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New York City Police Use Pandemic To Create COVID-19 Checkpoints

This article was originally published by Mass Private I at Activist Post. 

A recent article in The New York Post revealed how the NYPD used the pandemic to justify creating COVID-19 checkpoints.

New York officials have stopped 353 cars at entrances to the Big Apple to warn travelers of the mandatory two-week quarantine rule. The stops were made from Wednesday through Friday at bridges and tunnels, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

Police are using the pandemic as an excuse to circumvent the Fourth Amendment by asking a vehicle’s occupants to answer questions like have they spent more than 24 hours during the previous 14 days in any state on New York’s restricted list?

The city has the audacity to claim that these stops are “quick and educational.” There is nothing quick and educational about being stopped and questioned by government officials.

Is there anything educational about fining people $10,000 dollars?

Travelers who violate the quarantine rule could face up to $10,000 in fines. There are currently 35 states plus Puerto Rico on the list.

Earlier this year, The Orlando Sentinel called COVID-19 checkpoints security theater and worried about the cost to taxpayers. COVID-19 checkpoints have also been set up in Rhode IslandNorth CarolinaColoradoMississippiLouisiana, and Texas.

Penn Station COVID-19 checkpoint :

Credit: WKZO

A WKZO article shows U.S. military personnel conducting a COVID-19 checkpoint at Penn Station.

A few dozen travelers got off a train from Miami at New York City’s Penn Station on Thursday and were greeted by a team of public health workers and mayoral office staff who handed them informational fliers about the state’s new COVID-19 quarantine rules.

Government officials use COVID-19 as an excuse to question and interrogate visitors.

The team, comprised of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s public engagement unit and the city’s COVID-19 Test & Trace Corps, were running a checkpoint starting at Penn Station on Thursday to ensure that visitors from any of the 35 states on New York’s travel advisory were aware of the 14-day quarantine mandate.

Imagine getting off a train or bus in New York City and being forced to go through a government checkpoint. This is America, you say? I can refuse to answer their questions, right?

People who refuse to answer their questions could be fined anywhere from $2,000-$10,000.

A spokeswoman for City Hall said refusing to fill out the quarantine form could subject travelers from designated states to a $2000 fine, and violations of the quarantine orders could result in a $10,000 fine.

Three years ago, I revealed that police have created thirty-three different types of checkpoints. But this latest ploy; using a pandemic as an excuse to create another police checkpoint, is inexcusable.

COVID-19 checkpoints make a mockery of police reform and trample our Bill of Rights. It is only a matter of time before COVID-19 checkpoints spread across the country.

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Why The Public Should Rebel Against Forced Vaccinations

This article was originally published by Brandon Smith at Alt-Market. 

The debate over the morality and practicality of forced vaccinations has been raging for many years, long before the coronavirus ever hit the US population. With the advent of the pandemic the narrative has shifted to one of “necessity”. The media and the majority of governments around the world now act as if mass vaccinations are a given; the “debate is over”, as collectivists like to say when they are tired of having to deal with any logical or factual complaints.

In the case of the novel coronavirus there is no vaccine yet; unless of course the virus was engineered or evolved in a lab (as more and more evidence is suggesting), and then perhaps there is one already developed. Typically, vaccines take years to test and produce, and whenever a vaccine is rushed onto the market very bad things tend to happen.

The vaccine debate often revolves around the issue of safety. Is a particular inoculation safe or poisonous? Does it have long term effects that are dangerous? Does it harm children with highly sensitive and underdeveloped body systems?  These are valid concerns, but ultimately the fight over vaccines has less to do with medical safety or effectiveness and more to do with individual rights vs government demands.

In other words, the more important questions are:  Should social engineering by governments and elites be allowed? Do people have the right to determine how their bodies are medically augmented or manipulated? Does the “security of the majority” take precedence over the civil liberties of the individual?  And if so, who gets to determine what freedoms will be taken away?

The Legal Argument

The purveyors of the forced vaccination philosophy usually make a legal or technical argument first before they appeal to the idea of “the greater good”.  They do this because they know that public perception often assumes (wrongly) that legal authority is the same as moral authority.

In 1905, the US Supreme Court was presented with Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, a case involving the subject of state-enforced smallpox vaccination. The defendant argued on the grounds of the 14th Amendment that his bodily liberty was being violated by the state if he was subjected to arbitrary vaccination without his consent. The state and the Supreme Court felt differently (of course). The Supreme Court ruled against Jacobson on the grounds that his refusal to take the vaccine put other people “at-risk”, and that “for the common good” states have certain “police powers” that supersede personal liberties.

