Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Once More into the Dark Abyss of Constitutional Law

I saw a clip on YouTube this morning that has a discussion between Arlen Specter (R-VA) and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. They're talking about the recent Supreme Court decision concerning the right of habeas corpus for inmates at Gitmo:

(If you're lazy, it shows Gonzales saying that the Constitution does not protect the right to habeas corpus.)

As terrifying as this is, Gonzales is right, for the wrong reasons. The Constitution does not specifically enumerate our rights as citizens of the United States. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say "The people have the right to free speech" or "The people have the right to bear arms". The Constitution does not give us our rights; the government does not give us our rights. Our rights are endowed to us by our Creator, and not just in some namby-pamby spiritual sense. What this means is that we are born with our rights, and the government takes them away. Thus, the purpose of the Constitution is not to regulate the people, it is to regulate the government, and this is expressly clear in both the wording and execution of the document. This is exactly what Alexander Hamilton and Co. were afraid of when they opposed the Bill of Rights. They didn't want to make it seem like the rights specifically protected by the Constitution were the only rights granted to citizens. So they wrote in some safeguards, colloquially known as Amendments IX and X, which nowadays are hardly worth the paper they're printed on.

Amendment IX reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Amendment X reads: "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.” (emphasis mine.)

Pretty damn clear, don't you think?

So, Gonzales is right, for the wrong reasons. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that we have the right to habeas corpus, because that's not what the Constitution is for. The Constitution is written to protect the rights that we already have (endowed to us by our Creator, remember) from the government itself.

Why do I understand this better than the Attorney General?


you and me and the devil makes three



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