statutes at Large 1845, 21.

18. Second Amendment–Bearing Arms. The Constitution of the United States of America., 18 February 2000.

19. Text of the Amendments (Literal Print). The Constitution of the United States of America., 18 February 2000.

Liberals have made various efforts to subvert the Second Amendment by enacting unconstitutional gun laws which restrict the ability of individuals to protect themselves against the excesses of government. Examples include:

See also list of celebrities against Second Amendment

Bill of Rights: 1 – Freedom of speech, press, etc. 2 – Right to bear arms 3 – Quartering of soldiers 4 – Warrants 5 – Due process 6 – Right to a speedy trial 7 – Right by trial of a jury 8 – No cruel or unusual punishments 9 – Unenumerated rights 10 – Power to the people and states

11 – Immunity of states to foreign suits 12 – Revision of presidential election procedures 13 – Abolition of slavery 14 – Citizenship 15 – Racial suffrage 16 – Federal income tax 17 – Direct election to the United States Senate 18 – Prohibition of alcohol 19 – Women’s suffrage 20 – Terms of the presidency 21 – Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment 22 – Limits the president to two terms 23 – Electoral College 24 – Prohibition of poll taxes 25 – Presidential disabilities 26 – Voting age lowered to 18 27 – Variance of congressional compensation

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Second Amendment – Conservapedia

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Second Amendment | Fox News

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Oct 192015

Luby’s massacre survivor speaks out on gun control debate

Suzanna Hupp slams Hillary Clinton’s gun control plan on ‘The Kelly File’

Gun control advocates are launching a new regulatory push in California to impose first-in-the-nation instant background checks for ammunition sales, a move that comes as gun viole…

Alan Colmes vs: Larry Pratt on why he believes gun registration is the first step towards total confiscation of all guns

Texas professor is worried about students bringing guns to campus under new law; Daniel Hamermesh sounds off on ‘The Kelly File’

Pres. Obama’s visit to Oregon a week after shooting massacre not welcome by some Roseburg residents and the publisher of the Roseburg Beacon. ‘On the Record’ takes a closer look

Judge Napolitano’s Chambers: The Judge reminds the people what the 2nd Amendment means in 2015 and why Hillary Clinton should not convince anyone to not have guns

While the FBI continued to analyze the emails Hillary Clinton thought she deleted and her advisers pressed her to hire a Republican criminal defense attorney in Washington, a madma…

Starnes Exclusive: Franklin Graham condemns Obama’s reaction to the Oregon school shooting, defends Dr. Ben Carson’s controversial comments about the tragedy and discusses his fath…

Viewer tired of talking heads

Donald Trump goes ‘On the Record’ on his biggest disappointment with Pres. Obama, says Putin clearly has a ‘lack of respect for the president. Trump also sounds off on latest 2016 …

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Second Amendment | Fox News

Free speech – OpenLearn – Open University

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Oct 192015

David Edmonds: This is Ethics Bites, with me David Edmonds.

Nigel Warburton: And me Nigel Warburton.

David: Ethics Bites is a series of interviews on applied ethics, produced in association with The Open University.

Nigel: For more information about Ethics Bites, and about the Open University, go to

David: For John Stuart Mill the limit of freedom of speech in a civilized society was roughly the point where a speaker was inciting violence. But perhaps it isn’t as simple as that. For free speech, in the well-known example, doesnt entitle us to shout “Fire! in a crowded theatre. Where then should we draw the line, and why? Tim Scanlon, Professor in Harvard Universitys philosophy department, has spent much of his career reflecting about issues of toleration and free speech. His initial writings on the topic stressed that the value of free speech lay in autonomy in particular, the right of individuals to have access to information so as to be able to think for themselves. Now he has a more nuanced view which takes into account the interests of both speaker and listener, and empirical considerations about the danger of granting powers of regulation to the state.

Nigel: Tim Scanlon, welcome to Ethics Bites.

Tim Scanlon: Im glad to be here. Thank you very much.

Nigel: Now the topic were focusing on today is free speech. Presumably youre an advocate of free speech at some level, but lets start by getting clear what do we mean by free speech?

Tim: By free speech I mean the need for restrictions on the way in which governments can regulate speech. Whether speech is free in a further sense, that is whether people have opportunities, is a very important thing, but its not the issue of free speech.

Nigel: Thats really interesting, because you immediately began by talking about regulation and controlling what can be said.

Tim: Well certainly speaking is not without costs: what people can say can cause injury, can disclose private information, can disclose harmful public information. Its not a free zone where you can do anything because nothing matters. Speech matters. But because it matters its very important that governments who want to regulate speech, for example to prevent things that would be embarrassing to politicians, or otherwise upset the government, its important that that power should be restricted.

Nigel: The word speech seems to imply something spoken, but clearly speech stands for expression here, its not just speech is it?

Tim: No, its not just speech. In one respect, what defines our thinking about free speech is not the particular acts that constitute speech, but rather the reasons one has for wanting other people to notice for wanting to make some kind of communication with others. Speech is just one way of doing it. How you dress, how you act in public. All those things can signal to other people your values, what kind of life you favour, and the fact that the way you act, as well as the way you speak, can signal those things provide reasons for other people to want to prevent you from doing those things – because they dont want those signals to be out there in the public space. The question of free speech is the question of how that impulse to regulate what can be out there in the public space need itself be controlled.

Nigel: Ok, well lets think about the justifications for controlling free speech. Youve devoted quite a lot of your life to thinking philosophically about the limits of toleration. Whats the philosophical underpinning of your position?

Tim: Well one philosophical underpinning in driving any of this has to be understanding the reasons why people should care about having these opportunities that might be restricted. I began by talking about how free speech has to do with limitations on government power. But of course the value thats at stake is affected by things other than what the government does, its also affected by how corporations can control access to television and other important media. So here we have two sides. On the one hand, philosophically one of the first things you want to do in understanding free speech is to understand what are the values that are at stake, why should we care about it? Thats much broader than the question of government regulation. On the other hand, if you think mainly in terms of constitutional provisions, restrictions on the law, there were talking particularly about government.

Nigel: Often people talk about free speech as arising from individual autonomy. We should have a freedom to be who we are and to express ourselves in the way that we wish to. Its a basic right of humans to express themselves…

Tim: I dont know if I want to say its a basic right. I want to say that people have reasons, all kinds of reasons, to want to be able to express themselves. Although when were talking about the permissible limits on speech we need to focus not only on the interests that people have in wanting to get their own ideas out there, but also the interests that people have as potential audience members to have access to what other people want to say. Philosophical discussions of the topic divide, to some extent, as to whether they focus mainly on speaker values or audience values, and I think its important to take both into account.

Nigel: OK, well with speaker values the justification tends to be in terms of autonomy; but with audience values we start talking about the consequences for the audience. The classic case there is with John Stuart Mill talking about the limits of free speech being set at the point where you harm another individual.

Tim: Thats true although, in a way, autonomy based views on the whole tend to focus on audience values – because its the audience who wants to have access to information to make up their minds. In so far as autonomy refers to the interests we have in being able to form our own opinions about how to live, what to do, how to vote, an autonomy based view tends to focus on audience values. By and large we think of speakers as already knowing what they want and what they value, and wanting to express it. Thats a kind of freedom: but it may not be helpful to call it autonomy. In general, its a case of once burnt twice shy. That is, having originally in my first publication given a theory of free speech that focused on autonomy, Ive since come to think that its a word thats probably a good idea to avoid. Because it can mean so many different things. On the one hand it can mean freedom, that is the ability to do things, on the other hand it can be a particular value, or in Kants case a particular inner power. Its a misused word so I like to avoid it.

Nigel: Perhaps it would be easier to focus on a particular case to bring out the sort of considerations that are relevant here. If we take the case of people expressing contempt for a particular racial group – some people might argue that is a consequence of free speech that people should be allowed to say offensive things. How would you approach that case.

Tim: Well there seems to be a divide on this across different countries. That is, in the United States the law and much of academic opinion is much more in favour of the idea that free speech is incompatible with having laws that ban speech simply because theyre offensive – laws for incitement against racial hatred or expressing contempt for other groups are by and large held to be unconstitutional in the United States whereas in Britain, France, Canada, laws are quite different.

Now Im in this sense typical of my country. Im inclined to be rather suspicious of laws that restrict speech on the grounds that it gives offence to a particular group. Not that I favour speech that does that, I think its terrible; the question is whether you want to have a law that restricts it. And the natural question is why on earth shouldnt you? After all it does harm people. Immigrant groups, racial minorities, are in a vulnerable position vulnerable because they suffer from status harm. Widespread opinion that they are in some way inferior, ought not to be associated with, ineligible for various jobs, and so on.

So why shouldnt speech that supports and perpetuates those attitudes be restricted? The problem is that there are so many ways in which speech can be offensive to different people, that if we start allowing offence to be a ground for restriction its very easy to generalise it, and the restrictions on speech, particularly on political speech, become too tight in my opinion.

Now theres an empirical question here, and I think the jury is out. Canada has laws against speech that foments racial hatred, and Britain does, and so on. So against the free speech advocates of my sort you can say, well they have these laws, the sky hasnt fallen. Political speech continues. On the other hand race relations havent improved much either. So the jury is to some degree out. And with respect to the UK I think its fair to say that a somewhat greater tolerance for restrictions on expression hasnt served the political culture well. Theres also much more tolerance of restrictions on disclosures of official secrets and so on and I think these havent helped political discussion in the UK. So I think the US has benefited to some degree to what might seem to some people an overly rigorous protection of free speech.

Nigel: That strikes me as a slippery slope argument: the idea that you cant take one step down the slope without ending up at the bottom. So you cant take one step by restricting certain sorts of hateful speech because the consequence will be that all kinds of other sorts of speech will be restricted.

Tim: Well in the first instance its not a slippery slope argument. It is a question about what would be the effect of having that particular restriction. So I think the case turns on that. I then move to saying if you look more generally, the more permissive attitude towards restrictions on speech hasnt been a good thing. The view of free speech that Ive come to does give a heavy weight to calculations of that kind. The question is, is a particular regulatory power, the power to restrict speech on certain grounds, is that a power we can give to government without placing important speaker and audience interests unacceptably at risk? Thats the question. And the view that there is a right to speak in certain ways comes down to the claim that if the government were allowed to prevent speech of that kind that would be a dangerous power, that we shouldnt allow, because the values of being able to speak and the values of being able to have access wouldnt be adequately served; and thats an empirical question which powers are dangerous, but thats my view.

Nigel: And the danger that youre speaking of, is that the danger that effective government wont be possible because there wont be sufficient airing of different views?

Tim: Thats one value. That is preserving the kind of opportunity to speak and influence people, and the kind of opportunity on the part of voters to be informed that we need to have a functioning democracy. Thats certainly one value. But there are also more personal values. People have good reason outside of politics to want to be able to influence the development of their society culturally, to express their attitudes about sex about art about how to live. Audiences benefit from having access to these expressions. We want to hear a diversity of views.