Whenever liberty movement activists argue against forced vaccinations on constitutional grounds, THIS is the counter-argument that the government and statists will make. They will bring up Jacobson vs. Massachusetts and then claim that is the end of the discussion.

Essentially, the Supreme Court argued that the federal government could not interfere with state-imposed forced vaccinations on the grounds of states’ rights and the 10th Amendment. Most people in the liberty movement will find this rather ironic, as it is bizarre to hear about the federal government defending states’ rights. But, this support of the 10th Amendment is highly selective.

First, let’s not forget that the Supreme Court has been wrong many times in the past. In the Dredd Scott case in 1834, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of slavery and the right of states to enforce the institution. They also argued that the 5th Amendment protected slave owners because freeing slaves meant depriving owners of their “property”.

The Supreme Court’s habit is to defend states’ rights and the 10th Amendment when people’s individual liberties are being quashed. However, if a case involves states protecting citizens from federal intrusion, the court flips and attacks states’ rights when they work in favor of individual liberty or self-determination.

The Jacobson vs. Massachusetts case may be the reason why Trump and the federal government have mostly left the lockdowns and emergency actions to the states.  The legal precedence was already established in 1905 on quarantines and forcing vaccinations through state police powers, so it only follows that the establishment would utilize the states to carry out such measures in the near future.

The “states vs federal government” debate sets up a false paradigm. There is no separation between state and federal governments when it comes to tyranny – both sides love it, though they pretend to be opposed to each other at times. That is to say, whether it is the federal government violating your constitutional rights or the state government violating your constitutional rights, the Supreme Court is often comfortable with both.

The truth they don’t want to discuss is that at the bottom the Bill of Rights overrules them regardless of federal precedent or the 10th Amendment. The key to the Bill of Rights is that each American citizen has INHERENT LIBERTIES that supersede both federal and state power. These rights are inalienable. They cannot be violated today, and the law cannot be adjusted to violate them tomorrow. These rights and freedoms are ETERNAL.

The Supreme Court hisses with a forked tongue about the “spirit of the constitution” but ignores the clear and concrete intent as stated by the Founders. Statists argue in favor of the “living document” philosophy when it suits them as a means to change the original meaning and laws put forth in the Bill of Rights because this allows them to violate citizen freedoms under the guise of “legality”. But “legality” is not the same amorality. Legality is meaningless, and the Supreme Court is meaningless if it acts against the constitutional bedrock of the Bill of Rights and individual liberty as they have done numerous times in the past.

The Moral Argument

So, if we cannot rely on legality to protect us from state tyranny, what can we rely on? Forced vaccine advocates will say that morality is on their side as well, for if a person does not vaccinate they are putting the rest of society at risk of infection. Therefore, your individual rights must be violated in order to protect the rights of the rest of society. The problem is that Jacobson vs Massachusetts makes no logical argument supporting this assertion, and neither do forced vaccine proponents.

Look at it this way: How can a person that is not vaccinated “harm” people that are vaccinated? How are they putting those people at risk? If the vaccine actually works, then vaccinated people are safe from infection, aren’t they? So, the only person “at-risk” is the person that chose not to vaccinate. This comes down to personal choice, there is no question of “the greater good” or social risk.

I find it fascinating that the people that argue fervently in favor of forced vaccinations (people like Bill Gates) also tend to be the same people that argue in favor of abortion rights.  So, “my body my choice” is acceptable when it comes to women ending the lives of unborn children, but “my body my choice” is not acceptable when it comes to mass vaccinations even though an unvaccinated person is a threat to no one.

Some vaccine advocates will then claim that unvaccinated people could be host to “mutations” that threaten herd immunity. The problem is that there is no evidence to support this argument. The vast majority of viruses tend to mutate into LESS deadly or infectious strains, not more deadly. The only mitigating factors would be if a virus was deliberately designed or engineered to mutate in an unnatural manner.

If a virus is designed to mutate into a vastly different and more deadly strain that can attack vaccinated persons then the vaccine was never useful to begin with, and forced vaccinations are pointless. Once again, if the vaccine is effective then there is simply no basis for the position that an unvaccinated person puts vaccinated people in danger.

The Conformity Argument

The next argument by pro-forced vaccination people is to ask “why”? Why do you care if you are vaccinated? What do you have to worry about? Just go along to get along, right…?

This argument reminds me of a common anti-gun narrative: Why do you need to carry a gun? Why frighten other people? The chances you will need it are slim, right…?

The most important answer to the gun question is “Because it’s my right to carry and I plan to exercise it. Also, your fear of guns does not take precedence over my constitutional freedoms.” The same goes for forced vaccination: Because it is my right to refuse to have ANY pharmaceutical product injected into my body. Your fears of infection do not matter to my constitutional rights. If you want to take the vaccine then that is your choice. Leave me out of it.

