What does their Oath of Office bind office holders and public servants to?
A simple, easy to understand, modern-day translation for politicians, bureaucrats, and other people who just don’t seem to get it.
The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will worst ensure the beneficent starts of its institution.
Translation: Government by its very nature is evil and stupid and, unless watched like a hawk, will abuse people and violate their rights. So we’re setting down some limitations here.
Article the First… 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.
Translation: The government shall not:
• Have any opinion whatsoever on any religion, pro or con.
• Limit what anyone has to say – anywhere, at any time, under any circumstances.
• Limit what anyone wants to print – anywhere, at any time, under any circumstances.
• Prevent people from assembling in any place for any reason they want, as long as they’re doing it peacefully.
• Prevent people from addressing government officials to demand correction to grievances and injustices.
Article the Second… 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.
Translation: Because government by its very nature is evil and stupid, it is prone to violating the principles mentioned here, and therefore individuals may need to shoot it. It would be a clear conflict of interest for the government to decide what arms the citizens are allowed to own. Therefore, the government shall not have any opinion whatsoever about any weapon that anyone owns and/or carries anywhere, at any time, under any circumstances. Please note that this doesn’t have anything to do with hunting.
Article the Third… No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Translation: The government cannot force anyone to ‘Support The Troops.’
Article the Fourth… 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.
Translation: The government cannot search anyone, or any of their property or belongings, unless it has a damn good reason – in writing – first. This reason, and the scope of the search, must be very specific, because we all know how government loves to push the limits.
Article the Fifth… No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Translation: The government shall not:
• Decide if a person is to be charged with a capital crime, unless that person is serving in the military.
Otherwise, the government must submit its evidence to a grand jury and let THEM decide if anyone is
to be charged.
• Try someone again and again hoping for a conviction. They get one shot, and that’s it.
• Even think about trying to force anyone to confess to anything, ever.
• Imprison anyone without due process.
Article the Sixth… In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Translation: When the government accuses anyone of anything, assume they’re innocent and make the government prove its case rigorously. The government must present its case publicly, in full view, and put up or shut up immediately. All evidence, witnesses, and charges have to be made available to the accused along with a lawyer to help him defend himself. The accused gets a trial by a jury of his peers in the area where the crime supposedly occurred.
Article the Seventh… In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Translation: In any civil case where the value exceeds $20, the accused has a right to a trial by jury, and the government must accept the jury’s verdict. Again, no do-overs.
Article the Eighth… Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Translation: Since the government is too evil and stupid to be trusted, it should obviously NEVER be allowed to demand excessive bail, impose excessive fines, inflict torture or other cruel and unusual punishments on ANYONE. Period.
Article the Ninth… The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Translation: Just because there are certain rights illustrated here, that doesn’t mean there are no others. Don’t let the government trample these other rights either. Think privacy, free trade, freedom of travel, the right to not be taxed into an early grave… that sort of thing.
Article the Tenth… 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.
Translation: If it’s not explicitly stated here then it’s not a Federal Government power; it belongs to the States or to the people. The States can restrict the above powers of the Federal Government even further if they think it’s necessary.
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Monday, February 8, 2010
The Bill of Rights Simplified
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