On the other hand people want to protect what the dominant attitudes in society are. They dont want people to express permissive attitudes towards sex or attitudes about religion that they disagree with, because that may cause the culture to evolve in ways in which they would prefer it didnt evolve. We all have feelings of that kind; I dont think its just these awful intolerant people. I feel that my society places a greater emphasis on sex, sexual attractiveness and so on than would be desirable. I dont like living in a society thats saturated with these feelings; but thats the price of living in a free society.

I also think religion is growing in its influence and so the sense that one ought to be religious or pay deference to religion is growing in strength in the United States, from my point of view that doesnt make it a society more like the one I would like to live in. But thats the price of living in a free society. There are these ebbs and flows of cultural opinion and if you want to live on terms of freedom with other people you have to be willing to accept the society that results from everybody having access to a public space you just have to accept it.

Nigel: I can see how censoring somebodys political opinions might be dangerous to good government. But censoring somebodys freedom to print pornographic images for instance, how can that harm good government?

Tim: My point in my answer to your last question was that providing the conditions necessary for good government isnt the only thing thats at stake in free speech. People who have views about, say, particular sexual relations, want to be able to express this not only as a matter of self expression, but they want to be in contact with other people who have similar views. And when regulation of that kind of expression is allowed the first thing thats likely to happen is that the minority views of this are the most likely to get restricted, and I think thats a cost. I dont like living in a society where there’s lots of pornography and people very interested in that, but, youve got to live with it.

Nigel: Another area where its difficult to see where to draw the line is with factual information that could be used in terrorist activity. So for instance if somebody wants to publish the details of how to make a certain kind of bomb on the internet, is it appropriate to censor them?

Tim: I think it is. I dont think we dont have an interest in access to information about how to manufacture bombs which is parallel to our interest to wanting to have information about what the government is actually doing, or to be able to communicate with others about sexual, moral or religious matters. So I dont think theres a similar threat to our interests as potential speakers or to our interests as audiences who want to be able to form our opinion about things if technical information about armaments and explosives is restricted.

The main worry there seems to me to be at the margin; whether some kinds of information about technical questions about military armaments become important political things that we need to know about. Like we need to know whether a missile defence system would actually work! Now theres a fair amount of distance between having a recipe for making nerve gas at home and having some information about how well the governments attempt to build a missile defence system have actually worked. But in between, there might be a worry. But on the whole Im relatively comfortable with the idea that technical information about the production of armaments is something that its permissible to regulate.

Nigel: Weve talked quite a lot about the differences between the law in the States and the UK, Im intrigued to know whether you think that the kinds of principles that you come up with in your philosophy are universalizable across societies and countries, or whether they are restricted to the particular circumstances of particular countries at particular times?

Tim: On the whole I come down on the universal side. I once had an experience speaking to a seminar that involved people from 27 different countries, academics and non academics. And theyd asked for a presentation on free speech. So I said the question of free speech is the question of whether the power to regulate speech in a certain way is the power that its too dangerous for governments to have. And thats a question of whether, if they had that power, the interests of speakers or audiences would be unduly restricted. And those who believe in free speech also have to believe that we should forbid governments from having this power at acceptable cost. And in the discussion, people all objected; they said your discussion entirely focused on things in the United States. It maybe alright in the United States to prevent the government from restricting speech, but that wouldnt work in India, someone said. Because in India if you allowed people to say certain things, then some people would riot. And a Turkish man said, a man in our law school thinks that bourgeois rights are nonsense, and obviously he cant be allowed to say that kind of thing; but you dont have that problem in the United States. The effect of this discussion was to reinforce my universalist tendencies and to think that things arent that different all over. Because, of course, exactly those questions come up in almost any society.

Now of course societies vary; the risks may be greater in some societies than in others. But on the whole theres a lot of commonality there. As far as the question of riots is concerned, this is whats known in the United States legal arguments as the hecklers veto. If you allow the threat of a riot to be a reason to prevent somebody from speaking all a group has to do to stop somebody from speaking is to threaten to riot. So the first response of the State has to be to stop the riot or put the speech in a venue where it can be protected; those are things the state can do.

Places where people dont believe in free speech, I think they dont believe in free speech largely for the reasons Ive just mentioned, they may think, well in a stable society its ok, but for us the risks are too great. Its possible that sometimes theyre right about that, but on the whole I think its a matter of not having enough faith in your fellow citizens and being too worried about what the consequences will be. Of course its in the interests of governments to encourage these fears, because its in the interests of governments to be able to regulate speech. Not because theyre evil, but just because theyre people who have their objectives and they want to be able to pursue those objectives in what seems to be the most effective way. Governments everywhere have reason to want to restrict speech; so everywhere we need laws to prevent them from doing that.

Nigel: Free speech is one of those ideas that people are prepared to die for. How would you place free speech relative to other important rights or ideas that animate people in political situations?

Tim: Well free speech first has a particular instrumental value, because its very important as a way of preventing other kinds of rights violations. People can be imprisoned in secret and one of the best ways of trying to stop that kind of thing is to try to bring it into the public sphere where political opposition can be mobilised. So freedom of speech has an important instrumental role in protecting other rights. There are cases where freedom of speech can seem to conflict with other rights. For example the right to a fair trial. In order to have a fair trial we need to prevent people from being convicted in advance in the press, so the jury cant be convened that won’t already have made up its mind about guilt. That is a clash.

When there is a clash of values of that kind one has to try to work out a strategy to deal with it. I think on the whole, by sequestering juries, by allowing defence attorneys to examine juries in advance and to ask them about their prejudices, on the whole I think one can protect the right to a fair trial, without placing many restrictions on what can be said. I dont want to say there is never a conflict, there can be, but I think on the whole its possible to work them out.

Nigel: Tim Scanlon, thank you very much.

Tim: Thank you, its been a pleasure talking with you.

David: Ethics Bites was produced in association with The Open University. You can listen to more Ethics Bites on, where youll also find supporting material, or you can visit to hear more philosophy podcasts.

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Free speech – OpenLearn – Open University

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Online Debate: Human genetic engineering is a good thing …

 Human Genetic Engineering  Comments Off on Online Debate: Human genetic engineering is a good thing …
Oct 162015

My argument is that genetic engineering, and specifically human genetic engineering is a good thing.

I believe that human genetic engineering (HGE) can benefit human kind in an endless number of ways including but not limited to :

*Increased lifespan *Decreasing disease *Making humans happier *Making humans stronger *Making humans smarter *Making humans better looking (Yes, even this can be done and is good)

I will let my opponent make the first actual argument and I will then, after my opponent has made their argument, go into much further detail on my own argument as well as addressing theirs. So, I leave it to any challenger to argue against my initial statements and my general argument.

Con, I await your response. :)

Increased lifespan-If HGE did increase human lifespan why would us as a society want that? Thousands of people are brain dead and have you ever heard of this?…

Making humans happier-I know many kids who are made fun of for being gay,black, Mormon etc.So if I was a clone (or altered) I am certain I would be made fun of way more than anyone else.Also kids have trouble when they are adopted, and can not find their family.If I was a clone, and I didn’t even have a family?I would have no real family and thus no reason to be happy.

Better looking- h…… One is real……

At first, since as everything is economic, the rich people would be the first to try and use HGH (as they use HRT today more commonly). How would we know it works? We would know that it would work through scientific testing, lab testing, finally human testing. Etc. It would be a long process. Eventually everyone would be able to afford it as technology improves.

The upper class having exclusive rights to these technologies would last a few decades at most. Perhaps less.

I do not support cruelty to animals, but animal testing happens and it can prove very beneficial to humanity. Would I sacrifice some animals for humanity getting smarter and better off in the long run? Sure. Why? Because, the smarter we get the more we will understand animals and, in the long run, treat them better…

Overpopulation is a problem today purely because we, as humans, aren’t smart enough to control ourselves and our reproductive abilities. We can’t manage ourselves. With increased intelligence, this would no longer be a problem. Science has proven that higher I.Q. and education leads to less children, and having children later.

Would a child be picked on for being altered? I can’t imagine how they would, since no one would even have to know. Moreover, in time, nearly everyone will have genetic alterations so it won’t matter. I, for one, do not believe that we should refrain from using genetic therapy to cure depression, make people happy, make them live longer, healthier, etc. all because there is some chance some one might be made fun of somewhere. It seems nonsensical to me.

I don’t know why you are bringing cloning into the issue. I never mentioned cloning.

So from what you said I really can not see how you do not support animal cruelty? Its better off in the “long run” for animals? Do you Eccedustin not understand an animal?That they are an organism just like US.Non human animals experience sensations just like we do. They too are strong,intelligent, and evolutionary. They to are capable of adaptation, and can not adapt in a cage just so they can be experimented on because we are to ignorant to solve our problems that WE created. Not them. How will pain and suffering benefit animals? The more HGE develops the more tests need to be done. Proving that more animals will be needed thus proving that “in the long run” is not true and you support animal cruelty. It seems you are a typical speciest willing to hurt anything just so you can “look better” I will be waiting for your stuck up response

Any technology that comes up will come up through the basic process of capitalism. If you look at technologies in the past, all of them were exclusively for the rich. This, however, does not last long. Cars, Computers, Refrigerators, etc. We’ve all got them now, even the lower class for the most part. The same would be true of Genetic engineering. The technology would, over time, become available to EVERYONE. So I do not believe that the argument is relevant or valid.

I understand and agree with you that animals, beside us humans, have feelings and emotions. That is not the issue here. The issue is that most animal cruelty is not the result of experiments from scientists but rather from ignorant people who abuse animals because they are to stupid to know any better. With increased intelligence, people will know about animals more and be empathetic towards them more. So, in the long run, it would greatly benefit animal kind.

If you look at it another way, Humans could easily become vegetarians with genetic engineering. Removing any possible side effects from purely Vegetarian diets (if there are any) would result in even less animal cruelty.

The thing about cars, computers, refrigerators, you can mass produce them. Can you train as many HGE surgeons as X-ray technicians in the next fifty years when we barely understand it right now? Logically lower class, non high school graduates can make cars, but not perform gene transplants. Which means that a whole new branch of schooling is going to be created just to support that. Chemo therapy can cost up to 30,000 dollars for just one session? Not many even lower upper class can afford that. Insurance wouldn’t even cover it like it does for most things.

Those ignorant people are the scientists. Please watch that video.

Do you want that happening just so you can look better? Just so that we can solve the problems WE created? I really have no idea what you are talking about when you say “increased intelligence about animals.” Native Americans or the first hieroglyphics were of animals. In ancient Mesopotamia they treated animals way better than we do now? Or the Native Americans doing ceremony’s for all the animals they killed? Did they not understand animals? Have we just become more ignorant? In your last statement you said “that animals, beside us humans, have feelings and emotions.” So that means animals are almost like us? Really I see no logic in “increasing our intelligence” will help us treat animals better. We will want more,build more, need more, kill more because we want to know how to make money!

Vegetarians live approximately seven years longer than people on a vegetarian diet. So no we would find ways to make meat better for us and thus eat more animals.

I think that HGH won’t require surgeons as much as a single injection in the future. We would be able to mass produce that as well, or better, as we can mass produce anti viruses, etc.

Historically ALL technology has become more available and cheaper as time goes by. Chemo therapy will beocme cheaper and more available in the future as well.