Arguing about hypothetical threats is a waste of time. I carry a firearm because I have the right to have a means of defense just in case I need it. I refuse vaccinations because I have a right to avoid potential bodily harm just in case I have suspicions of a faulty product.

And is there reason to be concerned about faulty vaccines? Absolutely. Mass vaccination programs that were rushed to the public have a track record of harming people’s health.

With globalists like Bill Gates, an obsessive champion of depopulation at the forefront of the Covid-19 effort, I have no plans to accept any coronavirus vaccine. Bill Gates has funded numerous experimental vaccine trials through the World Health Organization, including Polio vaccination programs.  It was these same programs that led to viral outbreaks of polio in various countries and hundreds of paralyzed children. In fact, the vaccines caused more cases of Polio than the wild-type virus. This if VERIFIED FACT, admitted by the WHO and other mainstream sources, though numerous leftist media outlets continue to deny it.

At most, the WHO and Gates can claim that the infections were “accidental”. But if this is the case, it would still suggest that vaccines developed by Gates Foundation programs and the WHO should not be trusted.

In 1976 a swine flu scare enabled the initiation of a government-funded mass vaccination program. The vaccine was faulty and was canceled in less than 10 weeks after causing hundreds of cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological condition that leads to temporary paralysis and sometimes death.

In 2008, Swiss company Novartis tested a Bird Flu vaccine on the homeless and poor population of Poland. The vaccine trial paid participants $2, and they were told the inoculation was for the “normal flu”. According a homeless center in the area, at least 21 people died right after they participated in the trial.

A GlaxoSmithKline executive by the name of Moncef Slaoui was recently tapped by Donald Trump to head up the government’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. This appointment should be highly concerning to the public. Why? Because Glaxo has a dark history in vaccine development, including an incident in Argentina in 2007-2008 when they were fined after a pneumonia vaccine trial allegedly caused the deaths of at least 14 babies. Slaoui was in charge of Glaxo’s vaccine division at the time.

Statists that argue in favor of forced vaccination will dismiss all of these examples as mere “accidents” that are “rare”. Others will claim that fighting the pandemic is worth the risk of a “few deaths” due to some faulty vaccines. But this does not address the core issue of the battle against forced vaccination programs.  Does a minority of elites in government or even a majority of useful idiots in the general population have the right to declare ownership of your body in the name of an arbitrary “greater good”?  I say no, which is why I will NOT be conforming to any forced vaccine measures and I am willing to take extreme actions to defend myself from them if necessary.

As mentioned above, if a vaccine works, then there is no need to force people to take it. It will protect those that want it and the only risk is to those that choose not to use it. Frankly, the people in charge of the vaccine effort are not to be trusted, they have open ideological agendas that are questionable to say the least. Allowing them to dictate what goes into our bodies is akin to slavery at best, and possible mass death at worst.

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The Incorporation Doctrine Broke the Constitutional System

I think centralizing power is always a net loss for liberty. So did the founding generation. This is why the framers of the Constitution emphatically rejected a proposal to give the federal government veto-power over state laws. It’s also why the first Congress rejected applying some provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states.

When I say this, it tends to confuse people because, in today’s political system, the federal government vetoes state laws all the time through federal courts. And virtually every time somebody perceives that a state government has violated their rights, they run straight to federal courts to stop the offending state action.

Despite my protests, the application of the federal Bill of Rights to the states has become a key feature of the American political system.

As I said, I believe this will ultimately prove to be a net loss for liberty. When you turn to federal courts to protect your liberty from state actions, you’re playing a game of Russian roulette with five bullets loaded into your six-shooter. Despite a few minor victories here and there, federal courts almost always come out with opinions that expand government power, not protect individual liberty. And these expansions of government power become the law of the land across the entire United States. In a decentralized system, bad state court decisions only impact the people in that one state.

The risk isn’t worth the reward.

And yet here we are.

Among friends of liberty, you will find a great deal of support for using federal courts to stop states from violating individual rights. Despite my misgivings, I can understand the impulse. When we see state governments trampling rights, we want somebody to step in. The feds are more than happy to step. Why not take advantage of their service. But if you’re going to support the enforcement of the federal Bill of Rights on state and local governments, you need to understand where this purported power comes from and its implications on the American constitutional system.

The BIll of Rights Was Never Intended to Apply to State or Local Governments

The application of the Bill of Rights to state and local governments was not a feature of the original constitution. It came about through a series of federal court cases based on the 14th Amendment.

A lot of people believe that the Bill of Rights always applied to state governments. This is simply not true. The Bill of Rights was never intended to bind the actions of state governments.

The preamble to the Bill of Rights makes its purpose absolutely clear: to further restrict federal government power.

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 best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. [Emphasis added]

The words “its powers” clearly refer back to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was intended to “prevent misconstruction or abuse” of the Constitution’s powers as exercised through “the government” – the federal government. Notice the word “government” is not plural.

The preamble of the Bill of Rights makes no mention of limiting the power of state governments. The state ratifying conventions had no intention of restricting their state’s own powers. They already had state constitutions to do that job.

This is an undebatable fact  — no founding-era evidence exists that Congress or the state ratifiers intended for the protections included in the Bill of Rights to bind state governments. None.

Doing so would have essentially created a federal veto over state laws. As I’ve already said, this idea was rejected during the framing of the Constitution. It would have allowed for a massive expansion of central government authority – the exact opposite of the stated purpose of including a bill of rights.

The Incorporation Doctrine

The federal courts enforce the Bill of Rights on the states today through a legal framework known as the incorporation doctrine.

In a nutshell, the Supreme Court invented the incorporation doctrine through the 14th Amendment. It relies on a dubious legal principle called “substantive due process,” invented out of thin air by the court more than 50 years after the ratification of the amendment.

There is some basis to argue that the 14th Amendment was intended to incorporate the Bill of Rights onto the states. The operative clause of the amendment reads, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” The question is: are the provisions of the Bill of Rights included in the 14th Amendment’s “privileges and immunities?”

In my educated opinion, the answer is no. The 14th Amendment was intended to constitutionalize the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This was asserted over and over again both in the congressional debates and as supporters presented the amendment to the states. The civil rights act specifically enumerates the privileges and immunities that were to be protected. (The privileges and immunities listed in the Supreme Court case Corfield v Coryell were also mentioned in debates.) They include the right to enter into contracts, own property, inherit property, travel freely and access to the courts. The act made no mention of the Bill of Rights.

In fact, in the 1873 Slaughterhouse case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the idea that the privileges and immunities clause in the 14th Amendment applied the Bill of Rights to the states.

Was it the purpose of the fourteenth amendment, by the simple declaration that no State should make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, to transfer the security and protection of all the civil rights which we have mentioned, from the States to the Federal government? And where it is declared that Congress Shall have the power to enforce that article, was it intended to bring within the power of Congress the entire domain of civil rights heretofore belonging exclusively to the States?

We are convinced that no such results were intended by the Congress which proposed these amendments, nor by the legislatures of the States which ratified them.

This is why the Court later made up the concept of “substantive due process” to justify incorporation. The previous Court had closed the door on basing it on the more logical privileges and immunities clause.

I admit there exists some evidence that undermines my view on incorporation through the privileges and immunities clause. But the concept of substantive due process is every bit a product of “living breathing” constitutional interpretation as any progressive Court opinion conjured up during the New Deal.

Regardless, incorporation is now the law of the land and is ensconced in the legal system. You can try to use the federal courts to protect your rights from state governments if you choose. But you should at least understand how the idea evolved and what it has done to the constitutional system.

Incorporation Breaks the Original Constitutional System

The founding generation warned us over and over again about consolidating the states into a single national government. It was the greatest fear voiced by opponents of the Constitution during ratification and was a prime reason for the inclusion of the Bill of Rights.

During the Massachusetts ratifying convention, delegate Fisher Ames asserted that “a consolidation of the States would subvert the new Constitution.” And during the Virginia ratifying convention, Patrick Henry warned, “Consolidation must end in the destruction of our liberties.”

“When he asks my opinion of consolidation, of one power to reign over America with a strong hand, I will tell him I am persuaded of the rectitude of my honorable friend’s opinion, (Mr. Mason,) that one government cannot reign over so extensive a country as this is, without absolute despotism. Compared to such a consolidation, small confederacies are little evils; though they ought to be recurred to but in case of necessity.”

Supporters of the Constitution didn’t defend consolidation. They acknowledged its danger and swore it would never happen. In Federalist #32, Alexander Hamilton wrote:

“An entire consolidation of the States into one complete national sovereignty would imply an entire subordination of the parts; and whatever powers might remain in them, would be altogether dependent on the general will. But the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, exclusively delegated to the United States.”

The incorporation doctrine did what Hamilton promised wouldn’t happen. It effectively obliterated state sovereignty and consolidated the state into a single national government.

Whether legitimate or not, the incorporation doctrine made real the founders’ worst fears. Using federal courts to police the states and enforce the Bill of Rights fractured the original constitutional structure, broke the Tenth Amendment and effectively consolidated the states to be ruled by an oligarchy of federal judges.