Your arguments are nonsensical. You say that because Genetic engineering might be excluded from the lower classes at first, it is a bad idea to produce it? That is equal to saying that because Cancer therapy will be excluded from the lower classes at first, we shouldn’t pursue it. It is a bad argument pure and simple.

Most of the genetic problems that exist today are not problems that “we created”. Aging, disease, death, all have always existed. Moreover, even if “we” are the problem then genetic engineering could be the solution to that as well since it could change who “we” are inherently.

Did the native Americans or Mesopotamians treat animals better than we do today? Of course not. Native Americans ate Dogs, horses, etc. commonly. And in no culture in the past did they ever have all of the laws protecting animals that we have today. How many animal rights laws did Mesopotamians have?

I argue that higher intelligence would equal better treatment of animals. I argue this because most of the animal abuse that we see today is done by uneducated ignorant people.

Certainly, there are examples of scientists mistreating animals. However, on average, Scientists are very careful to reduce suffering when they do experiments on animals.

I personally do not believe that animal testing should be done unless totally necessary.

Also, with a higher I.Q. we could easily find ways to “produce” meat without even killing animals. It is all possible, we just can’t do it yet.

I have searched the whole HGE databases and none of these places say that HGE would be single injection? Does altering your genotype into a new phenotype sound like an easy thing? That you could get at your local Walgreen’s, and walk out with a batman sticker?

No I think that things always start in the upper class, and work there way down like you have said numerous times. But, with HGE like I said it would create a bigger poverty gap. You said it would take a few decades to get to the middle class, well a generation is twenty five years. So three generations could pass before they had access to it while there richer peers look socially better, were smarter, so they could have a huggeeee advantage over the other classes. The rich would create bigger Corporatocracy’s thus creating more $20 an hour jobs for all the non-hge now grown up humans to have.

Do you think HGE would stop wars? Do you think that changing my phenotype will stop me and everyone from being greedy? Are you serious? That if some fat guy gets a new phenotype he will say “screw McDonalds, lets eat SALAD!”

I have taken an Native American culture class in college and we spent four weeks, yes… Four weeks talking about animals and spiritual dances, ceremony’s the would do for ONE bison? When was the last time you danced around and blessed, and ate every single piece of a whole animal? Nothing was wasting with them. Saying native Americans didn’t treat animals well? They treated them better because they cherished, and loved them like brothers.

1. My opponent continues to attack me, claiming I am an “elitist” and that I support cruelty to animals. Neither are true. I am not an elitist because I do not support elitism. Rather, it is true elitists will benefit short term from (ALL) technological advances, this is no argument against them. In the long term they will be available to us all. Also, animal experiments go on and will go on regardless. Should people supporting drug research be labeled as supporting animal cruelty?


2. I do not know how or when or in what form HGE will take. I am not a futurist. All I am arguing is that it will invariably be a good thing, in the long run.

3. It is absurd to claim that only rich people will receive genetic therapy. There will no doubt be funds for people with diseases to get it, etc. Also, I’m sure people would be more than willing to improve their entire genome if it involves taking out a loan or something. It would be an investment.

4. Yes, Our genes determine so many things including how we interact with other people. Aggression, intelligence, empathy, rational thinking, etc. Even non genetic factors would quickly be changed once genes are altered.

5. So the Native Americans danced around and worshiped the Bison. This doesn’t mean they didn’t kill it. And the Bison holds a special distinction in Native American culture, especially certain areas. They didn’t treat all animals like that either.

In summary, Genetic therapy would be a great thing for human kind. All of the bad things we humans have in us, aggression, stupidity, disease, illness, lack of empathy, etc. all have strong genetic components. Sure, Nurture has a lot to do with it but if we take care of the nature part then we are half way there. Moreover, If you closely examine them, all of Con’s arguments fall apart. Con is arguing AGAINST scientific progress for empty and pointless reasons.

2. Then how can you even debate on this topic or make a reference to that in a debate. You are just bull shitting apparently.

3. Yes like all those funds that help all the people with cancer. If those “funds” were exist there wouldn’t be people at home with stage four cancer when they could at least receive treatment.

4. So you are willing to go against nature (or god if you believe in a higher power) to be able to become more empathetic? Is that hard to love? Are you that big of a savage that you can’t control yourself or can’t learn things for yourself?

5. Yes, all animals that were killed were used fully. Of course if they killed a rat they didn’t dance around it but, they would use it all.

In summary pro has the more civil debate here. I understand that we all want to be perfect, but why not take the cards we were dealt, and succeed. Cheaters never prosper.

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Online Debate: Human genetic engineering is a good thing …

Illuminati News: Secret Societies

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Illuminati News: Secret Societies
Oct 062015

Find on this web site.

Donations [Make a donation and collect the BONUSES!] – I have noticed that I have had to neglect some things in life that are very important to me and others, while working hour after hour on my website. Therefore I ask you, kind visitor, for a donation, so I can spend the same amount of time, and more, on research, and less time trying to manage my finances. – – by Wes Penre, Jan 01, 2006 –

“All secret, oath bound, political parties are dangerous to any nation.” President Ulysses S. Grant

An Overall Briefing

Secret Societies And the New World Order – by William Cooper –

Overview of Secret Societies – Beneath the broad tides of human history there flow the stealthy undercurrents of the secret societies, which frequently determine in the depth the changes that take place upon the surface. — Author Arthur Edward Waite The Real History of the Rosicrucian Steiner Books, 1977[1] – – by Gianna DeVincent Hayes, Ph.D (Keeping America Free), Dec 28, 2005 – (Posted here: Dec 29, 2005)

Signs of a Secret Society – by Jon Rappoport, April 14, 2004 -When I wrote THE SECRET BEHIND SECRET SOCIETIES, I kept a list of some of the characteristics of any secret society, to use as a guideline … (Posted here: April 16, 2004)

Secret Societies – The pulsing, squeezing beat of the living organism called the Elitethose in influential positions who are making unwanted decisions for ushave succeeded in bringing forth a global government or New World Order (NWO). They pulled out their entire armory, and over dozens of years, generations of generations, they have pushed the NWO agenda down our throats, and weve meekly accepted it. – – American Chronicle, Feb 27, 2006 – (Posted here: March 01, 2006)

Brotherhoods [EXCELLENT] – Secret Societies and their rituals revealed! – – Brotherhoods and Secret Societies Website – (Posted here: August 22, 2006)

John F. Kennedy’s Warning About Secret Societies Taking Over the World [Audio] – Listen to this incredible audio recording of a speech made by JFK before the American Newspaper Publishers Association where he warns the press about the secret societies that are the real power in global affairs. – – – (Posted here: Thursday, July 06, 2006)

Secret Societies and Subversive Movements – “There is in Italy a power which we seldom mention in this House . . . I mean the secret societies. . . .” – – by Nesta Webster – (Posted here: June 8, 2004)

Blue Blood – New Great Website on the Elite and Their Genealogy! – – – (Posted here: July 23, 2004)

Freemasonry, P2, Nazi Occult, Gladio, Thule, Fascism, CIA, Luciferianism, and Far Right Reactionary Politics – One of the more twisted myths being propagated by ‘Regular’ Anglo-American Freemasonry of late is that the Nazi’s persecuted ‘regular’ Freemasonry in Germany during it’s reign – – Freemasonry Watch – (Posted here: November 1, 2004)

Project for Exposure of Hidden Institutions – The purpose of the Project for the Exposure of Hidden Institutions (PEHI) is to put together the entire spectrum of hidden organizations and secret societies. Most of you who visit this site have probably heard of the more well-known ‘secret societies’ like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bohemian Grove, and the Skull & Bones student society. – – Project for the Exposure of Hidden Institutions – (Posted here: Aug 8, 2005)

Your Eyes Wide Shut – Graphic Website on Freemasonry and the Illuminati, inspired by the movie “Eyes Wide Shut” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman – – – (Posted here: Nov 05, 2005)

Secret Societies: They Are Not Just at Yale – They Are Running a University Near You – The world over has heard of Skull and Bones of Yale University. This elite secret society holds within its membership at least four U.S. Presidents. George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry are both members of Skull and Bones. This made the 2004 presidential election the first known election where two secret society members ran against each other. However, names like the Order of the Bull’s Blood, Mystical Seven Society, The Order of Gimghoul , Burning Spear, and Machine are less familiar. Make no mistake these too are powerful societies. – – by Altevia Wilborn – (Posted here: Friday, December 22, 2006)

Freemasonry: Free-Masons Create Un-Free People

“You must conceal all the crimes of your brother Masons… and should you be summoned as a witness against a brother Mason be always sure to shield him.. It may be perjury to do this, it is true, but your keeping your obligations.” [ Ronayne, “Handbook of Masonry” p. 183 ]

This means, for example, that if a criminal, who happens to be a Freemason, goes to court, and the judge is a Freemason as well, the judge’s duty is to protect the criminal instead of obeying the law. Now, expand on this even further and you will draw a pretty horrifying picture. Wes Penre

* * *

An Overview of the Ancient Egyptian Cult – In order to conduct the cult of the gods, the Egyptians constructed religious facilities that remain some of the most elaborate structures ever built. These temples were called by the ancient Egyptians, hwt-ntr, meaning “the house of the god”. These temples actually usually served several gods, and in order to sustain these cult activities, considerable resources, such as extensive networks of land, livestock and personnel were required. These necessary resources that were required to support the activities of a temple were referred to as r-pr, meaning “temple estate”. – – by Jefferson Monet – (Posted here: Saturday, Jan 19, 2008)

Lucifer – Albert Pike – Eliphas Levi and the Masonic Lodge – This study begins with a bold statement: The God of the Masonic Lodge is Lucifer! This is not a conclusion reached overnight, but one which was drawn from many hours of long study and a thorough examination of the facts. This statement has been made with no qualms or hesitation because the facts will convince one to make such a statement. There have been others that have made this declaration. – – (Posted here: Tuesday, May 13, 2008)

Albert Pike on Masonry: The True Nature of the Society – Many masonic apologists at various websites have offered “defenses” in response to anti-masons, attempting to dismiss the popular quotations drawn from Masonic master-philosopher Albert Pike, which show freemasonry to be syncretistic and anti-Christian. So here are the actual quotes from Pike’s “Morals and Dogma.”- – NICENE TRUTH – (Posted here: Thursday, October 09, 2008)

SECOND FAMILY UK – Survivors of Freemasonry Speak Out! – “We are all victims of Freemasonry” SF (UK) are a not just a support group for victims of the criminal organization that calls itself “Freemasonry”, we also campaign for fairer and democratic society. SF are not a hate or revenge group, just to peacefully campaign for change and make the world a better place. We have contacted UGLE (United Grand Lodge of England), GLOS (Grand Lodge of Scotland), the top Masons at Rosslyn Chapel and their other spokesman? at the Masonicinfo (Masonic-misinformation) website. – – – (Posted here: Saturday, Jan 19, 2008) The Origin of Freemasonry: The Crusaders & Templars – The common perception of the majority of historians of Freemasonry is that the origin of the organization goes back to the Crusades. In fact, though Masonry was only officially established and recognized in England in the early eighteenth century, the roots of the organization do reach back to the Crusades in the twelfth century. At the center of this familiar tale is an order of crusaders called the Knights Templar or the Templars. – – by Harun Yahya – (Posted here: April 20, 2005)