You can’t simultaneously support incorporation and the original Constitution. They are hopelessly at odds.

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Sen. Rick Scott: Bill of Rights allows Americans to worship at church service, no matter what gov’t leaders say

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) believes that Americans have the right to worship at a church service, no matter what any government leaders say. Scott appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, and said he “trusts the American public to make good decisions” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It doesn’t matter what a governor says or president or local leaders,” Scott told host Dana Bash. “We have the Bill of Rights. We have a right to worship. We have a right to get together, and respect — and we need to respect people’s religions.”

“Do I believe that government should be telling us what to do? Do I believe government can tell us we don’t have a right to worship? I don’t believe they can,” Scott continued. “I have the Bill of Rights, I have the right to worship at a church service if I want to do it. I don’t believe they have a right to stop me.”

“All Floridians, all Americans, have a Bill of Rights, and we have a right to worship if they want to,” Scott added. “I believe people are going to do it safely.”

“This is America, we have rights in the country,” Scott said. “We have the Bill of Rights. Follow it.”

On Friday, President Donald Trump declared religious services to be essential and demanded states to allow people to worship.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now,” Trump said. “For this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less.”

Bash asked the Florida senator on his position about people wearing face masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Do I believe people ought to wear masks? Yep, I do believe people ought to wear masks. Do I believe people ought to social distance? Yep, I believe people ought to social distance,” Scott responded. “Do we need the president, the governors, and all the local officials to tell us how to lead our lives every day? No. We’ll figure this out. We want to keep our families safe. We want to keep our friends safe. And we’re going to do this in a safe manner.”

“I trust the American public,” Scott said. “I think they’re gonna make good decisions.”

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The Incorporation Doctrine and the Bill of Rights

In a previous Constitution 101 post, I established that the Bill of Rights was not originally intended to apply to the states.

But lawyers and other supporters of federal courts policing rights at the state and local level will point to the 14th Amendment. They argue that it “incorporates” the Bill of Rights and applies it to state governments.

It wasn’t until 1925, some 57 years after ratification, that the Supreme Court mystically found the concept of incorporation in the 14th Amendment. In the 1873 Slaughterhouse case, the Court rejected the idea that the privileges and immunities clause in the 14th Amendment applied the Bill of Rights to the states.

Was it the purpose of the fourteenth amendment, by the simple declaration that no State should make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, to transfer the security and protection of all the civil rights which we have mentioned, from the States to the Federal government? And where it is declared that Congress Shall have the power to enforce that article, was it intended to bring within the power of Congress the entire domain of civil rights heretofore belonging exclusively to the States?

We are convinced that no such results were intended by the Congress which proposed these amendments, nor by the legislatures of the States which ratified them.

When we carefully examine the congressional debates and the arguments during ratification of the 14th, it becomes pretty clear the Court was correct in its opinion.

The 14th Amendment was clearly intended to constitutionalize the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This was asserted over and over again both in the congressional debates and as supporters presented the amendment to the states.

Sen. Lyman Trumbull (Ill.) guided the 14th through the Senate. In a speech in Chicago as the amendment was being debated, he “clearly and unhesitatingly declared Sec. 1 of the Amendment to ‘be a reiteration of the rights as set forth in the Civil Rights Bill.’” Martin Thayer (R-Pa.) declared, “It is but incorporating in the Constitution the principle of the civil rights bill which has lately become a law.” Indiana Senator Henry Smith Lane reaffirmed Trumbull’s views, as did several other congressmen addressing their states. West Virginia Rep. George Latham said, “The civil rights bill, which is now a law…covers exactly the same ground as the amendment.” Howard Jay Graham, an advocate of an abolitionist reading of the amendment said, “Virtually every speech in the debates on the amendment – Republican and Democrat alike – said or agreed that the amendment was designed to embody or incorporate the Civil Rights Act.”

Those who argue that the 14th Amendment was intended to apply to the states primarily rely on Rep. John Bingham, the principle framer.

But, as one historian put it, “Bingham is one who used ringing rhetoric as a substitute for rational analysis.” His statements surrounding the 14th bear this out.

On the one hand, he did indeed argue at times for an enforcement of the Bill of Rights on the states. On the other hand, he argued vehemently against inclusion of the phrase “civil rights and immunities” in the 1866 Civil Rights Act, saying it could be interpreted to strip rights from the states. He was afraid the bill would empower to federal government to force his state of Ohio to enfranchise blacks. As much as northern states wanted to protect the basic rights of freed slaves, they certainly did not want to give up their own sovereignty and power. Bingham himself conceded this point.