Tom Paine on Freemasonry [Part I | Part II ] – The Entered Apprentice knows but little more of Masonry than the use of signs and tokens, and certain steps and words by which Masons can recognize each other without being discovered by a person who is not a Mason. The Fellow Craft is not much better instructed in Masonry, than the Entered Apprentice. It is only in the Master Mason’s Lodge, that whatever knowledge remains of the origin of Masonry is preserved and concealed. – – by Thomas Paine – (Posted here: Sunday, Sep 03, 2006)

Masons and Mystery at the 33rd Parallel – American Freemasonry and related power elites are responsible for a number of murders and provocations to war which happened along or close to the northern 33rd degree of latitude, also known as the33rd Parallel. Most of the world’s wealth is stored north of the north 33rd Parallel. Major financial centers north of the 33rd Parallel include London, New York, Chicago, and Switzerland. Most of this planet’s six billion people live south of the 33rd Parallel.- – by Day Williams – (Posted here: Monday, October 08, 2007)

Freemasonry – by Terry Melanson –

Albert Pike and Three World Wars – Very few outsiders know about the intimate plans of Albert Pike and the architects of the New World Order. In the 19th Century Albert Pike established a framework for bringing about the One World Order. Based on a vision revealed to him, Albert Pike wrote a blueprint of events that would play themselves out in the 20th century, with even more of these events yet to come. It is this blueprint which we believe unseen leaders are following today, knowingly or not, to engineer the planned Third and Final World War. – – – (Posted here: Saturday, Jan 19, 2008)

The Jesuit, Illuminati, Knights of Columbus and Masonic Oaths -hen a Jesuit of the minor rank is to be elevated to command, he is conducted into the Chapel of the Convent of the Order, where there are only three others present, the principal or Superior standing in front of the altar. On either side stands a monk, one of whom holds a banner of yellow and white, which are the Papal colors, and the other a black banner with a dagger and red cross above a skull and crossbones, with the word INRI, and below them the words IUSTUM, NECAR, REGES, IMPIOUS… – – – (Posted here: Saturday, August 18, 2007)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 1) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 2) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 3) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 4) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 5) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 6) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

Files About Freemasonry – The Structure of Freemasonry – American Freemasonry remembles two sets of stairs that begin and end together, as this chart of Masonic structure shows. A Mason’s first step is to become an Entered Apprentice. He climbs to the third step where most Masons stay. – – – (Posted here: December 12, 2004)

Ritual for the 32 of Freemasonry, Scottish Rite – Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret – Commander-in-Chief, knocks once: If there be any present, with the exception of candidates, who are not Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret, let them depart in peace, that our Consistory may be secure. – – presented by Leo Zagami, Jan 20, 2007 – (Posted here: Saturday, January 20, 2007)

Ritual for the 33 of Freemasonry, Scottish Rite – Sovereign Grand Inspector General – The lodge is hung with purple curtains, on which are painted skeletons, death heads, cross, bones etc. There are nine officers in this degree. The Master of the lodge is called the “Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander.” – – presented by Leo Zagami, Jan 20, 2007 – (Posted here: Saturday, January 20, 2007)

Freemasonry, Jesus, and Constantine the Pagan Worshipper – Many of the Christian preachers and leaders of today have been initiated into the so called secrets of Freemasonry. And they know that the story of Jesus Christ, as it is understood by the masses of the people, has it’s origin in mythology and paganism; yet they will not educate their following to this truth. – -by Leo Zagami, Jan 10, 2007 – (Posted here: Thursday, January 11, 2007)

The First Degree of Freemasonry – Only 5% of 32nd and higher degree freemasons are invited into the Illuminati. Many “Christians freemasons” would contend that freemasonry is not a religion. The plan of freemasonry is that the majority of freemasons do not even know it is a religion. The plan of freemasonry is to deceive the majority of freemasons from the truth that Lucifer, or Satan, is the god of freemasonry. – – The Federal Observer – (Posted here: Sep 12, 2005)

The Freemason’s 33 Initiation – Easter was approaching and one quiet morning I was at home recuperating from the second operation when the doorbell rang. It was a special delivery letter from the Supreme Council in Washington, notifying me that I had been selected for the 33rd Degree. I could hardly believe it was true! – – by Jim Shaw – (Posted here: Saturday, May 13, 2006)

The Masonic Seal of America – This is the Great Seal of the United States of America. It was designed by the Freemasons and contains a mass of symbolism that the profane (non masons) are not to understand. This article will once and for all prove that the Seal is a Masonic design. Have you ever asked the question ‘Why is there a Pyramid on our $1 note”? The religion of Freemasonry and some of it’s mysteries have descended from ancient Egypt whose mysteries descended from ancient Babylon. The Pyramid has of old been a fascination of Freemasons. It is a pagan temple of Satan worship. – – Endtimedeception – (Posted here: July 17, 2005)

Freemasons – Its Roots & Links to the Occult – The Royal Arch Degree shows that Masons are really Baal worshipers. Most Masons do it without realizing it by participating in rituals that they really don’t understand. However, a few top-level Masons (those in highest authority) know exactly what they are doing. – – – (Posted here: March 28, 2006)

P2 – Formed in the 19th century by the Grande Orient of Italy for the elites, the organization evolved out of the violent organization known as the Carbonari. Pagan elements suffused the rituals of the organization to which all Grand Masters of Regular Italian Freemasonry belonged. The head was known as Naj Hannah (King Cobra). – – by Leo Zagami, June 27 2007 – (Posted here: Sunday, July 01, 2007)

The Real Secret Word of the Freemasons – The Freemasons have often been called satanic, which is something that they are very capable of fending off. While its rank and file members are ignorant of the purpose of the organization, some know. Freemasons deflect accusations of being a satanic society largely by employing the cover of being a philanthropic organization. But what is at the core of the Freemasons beliefs? – – by D.M., May 1, 2004 – (Posted here: January 6, 2005)

33 Degrees – Number of the Master – Why is 33 degrees associated with Mastery? This was the question I asked myself when I delved into Masonic symbolism while researching my novel Eclipse of the Soul. Being an astrologer, I was convinced it was a celestial reference, for we measure positions of the planets and stars in degrees, minutes and seconds. – – by Olga Morales (Astrologer) – (Posted here: January 10, 2005)

33rd Parallel Masonic Line of Death Row Human Sacrifice Ritual – THE 33RD PARALLEL: MASONIC LINE OF DEATH FOR PSYCHIC ENERGY – GEO-SPATIAL ALIGNMENT OF SOUTHERN DEATH ROWS & ABU GHRAIB AS EVIDENCE OF HUMAN SACRIFICE. RITUAL TO SUPERHUMAN ENTITIES FOR TEMPORAL POWER. The 33rd degree has long been associated with Freemasonry. – –, Dec 28, 2005 – (Posted here: Jan 01, 2006)

Freemasons: The Silent Destroyers? – from (December 23, 2003)

Lucifer/Satan is the God of Freemasonry – from Freemasonic Teachings (December 23, 2003)

Click on Baphomet for enlargement and further explanation

The Bavarian Illuminati Today (Their Own Website) [Still alive and well. From Their Website (Liber Zion, Third Part): “22. Forever, I, Baphomet, will be your unique God, the only and legitimate God”. Wes Penre] – Gabriel Lpez de Rojas was born in Barcelona (Spain), in 1966, June 10th . When he was young, he stood out as an athlete and musician. In 1992, he was initiated in Freemasonry. And, in 1995, he founded Illuminati Order in Barcelona (Spain). [So Freemasonry is a Christian Religion, right??? Wes Penre] – The Illuminati Order – (August 8, 2004)

[And here is the obvious lie coming from the Freemasons themselves] The Infamous Baphomet – But how would such a respected religious order come to worship a head idol or engage in such evil? Likely, they didn’t! – – (Posted here: Oct 4, 2005)

Baphomet – Baphomet and the Worship of him in a Masonic Temple during the George Washington Era (Washington was himself a Freemason). Note the Knights Templar cross on the robes and what appears to be the Rosicrucian cross on Baphomet himself. And on their own website, in an attempt to defend themselves, the Freemasons bluntly lie and claim the Templars never worshipped Baphomet. As a fact, Freemasonry still does and so does the Illuminati. – – by Wes Penre, Illuminati News, Oct 4, 2005 – (Posted here: Oct 4, 2005)

Treasonous Masonic Corruption & Constitutional Resistance – La Cosa Nostra mafia was founded by freemason Mazzini, & IS masonic. Freemasons vow to protect each other. NSA coverups via unelected PD chiefs supplied by NSA list is how it works, (& special agents). – – by James Diebeck – (Posted here: Saturday, July 01, 2006)

The Billy Graham Deception – B’nai B’rith is an anti-christian jewish masonic lodge. They have a high rank in the Illuminati structure and they operate under several fronts. Not all the work they do is bad. They hunt nazis and usually fight again racism but being a form of Freemasonry, it operates as a secret society within a secret society, a circle within a circle etc, so that only the elite of this organization knows the real agenda and the normal jewish person working for them is doing the best they can. I will present as much documentation later on in this article to show the Masonic structure within this group, but first I will mention their link to Billy Graham. – – – (Posted here: Tuesday, June 26, 2007)

Freemasonry Watch

Grand Lodge Seals – The Freemasonic flags & Seals of each State in America – – – (Posted here: Nov 12, 2005)

The Story of Hiram Abiff – THE outstanding figure in modern Freemasonry is undoubtedly the widow’s son who is known to members of the Fraternity under the somewhat obscure name of Hiram Abiff. He dominates Craft Masonry… – – – (Posted here: June 28, 2004)

Who Was Albert Pike? – Very few outsiders know about the intimate plans of Albert Pike and the architects of the New World Order. In the 19th Century Albert Pike established a framework for bringing about the One World Order. Based on a vision revealed to him, Albert Pike wrote a blueprint of events that would play themselves out in the 20th century, with even more of these events yet to come. – – – (Posted here: Aug 30, 2005)

Albert Pike and Three World Wars – Albert Pike received a vision, which he described in a letter that he wrote to Mazzini, dated August 15, 1871. This letter graphically outlined plans for three world wars that were seen as necessary to bring about the One World Order, and we can marvel at how accurately it has predicted events that have already taken place. – – – (Posted here: Aug 30, 2005)

Freemasonry, Albert Pike, and the Ku Klux Klan – from (January 23, 2004)

Jim Shaw – 33 Freemason – Speaks Out About the Deception of Freemasonry In His Book: “The Deadly Deception” – from Illuminati Conspiracy Website – (February 21, 2004)

List of Famous Freemasons – by Wes Penre – (January 3, 2004)

Famous Masons – Long list of famous Freemasons – – – (Posted here: July 11, 2004)

Famous Masons Around the World – Space History that few people know: Buzz Aldrin unofficially established the Masonic Tranquility Lodge on the Moon. Aldrin is one of the few to attain the level of a 33rd Degree Mason. He shares this honor with President George Washington and many other U.S. Presidents (see list at bottom of page) and other famous Masons listed on this page. – – Masons in Space – (Posted here: May 6, 2005)

Famous and Infamous Demolays [Freemasons] – You will now see the power Freemasonry holds over much of America. Do not think that these men are not committed to Freemasonry because they were Demolays. Indeed, they are 100% committed to the phallic cult of the Lodge. – – – (Posted here: August 25, 2004)

Founding Father’s Footsteps Followed – The exhibit explores Washington’s involvement in Freemasonry. It includes artifacts and documents that reveal Washington’s commitment to the fraternity and its principles and values [my emphasis]. Held by Masonic Lodges and Grand Lodges around the country, many of the objects, letters and minute books have rarely been available for public showing. – – MetroWest Daily News, March 20, 2005 – (Posted here: March 21, 2005)

Masonic Symbolism – Masonry is, according to its own philosophers, a system of pure religion expressed in symbols, one which cannot be understood without a knowledge of the true meaning of them. – – – (Posted here: July 11, 2004)

Secret Masonic Handshakes, Passwords,Grips And Signs Of Blue Lodge Masonry – from Ephesians 5:11 Website – (Posted here: March 17, 2004)

An Example of How The Freemasons Control the Court (And Thus the Legal System) – by Wes Penre for Illuminati News, March 30, 2004 – (Posted here: March 30, 2004)

Psychopaths, Secret Societies And the New World Order – by Jerry Russell and Richard Stanley – (Posted here: April 19, 2004)

US Presidents and Freemasonry – …the Illuminati would gradually position members into key power positions over time and ultimately attempt to dominate every industry including the banking industry and finally the world. To set the record straight, here are some very important facts which need to be known: – – David Icke’s “Research Material” – (Posted here: October 9, 2004)

United States Presidents and The Masonic Power Structure – This article is not intended to defame this country’s forefathers. See Secret Societies All I am doing here is listing the facts. I will list other authors articles for you to refer to as corroboration. These names were compiled from the Masons own list of famous names posted on there websites. (See Links Below) The names used in this document have been used from that list along with a brief summary of who they were,(*Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition.) and the role they played in our history. Keep in mind, you can not be a Christian and a practicing Mason, its an oxymoron. – – by Robert Howard – (Posted here: December 10, 2004)

Movie Puts Spotlight on Freemasons [How Hollywood, in “National Treasure”, promotes Freemasonry and makes people interested in joining. The Masons are currently running a campaign to recruit new members, Wes Penre] – “There’s just tremendous symbolism in that movie,” said Roush, Marion, who has been a Freemason for almost 40 years. I know a lot of it is legend, but it’s just fascinating.” – – – (Posted here: December 13, 2004)

The Turkish Experiment with Westernization – “What is more troubling with modern Turkey (since 1909) is that its secularist fundamentalist leadership has had been directly linked with Freemasonry. The leaders of the Turkish Masonic lodges are subordinate to those of Tel Aviv and France and Italy, taking directive from them. There lies the explanation for Turkeys roles vis–vis the Palestine-Israel conflict and the Arab/Muslim world.” – – Media Monitors Network – (Posted here: January 8, 2005)

Benjamin Franklin, the Occult and The Elite – In 1998, workmen restoring Franklin’s London home dug up the remains of six children and four adults hidden below the home. The London Times reported on February 11, 1998: – – – (Posted here: January 12, 2005)

Mankind’s Death Wish – Architects of Deception, a 600-page history of Freemasonry by Estonian writer Juri Lina offers profound insight into the true character of modern history. – – by Henry Makow, Ph.D., Jan 15, 2005 – (Posted here: January 15, 2005)

‘Are You Masons?’ Challenge to Judges – Three judges yesterday refused to reveal whether they were Freemasons after being challenged by a veteran human rights campaigner. – – News.Telegraph, Febr 19, 2003 – (Posted here: February 2, 2005)

Lifting Lid on Judges’ Secret Society – An unprecedented legal hearing into a secret society which boasts some of Scotland’s top judges among its members opened in Edinburgh yesterday amid claims the judges’ membership breaches human rights law. – Guardian Limited, Feb 19, 2003 – (Posted here: February 2, 2005)

Exhibit Reveals Masons’ Influence – WASHINGTON — Some of the most famous buildings in Washington, including the White House, are deeply marked by Freemasonry, the brotherhood that goes back to the cathedral builders of the Middle Ages, says a new exhibit. The show is called “The Initiated Eye: Secrets, Symbols, Freemasonry and the Architecture of Washington, D.C.” It opened to the public Wednesday. – – Associated Press, May 22, 2005 – (Posted here: May 26, 2005)

Henry Kissinger

Excerpt from:
Illuminati News: Secret Societies

36,000 troops, 200 aircraft & 60 vessels: NATO launches …

 NATO  Comments Off on 36,000 troops, 200 aircraft & 60 vessels: NATO launches …
Oct 042015

NATO has started its biggest exercise since 2002 with 36,000 international troops from 30 states, including non-NATO nations, participating in the drills which are taking place at sea, in the air and across the territory of three European states.

The alliance has kicked off its massive Trident Juncture 2015 exercises which will last until November 16. Along with the NATO member states, seven more partner nations are participating in the drills: Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, the Republic of Macedonia, Sweden and Ukraine.

Some 36,000 troops as well as more than 60 warships and about 200 aircraft will participate in the drills which makes it the biggest since 2002 when about 40,000 troops took part in NATOs Strong Resolve military exercise.

The purpose of the exercise is to train and test the NATO Response Force, a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Forces components, said General Hans Lothar Domrose, the Commander of Joint Force Command Brunssum.

Enhancing our response forces is a key part of NATOs overall effort to adapt to emerging security challenges. TRJE15 [Trident Juncture 2015] has been designed to ensure that our concepts and procedures will work in the event of a real crisis because our job is to always be prepared to defend the people, territory, and values of this Alliance, he added.

The drills will consist of two parts: the Command Post Exercise (CPX) for Strategic and Operational level staff, and the Live Exercise (LIVEX) for tactical level troop engagements.

The CPX, which will last until October 16, will include training, evaluation and certification activities of the command structure of the NATO Response Force. The European Union and the African Union are also going to participate in the CPX.

LIVEX will be held in Italy, Portugal and Spain between October 21 and November 6. NATO air forces, land forces as well as maritime forces will conduct a number of exercises for example, responding to a simultaneous, wide-scale attack of a group of 20 enemy ships, numerous aircraft and four submarines.

In late August-September NATO conducted the greatest airborne drills in Europe since the end of the Cold War. About 5,000 soldiers from 11 NATO member states participated in the simultaneous multinational airborne operations.

NATO has significantly stepped up its military presence and activity along the Russian border, including in the Baltic states and eastern Europe, since Russias reunification with Crimea and the outbreak of conflict in eastern Ukraine, which the alliance blames on Moscow.

READ MORE: Moscow will respond to NATO approaching Russian borders accordingly Putin

Russia views NATOs ongoing expansion and constant military activity as hostile and destabilizing, repeatedly warning that Moscow will respond to NATO approaching Russian borders accordingly.

The rest is here:
36,000 troops, 200 aircraft & 60 vessels: NATO launches …

 Posted by at 9:46 pm  Tagged with:

Repeal the Second Amendment – Baltimore Sun

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Repeal the Second Amendment – Baltimore Sun
Oct 042015

In 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States decided in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects a civilian’s right to keep a gun in his home. In 2010, the court decided in McDonald v. Chicago that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limits the power of state and local governments to outlaw the possession of handguns by private citizens. The vote in each case was five-to-four not exactly a ringing endorsement of the court’s reasoning in either case. But for now, the law of the land with regard to easy access to guns is settled.

The Second Amendment is enthroned mistakenly, but as a matter of law as a fundamental dimension of individual freedom. The practical result is that we must live with carnage by firearms as a daily fact of American life.

Surely, the timid voices of reason and humanity whisper, there is some limit to the atrocities that Americans will tolerate. When Adam Lanza, with no prior criminal history nor treatment for mental illness, killed 26 people including 20 first-grade students at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on December 14, 2012, the nation was riveted and horrified. Something this unspeakable, this ghastly, this straight-out-of-hell, changed exactly nothing in federal law.

Then, in June of this year, a gunman killed nine churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. Two months later, a Virginia TV news crew was slaughtered on air, and the deed posted almost immediately to social media by the killer. And Thursday, a gunman killed at least 9 people and wounded others on the campus of Oregon’s Umpqua Community College.

What will it take to shock us out of our torpor? Another dead president? Not likely half the country will applaud it. How about a dozen people inspired by ISIS slipping simultaneously into the Mall of America and unveiling the assault weapons they have obtained in perfectly legal ways? I cannot imagine what level of gun violence will serve more to horrify than to entertain.

It is certainly a respectable idea to accept the Second Amendment and treat death by firearms as a public health issue. It is doomed to fail, however, because it isn’t the criminal or the psychotic who produces the murder, it’s the easy means to act out one’s fantasies that produces the criminal and the psychotic. Millions of guns, thousands of gun deaths.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, the leading dissenter in Heller and McDonald, has published a wise little book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.” He suggests five words be added to the Second Amendment so that it reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

I say, let’s get rid of the Second Amendment altogether. Let the states and Congress regulate firearms as they see fit. Some states, most of them without big-city violence, will retain laws that allow citizens to carry concealed firearms. Gang-ridden Chicago will try again to crack down on guns. Congress will reconsider universal background checks and the prohibition of assault weapons.

As Justice Stevens informs us in his book, “legislatures are in a far better position than judges to assess the wisdom of such rules and to evaluate the costs and benefits that rule changes can be expected to produce. It is those legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used. Constitutional provisions that curtail the legislative power to govern in this area unquestionably do more harm than good.”

And we’ve all already seen enough harm.

Hal Riedl retired from the Maryland Division of Correction in 2010, and from the office of the state’s attorney for Baltimore City in December 2014. His email is

Continued here:
Repeal the Second Amendment – Baltimore Sun

 Posted by at 9:44 pm  Tagged with:

Cosmic Heaven Awaiting Sunshine 043 (28-09-2015) mp3 …

 Cosmic  Comments Off on Cosmic Heaven Awaiting Sunshine 043 (28-09-2015) mp3 …
Oct 042015

Download Cosmic Heaven Awaiting Sunshine 043 (28-09-2015) from zippyshare immediately!

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Lets begin with saying that zippyshare, as the project, as the free music company, if we can say it in this way, has been popular since they started their activity and, as we can see, for a reason. What we are willing to say is that people have always been looking for greatest opportunity to get anything, especially not realistic material, for free, thus such possibilities to download the desired tracks just in few moments, naturally, got loved.

Actually, zippyshare might be found easily, as we have mentioned before. Saying in few words, all you have to do is to type your desired track and write the zippyshares companys name as well, next to the name. In this way, the results will show you the list of downloads, which can be achieved in extremely short period. It would be hard to find better solutions, is not it?