The care of the property, liberty and the life of the citizen, under the solemn sanction of an oath imposed by your Federal Constitution, is in the States, not in the Federal Government. I have sought to effect no change in that respect in the Constitution of the country.

While Bingham was an important figure in framing the Fourteenth, his opinion, even if you can flesh out exactly what that was, does not define the amendment’s meaning. A Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote, “Remarks of a particular proponent of the Amendment, no matter how influential, are not to be deemed part of the Amendment. What was submitted for ratification was his proposal, not his speech.” Bingham’s confused commentary aside, the intent of the Congress was clearly to constitutionalize the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and we must look to it to understand the scope of the amendment.

The civil rights act specifically enumerates the privileges and immunities that were to be protected. (The privileges and immunities listed in Corfield v Coryell were also mentioned in debates.) They include the right to enter into contracts, own property, inherit property, travel freely and access to the courts.

Sen. Jacob Howard was another figure responsible for bringing the Bill of Rights into the discussion of the Fourteenth, and his role actually carries more weight than Bingham’s. As the spokesperson for the joint committee that drafted the 14th Amendment, Howard introduced it to the full Senate in a speech. He mentioned the Bill of Rights in a single sentence after reading the privileges and immunities from Corfield saying “to this should be added the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments.”

But Howard was not supposed to be the one introducing the amendment in the first place. The committee chairman was sick and he filled in at the last minute. There is every indication that Howard “went off script.” It is also notable that he was one of the most radical Republicans in the Senate and not representative of the prevailing point of view. Howard’s notion was brushed aside as the debates went on. Even Howard later backed off, saying the goal was to legitimize the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It’s also important to note that no mention was made of applying the Bill of Rights to the states when the bill was introduced in the House.

Horace Flack (a supporter of incorporation) did a thorough analysis of “speeches concerning the popular discussion of the Fourteenth Amendment.” He wrote:

The general opinion held in the north…was that the amendment embodied the Civil Rights Act…There does not seem to have been any statement at all as to whether the first eight amendments were to be made applicable to the states or not.

In fact, had this been the understanding, the people of the north would have rejected the amendment.

The vast weight of evidence from both the congressional debates and the ratification debates supports a limited view of privileges and immunities as defined by the Civil Rights Act of 1866, not an incorporation of the Bill of Rights.

This is a complex issue that can hardly be covered in a single article. I highly recommend Raoul Berger’s Government by Judiciary. It is the seminal scholarly work on the 14th Amendment.

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Breaking the Tenth Amendment

A lot of people want to shoehorn the Constitution into their personal notions about liberty. But the Constitution isn’t a declaration of liberty.

Even so, the decentralized structure of government inherent in the Constitution as ratified does provide a framework conducive to liberty if maintained.

Under the Constitution, the people of the several states delegated power to the various branches of the general government. But more significantly, they clearly divided power between the sovereign states and the central authority. And as ratified, the Constitution delegated the federal government very little power.

As James Madison wrote in Federalist #45, the powers delegated to the federal government are “few and defined.” The powers remaining with the state governments are “numerous and indefinite.” Federal power was primarily reserved for “external objects” including war, peace, foreign affairs and foreign commerce.

“The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State,” he continued.

All governments threaten your liberty, that much should be obvious.

However, the beauty of the Constitution is that it diffuses this power. It spreads it out throughout the system. Yes, it leaves a great deal of power to state governments. And state governments can certainly abuse that power. Government power is inherently dangerous no matter who wields it, or where. But we have 50 states. This creates jurisdictional competition. If you don’t like the way California handles a particular issue, you can move to Texas. You can’t escape one-size-fits-all policies enforced by the federal government without moving to another country.

But well-meaning liberty lovers sometimes undermine this fundamental structure with misguided attempts to harness centralized power to impose liberty. They want a top-down approach where the largest, most powerful government in the history of the world “protects” people from much smaller local, or state governments. This not only backfires in the vast majority of cases; it shatters the entire constitutional framework these people lean on in the first place.

In an article published at LewRockwell.com, Dom Armentano makes this mistake when he asserts that the federal government has the power to stop state actions taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He wrote, “The States don’t have–and have never had–the legitimate power to regulate or prohibit religious freedom or freedom of assembly or ‘impair’ the obligation of contracts.’ Yet almost every Governor has done precisely this, i.e., they have restricted, regulated and prohibited activities that the Constitution itself says they have no right to restrict, regulate, or prohibit.”

Armentano correctly asserts that the states don’t have the legitimate power to violate freedoms of religion and assembly. But this has nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution. State constitutions prohibit states from exercising these powers. The federal Constitution has nothing to say about it. In fact, it leaves these issues to the states.

By making it a federal, constitutional issue, Armentano unwittingly destroys the integrity of the Constitution. He turns it into something it was never intended to be – a centralizing force for “liberty.”

Even if you think federal control over the states would increase liberty, the Constitution doesn’t delegate such powers to the federal government. The federal government cannot exercise powers not delegated to it. This is implicit in the structure of the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment makes this absolutely clear, clarifying that powers not delegated to the federal government remain with the states and the people.

Armentano makes another correct assertion when he writes, “It is true that the 10th Amendment does say that powers NOT granted under the Constitution to the Feds are, in fact, reserved to the States and to the People. BUT it also says, and this is a huge BUT, these so-called  ‘powers’ CANNOT include activities expressly ‘prohibited by it (the Constitution) to the States.”

But Armentano goes off the rails when he writes, “In short, the States cannot regulate or prohibit activities that are explicitly protected by the Constitution as ‘rights’, namely activities such as (Amendment 1) ‘the free exercise of religion’ and the “right of the people…to assemble…”

This sounds very libertarian, and even just logical, but it has no basis in the framing or ratification of the Constitution. In essence, it totally breaks the meaning and purpose of the Tenth Amendment

The problem with this statement is the Bill of Rights was never intended to bind the states.

Armentano’s argument falls apart on a plain reading of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…” This places no restrictions on state governments. In fact, there were government-established religions in several states at the time the Bill of Rights was ratified.

The Bill of Rights even has its own preamble that makes this all very clear.

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 best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. [Emphasis added]

The words “its powers” clearly refer back to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was intended to “prevent misconstruction or abuse” of the Constitution’s powers as exercised through “the government” – the federal government. Notice the word government is not plural.

The Bill of Rights makes no mention of state governments. The state ratifying conventions had no intention of restricting their state’s own powers. They already had state constitutions to do that job.

In fact, no founding-era evidence exists that Congress or the state ratifiers intended for the protections included in the Bill of Rights to bind state governments. None.

Doing so would have essentially created a federal veto over state laws, a massive expansion of central government authority – the exact opposite of the stated purpose of including a bill of rights. In fact, the framers of the Constitution rejected a provision in James Madison’s Virginia Plan that would have done just that – authorized the federal government to override any state law.

This would have obliterated the sovereignty of the people of the several states and that is the most fundamental concept underlying the U.S. political system.

Although each state entered a union with the other states as defined by the Constitution, it remains an independent political society, giving up only the powers delegated.

John Barron was the first person to formally try to impose liberty through the federal courts when he sued the city of Baltimore arguing that it violated his rights protected under the Fifth Amendment. Chief Justice John Marshall smacked down Barron’s claim. His opinion in Barron v. Baltimore perfectly explains the American political system and why the federal bill or rights can’t possibly bind state or local governments.

The constitution was ordained and established by the people of the United States for themselves, for their own government, and not for the government of the individual states. Each state established a constitution for itself, and in that constitution, provided such limitations and restrictions on the powers of its particular government, as its judgment dictated. The people of the United States framed such a government for the United States as they supposed best adapted to their situation and best calculated to promote their interests. The powers they conferred on this government were to be exercised by itself; and the limitations on power, if expressed in general terms, are naturally, and, we think, necessarily, applicable to the government created by the instrument. They are limitations of power granted in the instrument itself; not of distinct governments, framed by different persons and for different purposes.

If these propositions be correct, the fifth amendment must be understood as restraining the power of the general government, not as applicable to the states. In their several constitutions, they have imposed such restrictions on their respective governments, as their own wisdom suggested; such as they deemed most proper for themselves. It is a subject on which they judge exclusively, and with which others interfere no further than they are supposed to have a common interest.

The fact that Marshall had strong nationalist leanings and typically favored centralizing power makes his argument even more compelling.

Today, federal supremacists skirt the original intent of the Bill of Rights through a legal bastardization of the 14th Amendment known as the incorporation doctrine. This raises more complex historical and legal arguments, but the end result is the same: centralization of power at the federal level and the complete destruction of the constitutional foundation.

I understand the temptation to centralize authority and apply the federal Bill of Rights to the states. The problem is, we get the centralization, but we never get the liberty. This approach ignores the fact that if the federal government is going to protect your rights, it must define your rights.

We may read the various provisions in the Bill of Rights and see “liberty.” But the federal government doesn’t apply your conceptions of liberty to anything. In effect, you’re depending on five politically-connected federal employees with law degrees to protect your rights. This seldom ends well.