Hopefully you will be one of the persons, who have been using zippyshare for a while and without any regrets naturally. Simply, imagine the possibility to get your loved tracks immediately sounds way greater, than it is, especially, when downloading makes the tracks in a short period to your computer. Easy downloading, easy to listen, easy to find what can be better, dear readers? The future is right here.

More here:
Cosmic Heaven Awaiting Sunshine 043 (28-09-2015) mp3 …

The Second Amendment Is a Gun-Control Amendment

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on The Second Amendment Is a Gun-Control Amendment
Oct 032015

Participants consoling each other during a candlelight vigil for the nine people who were killed in a shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday. The gunman also was killed. Credit photograph by Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The tragedy happensyesterday at a school in Oregon, and then as it will againexactly as predicted, and uniquely here. It hardly seems worth the energy to once again make the same essential point that the Presidenthis growing exasperation and disbelief moving, if not effective, as he serves as national mournerhas now made again: we know how to fix this. Gun control ends gun violence as surely an antibiotics end bacterial infections, as surely as vaccines end childhood measlesnot perfectly and in every case, but overwhelmingly and everywhere that its been taken seriously and tried at length. These lives can be saved. Kids continue to die en masse because one political party wont allow that to change, and the partywont allow it to change because of the irrational and often paranoid fixations that make the massacre of students and children an acceptable cost of fetishizing guns.

In the course of todays conversation, two issues may come up, treated in what is now called a trolling tonepretending to show concern but actually standing in the way of real argument. One is the issue of mental health and this particular killers apparent religious bigotry. Everyone crazy enough to pick up a gun and kill many people is crazy enough to have an ideology to attach to the act. The pointthe only pointis that, everywhere else, that person rants in isolation or on his keyboard; only in America do we cheerfully supply him with military-style weapons to express his rage. As the otherwise reliably Republican (but still Canadian-raised) David Frum wisely writes: Every mass shooter has his own hateful motive. They all use the same tool.

More standard, and seemingly more significant, is the claimoften made by those who say they recognize the tragedy of mass shootings and pretend, at least, that they would like to see gun sanity reign in Americathat the Second Amendment acts as a barrier to anything like the gun laws, passed after mass shootings, that have saved so many lives in Canada and Australia. Like it or not, according to this argument, the Constitution limits our ability to control the number and kinds of guns in private hands. Even the great Jim Jeffries, in his memorable standup on American madness, says, Why cant you change the Second Amendment? Its an amendment!as though further amending it were necessary to escape it.

In point of historical and constitutional fact, nothing could be further from the truth: the only amendment necessary for gun legislation, on the local or national level, is the Second Amendment itself, properly understood, as it was for two hundred years in its plain original sense. This sense can be summed up in a sentence: if the Founders hadnt wanted guns to be regulated, and thoroughly, they would not have put the phrase well regulated in the amendment. (A quick thought experiment: What if those words were not in the preamble to the amendment and a gun-sanity group wanted to insert them? Would the National Rifle Association be for or against this change? Its obvious, isnt it?)

The confusion is contemporary. (And, let us hope, temporary.) It rises from the younger-than-springtime decision D.C. v. Heller, from 2008, when Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for a 54 majority, insisted that, whether he wanted it to or not, the Second Amendment protected an individual right to own a weapon. (A certain disingenuous show of disinterestedness is typical of his opinions.)

This was an astounding constitutional reading, or misreading, as original as Citizens United, and as idiosyncratic as the reasoning in Bush v. Gore, which found a conclusive principle designed to be instantly discardedor, for that matter, as the readiness among the courts right wing to overturn a health-care law passed by a supermajority of the legislature over a typo. Anyone who wants to both grasp that decisions radicalism and get a calm, instructive view of what the Second Amendment does say, and was intended to say, and was always before been understood to say, should read Justice John Paul Stevenss brilliant, persuasive dissent in that case. Every person who despairs of the sanity of the country should read it, at least once, not just for its calm and irrefutable case-making but as a reminder of what sanity sounds like.

Stevens, a Republican judge appointed by a Republican President, brilliantly analyzes the history of the amendment, making it plain that for Scalia, et al., to arrive at their view, they have to reference not the deliberations that produced the amendment but, rather, bring in British common law and lean on interpretations that arose long after the amendment was passed. Both keep arms and bear arms, he demonstrates, were, in the writers day, military terms used in military contexts. (Gary Wills has usefully illuminated this truth in the New York Review of Books.) The intent of the Second Amendment, Stevens explains, was obviously to secure to the people a right to use and possess arms in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia. The one seemingly sound argument in the Scalia decisionthat the people in the Second Amendment ought to be the same people referenced in the other amendments, that is, everybodyis exactly the interpretation that the preamble was meant to guard against.

Stevenss dissent should be read in full, but his conclusion in particular is clear and ringing:

The right the Court announces [in Heller] was not enshrined in the Second Amendment by the Framers; it is the product of todays law-changing decision. . . . Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia. The Courts announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes upsets that settled understanding . . .

Justice Stevens and his colleagues were not saying, a mere seven years ago, that the gun-control legislation in dispute in Heller alone was constitutional within the confines of the Second Amendment. They were asserting that essentially every kind of legislation concerning guns in the hands of individuals was compatible with the Second Amendmentindeed, that regulating guns in individual hands was one of the purposes for which the amendment was offered.

So there is no need to amend the Constitution, or to alter the historical understanding of what the Second Amendment meant. No new reasoning or tortured rereading is needed to reconcile the Constitution with common sense. All that is necessary for sanity to rule again, on the question of guns, is to restore the amendment to its commonly understood meaning as it was articulated by this wise Republican judge a scant few years ago. And all you need for that is one saner and, in the true sense, conservative Supreme Court vote. One Presidential election could make that happen.

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The Second Amendment Is a Gun-Control Amendment

Fourth Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Sep 302015

The Fourth Amendment

Imagine youre driving a car, and a police officer spots you and pulls you over for speeding. He orders you out of the car. Maybe he wants to place you under arrest. Or maybe he wants to search your car for evidence of a crime. Can the officer do that?

The Fourth Amendment is the part of the Constitution that gives the answer. According to the Fourth Amendment, the people have a right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. This right limits the power of the police to seize and search people, their property, and their homes.

The Fourth Amendment has been debated frequently during the last several years, as police and intelligence agencies in the United States have engaged in a number of controversial activities. The federal government has conducted bulk collection of Americans telephone and Internet connections as part of the War on Terror. Many municipal police forces have engaged in aggressive use of stop and frisk. There have been a number of highly-publicized police-citizen encounters in which the police ended up shooting a civilian. There is also concern about the use of aerial surveillance, whether by piloted aircraft or drones.

The application of the Fourth Amendment to all these activities would have surprised those who drafted it, and not only because they could not imagine the modern technologies like the Internet and drones. They also were not familiar with organized police forces like we have today. Policing in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was a responsibility of the citizenry, which participated in night watches. Other than that, there was only a loose collection of sheriffs and constables, who lacked the tools to maintain order as the police do today.

The primary concerns of the generation that ratified the Fourth Amendment were general warrants and writs of assistance. Famous incidents on both sides of the Atlantic gave rise to placing the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution. In Britain, the Crown employed general warrants to go after political enemies, leading to the famous decisions in Wilkes v. Wood (1763) and Entick v. Carrington (1765). General warrants allowed the Crowns messengers to search without any cause to believe someone had committed an offense. In those cases the judges decided that such warrants violated English common law. In the colonies the Crown used the writs of assistancelike general warrants, but often unbounded by time restraintsto search for goods on which taxes had not been paid. James Otis challenged the writs in a Boston court; though he lost, some such as John Adams attribute this legal battle as the spark that led to the Revolution. Both controversies led to the famous notion that a persons home is their castle, not easily invaded by the government.

Today the Fourth Amendment is understood as placing restraints on the government any time it detains (seizes) or searches a person or property. The Fourth Amendment also provides that 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. The idea is that to avoid the evils of general warrants, each search or seizure should be cleared in advance by a judge, and that to get a warrant the government must show probable causea certain level of suspicion of criminal activityto justify the search or seizure.

To the extent that a warrant is required in theory before police can search, there are so many exceptions that in practice warrants rarely are obtained. Police can search automobiles without warrants, they can detain people on the street without them, and they can always search or seize in an emergency without going to a judge.

The way that the Fourth Amendment most commonly is put into practice is in criminal proceedings. The Supreme Court decided in the mid-twentieth century that if the police seize evidence as part of an illegal search, the evidence cannot be admitted into court. This is called the exclusionary rule. It is controversial because in most cases evidence is being tossed out even though it shows the person is guilty and, as a result of the police conduct, they might avoid conviction. The criminal is to go free because the constable has blundered, declared Benjamin Cardozo (a famous judge and ultimately Supreme Court justice). But, responded another Supreme Court justice, Louis Brandeis, If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law.

One of the difficult questions today is what constitutes a search? If the police standing in Times Square in New York watched a person planting a bomb in plain daylight, we would not think they needed a warrant or any cause. But what about installing closed circuit TV cameras on poles, or flying drones over backyards, or gathering evidence that you have given to a third party such as an Internet provider or a banker?

Another hard question is when a search is acceptable when the government has no suspicion that a person has done something wrong. Lest the answer seem to be never, think of airport security. Surely it is okay for the government to screen people getting on airplanes, yet the idea is as much to deter people from bringing weapons as it is to catch themthere is no cause, probable or otherwise, to think anyone has done anything wrong. This is the same sort of issue with bulk data collection, and possibly with gathering biometric information.

What should be clear by now is that advancing technology and the many threats that face society add up to a brew in which the Fourth Amendment will continue to play a central role.

In the Supreme Courts decisions interpreting the Fourth Amendment, there are a lot of cross-cutting arguments.

The biggest challenge ahead for the Fourth Amendment is how it should apply to computers and the Internet.

What the Fourth Amendment Fundamentally Requires by Barry Friedman

In the Supreme Courts decisions interpreting the Fourth Amendment, there are a lot of cross-cutting arguments.

For example, sometimes the Justices say that there is a strong preference for government agents to obtain warrants, and that searches without warrants are presumptively invalid. At other times they say warrants are unnecessary, and the only requirement is that searches be reasonable. At times the Justices say probable cause is required to support a search; at others they say probable cause is not an irreducible minimum.

This is your Fourth Amendment. It describes [t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. It is important for each American to focus on some basics and decideseparate and apart from what the Justices saywhat this vital amendment means.

People say that the Fourth Amendment protects privacy, but that trivializes it. In this world you give up a lot of privacy, whether you wish to or not. Internet cookies, or data stored in web browsers, are just one example. But the Internet companies are not going to come take you away. The government might. What the Fourth Amendment protects is the right of the people to be secure. The Fourth Amendment is the means of keeping the government out of our lives and our property unless it has good justification.

In evaluating how the Fourth Amendment should be interpreted, it is essential to bear in mind the vast changes in policing since the time it was ratified. Whereas policing once was reactive, tasked with identifying and catching criminals, today it has become proactive and is based in deterrence. Before, policing was mostly based on suspicion, it was aimed at people for whom there was cause to believe they had violated or were about to violate the law. Today, policing is aimed at all of usfrom red light cameras to bulk data collection by intelligence agencies to airport security.

There are some basic principles that should govern searches and seizures.

First, no member of the Executive branch should be permitted to intervene in our lives without the say-so of at least one other branch. This is fundamental, and all the more important when that Executive actor engages in surveillance of the citizenry and can use force and coercion against them.

Second, a central purpose of the Fourth Amendment is preventing arbitrary or unjustified intrusions into the lives and property of citizens.

In light of these basic principles, certain interpretations of the Fourth Amendment follow:

No search or seizure is reasonable if it is not based on either legislative authorization or pursuant to rules that have some form of democratic say in their making. The police can write rulesall other agencies of executive government dobut absent a critical need for secrecy those rules should be public and responsive to public wishes.

Second, warrants are to be preferred. Policing agencies are mission-oriented. We want them to bethey have a vital role protecting public safety. But because they are mission-oriented, warrants should be obtained in advance of searching whenever possible so that a neutral judge can assess the need to intrude on peoples lives.

Third, we should distinguish between searches aimed at suspects and those aimed at society in general. When there is a particular suspect, the protections of a warrant and probable cause apply. But those protections make no sense when we are all the target of policing. In the latter instance the most important protection is that policing not discriminate among us. For example, at airport security all must be screened the same unless and until there is suspicioncause to single someone out.

Finally, often todays policing singles out a particular group. Examples include profiling (based on race, religion, or something else) or subjecting only workers in some agencies to drug tests. When policing is group-based, the proper clause of the Constitution to govern is the Equal Protection Clause. When discriminatory searching or seizing occurs, the government should have to prove two things: that the group it is selecting for unfavorable treatment truly is more likely to contain people worthy of the governments attention, and that the incidence of problematic behavior is sufficiently great in that group to justify burdening everyone. Otherwise, the government should go back to either searching individuals based on suspicion, or search us all.

The Future of the Fourth Amendment by Orin Kerr

The biggest challenge ahead for the Fourth Amendment is how it should apply to computers and the Internet.

The Fourth Amendment was written over two hundred years ago. But todays crimes often involve computers and the Internet, requiring the police to collect digital evidence and analyze it to solve crimes.

The major question is, how much power should the police have to collect this data? What is an unreasonable search and seizure on the Internet?

Consider the example of a Facebook account. If you log in to Facebook, your use of the account sends a tremendous amount of information to Facebook. Facebook keeps records of everything. What you post, what messages you send, what pictures you like, even what pages you view. Facebook gets it all, and it keeps records of everything you do. Now imagine that the police come to Facebook and want records of a particular user. The police think the suspect used Facebook to commit the crime or shared evidence of the crime using the site. Maybe the suspect was cyberstalking and harassing a victim on Facebook. Or maybe the suspect is a drug dealer who was exchanging messages with another drug dealer planning a future crime. Or perhaps the suspect committed a burglary, and he posted pictures of the burglary for all of his Facebook friends to see.

Heres the hard question: What limits does the Fourth Amendment impose on the government getting access to the account records? For example, is it a Fourth Amendment search or seizure for the government to get what a person posted on his Facebook wall for all of his friends to see? Is it a search or seizure to get the messages that the suspect sent? How about records of what page the suspect viewed? And if it is a search or seizure, how much can the government seize with a warrant? Can the government get access to all of the account records? Only some of the account records?

The courts have only begun to answer these questions, and it will be up to future courts to figure out what the Fourth Amendment requires. As more people spend much of their lives online, the stakes of answering these questions correctly becomes higher and higher.

In my view, courts should try to answer these questions by translating the traditional protections of the Fourth Amendment from the physical world to the networked world. In the physical world, the Fourth Amendment strikes a balance. The government is free to do many things without constitutional oversight. The police can watch people in the public street or watch a suspect in a public place. They can follow a car as it drives down the street. On the other hand, the police need cause to stop people, and they need a warrant to enter private places like private homes.

The goal for interpreting the Fourth Amendment should be to strike that same balance in the online setting. Just like in the physical world, the police should be able to collect some evidence without restriction to ensure that they can investigate crimes. And just like in the physical world, there should be limits on what the government can do to ensure that the police do not infringe upon important civil liberties.

A second important area is the future of the exclusionary rule, the rule that evidence unconstitutionally obtained cannot be used in court. The history of the exclusionary rule is a history of change. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Supreme Court dramatically expanded the exclusionary rule. Since the 1980s, however, the Supreme Court has cut back on when the exclusionary rule applies.

The major disagreement is over whether and how the exclusionary rule should apply when the police violate the Fourth Amendment, but do so in good faith, such as when the law is unclear or the violation is only technical. In the last decade, a majority of the Justices have expanded the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. A central question is whether the good faith exception will continue to expand, and if so, how far.

In the Supreme Courts decisions interpreting the Fourth Amendment, there are a lot of cross-cutting arguments.

The biggest challenge ahead for the Fourth Amendment is how it should apply to computers and the Internet.

Fourth Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Sep 282015

Fourth Amendment,amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States, part of the Bill of Rights, that forbids unreasonable searches and seizures of individuals and property. For the text of the Fourth Amendment, see below.

Introduced in 1789, what became the Fourth Amendment struck at the heart of a matter central to the early American experience: the principle that, within reason, Every mans house is his castle, and that any citizen may fall into the category of the criminally accused and ought to be provided protections accordingly. In U.S. constitutional law, the Fourth Amendment is the foundation of criminal law jurisprudence, articulating both the rights of persons and the responsibilities of law-enforcement officials. The balance between these two forces has undergone considerable public, political, and judicial debate. Are the amendments two clauses meant to be applied independently or taken as a whole? Is the expectation of privacy diminished depending on where and what is suspected, sought, and seized? What constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure?

The protections contained in the amendment have been determined less on the basis of what the Constitution says than according to what it has been interpreted to mean, and, as such, its constitutional meaning has inherently been fluid. The protections granted by the U.S. Supreme Court have expanded during periods when the court was dominated by liberals (e.g., during the tenure of Chief Justice Earl Warren [195369]), beginning particularly with Mapp v. Ohio (1961), in which the court extended the exclusionary rule to all criminal proceedings; by contrast, during the tenure of the conservative William Rehnquist (19862005) as chief justice, the court contracted the rights afforded to the criminally accused, allowing law-enforcement officials latitude to search in instances when they reasonably believed that the property in question harboured presumably dangerous persons.

The full text of the amendment is:

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.

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History of Gun Rights – a Timeline of the 2nd Amendment

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Sep 262015

After going virtually unchallenged for more than one hundred years, Americans right to own guns was one of the hottest political topics of the second half of the 20th Century. The issue has calmed somewhat in the early days of the 21st Century, but if history is our guide, the debate is going nowhere until an inevitable and definitive ruling is handed down by the nations courts: does the Second Amendment apply to individual citizens?

1791: The Second Amendment is Ratified

The ink had hardly dried on the ratification papers of the Constitution before a political movement was undertaken to amend the framing document to declare gun ownership as a right.

A select committee assembled to review amendments proposed by James Madison authored the language that would become the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

1871: NRA Founded

The National Rifle Association was founded by a pair of Union soldiers in 1871, not as a political lobby but as an effort to promote the shooting of rifles. However, the organization would grow to become the face of America’s pro-gun lobby in the 20th Century.

1822: Bliss v. Commonwealth Brings Individual Right Into Question

The Second Amendments intent for individual Americans first came into question in 1822, in Bliss v. Commonwealth. The court case arose in Kentucky after a man was indicted for carrying a sword concealed in a cane.

He was convicted and fined $100.

Bliss appealed the conviction, citing a provision in the Commonwealths constitution that states: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state, shall not be questioned.

In a majority vote with just one judge dissenting, the court overturned the conviction against Bliss and ruled the law unconstitutional and void.

1856: Dred Scott v. Sandford Upholds Individual Right

The Second Amendment as an individual right was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in its decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1856. With the rights of slaves in question, the nations highest court opined on the intent of the Second Amendment for the first time, writing that affording slaves full rights of American citizenship would include the right to keep and carry arms wherever they went.

1934: National Firearms Act Brings About First Major Gun Control

The first major effort to eliminate private ownership of firearms came with the National Firearms Act of 1934. A direct response of the rise of gangster violence in general, and the Saint Valentines Day massacre in particular, the National Firearms Act sought to circumvent the Second Amendment by controlling firearms through a tax excise ($200 for each gun sale).

The National Firearms Act targeted fully-automatic weapons, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, pen and cane guns, and other firearms defined as gangster weapons.

1938: Federal Firearms Act Requires License for Dealers

The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 required anyone selling or shipping firearms to be licensed through the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Federal Firearms License (FFL) stipulated that guns could not be sold to persons convicted of certain crimes and required sellers to log the names and addresses of anyone they sold guns to.

1968: Gun Control Act Ushers In New Regulations

Thirty years after Americas first sweeping reform of gun laws, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy helped to usher in new federal legislation with wide-ranging implications. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited mail order sales of rifles and shotguns, increased license requirements for sellers and broadened the list of persons prohibited from owning a firearm to include convicted felons, drug users and the mentally incompetent.

1994: Brady Act and Assault Weapons Ban

Two new federal laws passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 became the hallmark of gun control efforts of the latter 20th Century.

The first, the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, required a five-day waiting period and background check for the sale of handguns, while also requiring a National Instant Criminal Background Check System to be created. The second, the Assault Weapons Ban (officially entitled the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act) banned a number of rifles defined as assault weapons, including many semi-automatic, military-style rifles such as the AK-47 and SKS.

2004: Assault Weapons Ban Sunsets

A Republican-controlled Congress refused to pass a reauthorization of the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004, allowing the ban to expire. President George W. Bush was criticized by gun control supporters for not actively pressuring Congress to renew the ban, while gun rights supporters criticized him for indicating that he would sign a reauthorization if Congress passed it.

2008: D.C. v. Heller is a Major Setback for Gun Control

Gun rights proponents were thrilled in 2008 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment extends gun ownership rights to individuals. The decision affirmed an earlier decision by a lower appeals court and struck down handgun bans in Washington D.C. as unconstitutional.

The case was lauded as the first Supreme Court case to affirm the right of an individual to keep and bear arms in accordance with the Second Amendment. However, the ruling applied only to federal enclaves, such as the District of Columbia. Justices did not opine on the Second Amendments application to the states.

2010: Gun Owners Score Another Victory in McDonald v. Chicago

Gun rights supporters scored their second major Supreme Court victory in 2010, when the high court affirmed the individual right to own guns in McDonald v. Chicago.

The ruling, which was an inevitable follow-up to D.C. v. Heller, marked the first time that the Supreme Court ruled the provisions of the Second Amendment extend to the states. The ruling overturned an earlier decision by a lower court in a legal challenge to Chicagos ordinance banning the possession of handguns by its citizens.

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The Second Amendment: The Framers Intentions

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Sep 262015

by Daniel J. Schultz

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The reference to a “well regulated” militia, probably conjures up a connotation at odds with the meaning intended by the Framers. In today’s English, the term “well regulated” probably implies heavy and intense government regulation. However, that conclusion is erroneous.

The words “well regulated” had a far different meaning at the time the Second Amendment was drafted. In the context of the Constitution’s provisions for Congressional power over certain aspects of the militia, and in the context of the Framers’ definition of “militia,” government regulation was not the intended meaning. Rather, the term meant only what it says, that the necessary militia be well regulated, but not by the national government.

To determine the meaning of the Constitution, one must start with the words of the Constitution itself. If the meaning is plain, that meaning controls. To ascertain the meaning of the term “well regulated” as it was used in the Second Amendment, it is necessary to begin with the purpose of the Second Amendment itself. The overriding purpose of the Framers in guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms was as a check on the standing army, which the Constitution gave the Congress the power to “raise and support.”

As Noah Webster put it in a pamphlet urging ratification of the Constitution, “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.” George Mason remarked to his Virginia delegates regarding the colonies’ recent experience with Britain, in which the Monarch’s goal had been “to disarm the people; that [that] . . . was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” A widely reprinted article by Tench Coxe, an ally and correspondent of James Madison, described the Second Amendment’s overriding goal as a check upon the national government’s standing army: As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

Thus, the well regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state was a militia that might someday fight against a standing army raised and supported by a tyrannical national government. Obviously, for that reason, the Framers did not say “A Militia well regulated by the Congress, being necessary to the security of a free State” — because a militia so regulated might not be separate enough from, or free enough from, the national government, in the sense of both physical and operational control, to preserve the “security of a free State.”

It is also helpful to contemplate the overriding purpose and object of the Bill of Rights in general. To secure ratification of the Constitution, the Federalists, urging passage of the Constitution by the States had committed themselves to the addition of the Bill of Rights, to serve as “further guards for private rights.” In that regard, the first ten amendments to the Constitution were designed to be a series of “shall nots,” telling the new national government again, in no uncertain terms, where it could not tread.

It would be incongruous to suppose or suggest the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, which were proscriptions on the powers of the national government, simultaneously acted as a grant of power to the national government. Similarly, as to the term “well regulated,” it would make no sense to suggest this referred to a grant of “regulation” power to the government (national or state), when the entire purpose of the Bill of Rights was to both declare individual rights and tell the national government where the scope of its enumerated powers ended.

In keeping with the intent and purpose of the Bill of Rights both of declaring individual rights and proscribing the powers of the national government, the use and meaning of the term “Militia” in the Second Amendment, which needs to be “well regulated,” helps explain what “well regulated” meant. When the Constitution was ratified, the Framers unanimously believed that the “militia” included all of the people capable of bearing arms.

George Mason, one of the Virginians who refused to sign the Constitution because it lacked a Bill of Rights, said: “Who are the Militia? They consist now of the whole people.” Likewise, the Federal Farmer, one of the most important Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution, referred to a “militia, when properly formed, [as] in fact the people themselves.” The list goes on and on.

By contrast, nowhere is to be found a contemporaneous definition of the militia, by any of the Framers, as anything other than the “whole body of the people.” Indeed, as one commentator said, the notion that the Framers intended the Second Amendment to protect the “collective” right of the states to maintain militias rather than the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms, “remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis.”

Furthermore, returning to the text of the Second Amendment itself, the right to keep and bear arms is expressly retained by “the people,” not the states. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed this view, finding that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right held by the “people,” — a “term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution,” specifically the Preamble and the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Thus, the term “well regulated” ought to be considered in the context of the noun it modifies, the people themselves, the militia(s).

The above analysis leads us finally to the term “well regulated.” What did these two words mean at the time of ratification? Were they commonly used to refer to a governmental bureaucracy as we know it today, with countless rules and regulations and inspectors, or something quite different? We begin this analysis by examining how the term “regulate” was used elsewhere in the Constitution. In every other instance where the term “regulate” is used, or regulations are referred to, the Constitution specifies who is to do the regulating and what is being “regulated.” However, in the Second Amendment, the Framers chose only to use the term “well regulated” to describe a militia and chose not to define who or what would regulate it.

It is also important to note that the Framers’ chose to use the indefinite article “a” to refer to the militia, rather than the definite article “the.” This choice suggests that the Framers were not referring to any particular well regulated militia but, instead, only to the concept that well regulated militias, made up of citizens bearing arms, were necessary to secure a free State. Thus, the Framers chose not to explicitly define who, or what, would regulate the militias, nor what such regulation would consist of, nor how the regulation was to be accomplished.

This comparison of the Framers’ use of the term “well regulated” in the Second Amendment, and the words “regulate” and “regulation” elsewhere in the Constitution, clarifies the meaning of that term in reference to its object, namely, the Militia. There is no doubt the Framers understood that the term “militia” had multiple meanings. First, the Framers understood all of the people to be part of the unorganized militia. The unorganized militia members, “the people,” had the right to keep and bear arms. They could, individually, or in concert, “well regulate” themselves; that is, they could train to shoot accurately and to learn the basics of military tactics.

This interpretation is in keeping with English usage of the time, which included within the meaning of the verb “regulate” the concept of self- regulation or self-control (as it does still to this day). The concept that the people retained the right to self-regulate their local militia groups (or regulate themselves as individual militia members) is entirely consistent with the Framers’ use of the indefinite article “a” in the phrase “A well regulated Militia.”

This concept of the people’s self-regulation, that is, non-governmental regulation, is also in keeping with the limited grant of power to Congress “for calling forth” the militia for only certain, limited purposes, to “provide for” the militia only certain limited control and equipment, and the limited grant of power to the President regarding the militia, who only serves as Commander in Chief of that portion of the militia called into the actual service of the nation. The “well regula[tion]” of the militia set forth in the Second Amendment was apart from that control over the militia exercised by Congress and the President, which extended only to that part of the militia called into actual service of the Union. Thus, “well regula[tion]” referred to something else. Since the fundamental purpose of the militia was to serve as a check upon a standing army, it would seem the words “well regulated” referred to the necessity that the armed citizens making up the militia(s) have the level of equipment and training necessary to be an effective and formidable check upon the national government’s standing army.

This view is confirmed by Alexander Hamilton’s observation, in The Federalist, No. 29, regarding the people’s militias ability to be a match for a standing army: ” . . . but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights . . . .”

It is an absolute truism that law-abiding, armed citizens pose no threat to other law-abiding citizens. The Framers’ writings show they also believed this. As we have seen, the Framers understood that “well regulated” militias, that is, armed citizens, ready to form militias that would be well trained, self-regulated and disciplined, would pose no threat to their fellow citizens, but would, indeed, help to “insure domestic Tranquility” and “provide for the common defence.”


1. In constitutional or statutory construction, language should always be accorded its plain meaning. See, e.g., Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. (1 Wheat.) 304, 326 (1816).

2. “On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 32.

3. “The Congress shall have Power . . . To raise and support Armies . . . .” U.S. Const., Article I, Section 8, cl. 12.

4. Senate Subcommittee On The Constitution Of The Comm. On The Judiciary, 97th Cong., 2d Sess., The Right To Keep And Bear Arms (Comm. Print 1982), at 5.

5. 3 J. Elliot, Debates In The Several State Conventions 380 (2d ed. 1836).

6. Originally published under the pseudonym “A Pennsylvanian,” these “Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution” first appeared in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, at 2, col. 1. They were reprinted by the New York Packet, June 23, 1789, at 2, cols. 1-2, and by the Boston Centennial, July 4, 1789, at 1, col. 2. The U.S. Supreme Court, in U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 83 L. Ed. 2d 1206, 59 S. Ct. 816 (1939), noted that the debates in the Constitutional Convention, the history and legislation of the colonies and states, and the writings of approved commentators showed that the militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense — a body enrolled for military discipline.

7. 11 Papers Of James Madison 307 (R. Rutland & C. Hobson ed. 1977) (letter of Oct. 20, 1788, from Madison to Edmund Pendleton)(emphasis added).

8. An examination of the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights shows that they were designed, like the Second Amendment, to declare rights retained by the people (1-9), or the States (10), and to provide a clear list of powers not given to the national government: “Congress shall make no law . . . .” (Amendment I); “No soldier shall . . . .” (Amendment III); “The right of the people . . . shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue . . . .” (Amendment IV); “No person shall . . .; nor shall any person . . .; nor shall private property be taken . . . .” (Amendment V); “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy . . . .” (Amendment VI); “In Suits at common law . . . the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States . . . .” (Amendment VII); “Excessive bail shall not be required . . . .” (Amendment VIII); “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Amendment IX); “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.” (Amendment X).

9. 3 J. Elliot, Debates In The General State Conventions 425 (3d ed. 1937) (statement of George Mason, June 14, 1788), reprinted in Levinson, The Embarassing Second Amendment, 99 Yale L. Rev. 637, 647 (1989). See supra note 6 and accompanying text.

10. Letters From The Federal Farmer To The Republican 123 (W. Bennet ed. 1978) (ascribed to Richard Henry Lee), reprinted in Levinson, supra note 9, at 647. See supra note 6 and accompanying text.

11. S. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, p. 83 (The Independent Institute, 1984).

12. U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265 (1990) (“The Second Amendment protects ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms’….”).

13. “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators.” (Article I, Section 4); “The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes . . . .” (Article I, Section 8, cl. 3); “The Congress shall have power . . . To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures . . . .” (Article I, Section 8, cl. 5); “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.” (Article I, Section 9); “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” (Article III, Section 2, cl. 2); “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.” (Article IV, Section 2, cl. 3); “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular state.” (Article IV, Section 3, cl. 2).

14. See supra, notes 6, 9 and 10 and accompanying text.

15. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following examples of usage for the term “well regulated”: 1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us . . . well-regulated Appetites, and worthy Inclinations.” 1714: “The practice of all well regulated courts of justice in the world.” 1812: “The equation of time . . . is the adjustment of the difference of time, as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.” 1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Major.” 1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.” 1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well- regulated American embryo city.” One definition of the word “well” in the Oxford English Dictionary is “satisfactorily in respect of conduct or action.” One of The Oxford English Dictionary definitions for the term “regulated” is “b. Of troops: Properly disciplined.” The one example of usage is: “1690: Lond. Gaz. No. 2568/3 ‘We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that side.'” The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1989).

16. “The Congress shall have Power . . . To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions . . . .” U. S. Const., Article I, Section 8, cl. 15.

17. “The Congress shall have Power . . . To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress . . . .” U.S. Const., Article I, Section 8, cl. 16.

18. “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States . . . .” U.S. Const., Article II, Section 2, cl. 1.

19. U.S. Const., Preamble. —– from: The “Well Regulated” Militia of the Second Amendment: An Examination of the Framers’ Intentions, THE LIBERTY POLE V.II, No.2, The Official Publication of The Lawyer’s Second Amendment Society.

Daniel J. Schultz is a practicing attorney in Los Angeles and President of LSAS, a nationwide network of pro-right to keep and bear arms attorneys. Contact the LSAS at (818)734-3066 or 18034 Ventura Boulevard, #329, Encino, CA 91316.

—– Brought to you by – The ‘Lectric Law Library The Net’s Finest Legal Resource For Legal Pros & Laypeople Alike.


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