There is no doubt that state judges applying the limits imposed by state constitutions will often fail to protect liberty, too. But their bad decisions only apply to their state. In a centralized national system, bad judicial precedents apply to the entire country.

Armentano calls state actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic “the complete abandonment of the rule of law.” He’s not wrong. But using the federal courts to smack down wayward states abandons an even higher law and tears at the very fabric of the American political system.

Centralization of power is dangerous to liberty in the long run — even when liberty appears to be the short-term outcome.

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BILL OF RIGHTS Constitution Coronavirus Coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus Pandemic Coronavirus religion Coronavirus response COVID-19 COVID-19 Pandemic Fnc Fox News Governor phil murphy Intelwars New Jersey New jersey governor outbreak pandemic Phil murphy religious freedom social distancing State lockdown Tucker Tucker Carlson Tucker carlson phil murphy Tucker reacts Tucker tonight Video Youtube.com

Democratic governor admits to not considering the Bill of Rights before banning religious gatherings

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, admitted to Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he didn’t think about the Bill of Rights before issuing an order that has resulted in people being arrested for attending religious gatherings, according to the Daily Caller.

Coronavirus-related state lockdown orders include bans on gatherings of more than 10 people, making most normal religious gatherings impossible. In a heavily Jewish community in New Jersey earlier this month, 15 people were charged for attending an Orthodox Jewish funeral.

Carlson asked Murphy about the potential constitutional considerations of an executive order that hinders religious expression. Murphy, apparently, hadn’t thought about it.

“Now, the Bill of Rights, as you well know, protects Americans’ right, enshrines their right to practice their religion as they see fit and to congregate together, to assemble peacefully,” Carlson said. “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order? How do you have the power to do that?”

“That’s above my pay grade, Tucker,” Murphy responded. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. We went to all — first of all, we looked at the data and the science …”

“I can tell,” Carlson said.

As Murphy continued to return to the talking points about the need for social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, Carlson acknowledged the public health considerations but continued to press Murphy on the specific question of where he, an elected official, drew the authority to order something that directly contradicts the Bill of Rights by telling people where and how they can worship.

Murphy still didn’t answer that directly, but said he had spoken to religious leaders in the state and that his policies were supported.

“Government’s not allowed to tell people how to worship,” Carlson said.


NJ governor ignores Bill of Rights in exclusive Tucker interview

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BILL OF RIGHTS Bill of Rights Day Constitution Founding Principles History Intelwars Today in History

Bill of Rights Ratified: Power Without Restraint is Tyranny

On December 15th each year, you’re likely to hear politicians and pundits using beautiful prose to “celebrate” Bill of Rights Day.

At best, unfortunately, it’s just one day for most of them to grandstand even as they work to undermine the Constitution and your liberty the rest of the year.

For us, Bill of Rights Day is every single day of the year.

On June 8, 1789, James Madison addressed the House of Representatives and introduced a proposed Bill of Rights to the Constitution. 

It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution [the Ninth Amendment].

A record of the debates in the House of Representatives from June 8 to Sept, 24 related to the proposed amendments to the Constitution can be located in the Annals of Congress.*

The original joint resolution proposing the Bill of Rights is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. And while most people are familiar with the preamble to the Constitution, they don’t realize that the Bill of Rights also has a preamble:

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 best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

October 2, 1789, President George Washington sent copies of the proposed Bill of Rights to the states for them to consider and debate, and to decide whether or not to adopt the list of restrictions upon the power of the general government.

During the ratification debates, nobody thought that the Bill of Rights was a grant of rights to the people. They didn’t refer to their right to keep and bear arms as a “2nd Amendment right,” or their right to free speech as a “1st Amendment right.”

And no one thought those rights would cease to exist without the approval of the Bill of Rights. In fact, it was widely understood that our rights preceded government all along. 

Theophilus Parsons may have summed it up best during debates over the Constitution in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention when he said, “No power was given to Congress to infringe on any one of the natural rights of the people.”

Today, many people get this wrong. Without ever reading the preamble to the Bill of Rights, it’s unlikely they’ll ever understand its original purpose.

In his book The Original Constitution, Rob Natelson explains:

“Thus, some of the proposed amendments were “declaratory…clauses” (that is, rules of construction) designed to “prevent misconstruction” of the Constitution by explaining how the instrument should be interpreted. The rest were “restrictive clauses” to prevent “abuse” of federal powers by creating external limitations curtailing those powers.” [emphasis added]

The people of the several states debated and eventually approved 10 of the 12 proposals sent to them for consideration. 

Amending the Constitution with its ratification on Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights tells the federal government a number of things that it is not allowed to do, including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Make no law abridging freedom of speech, press, religion, or assembly.
  2. Do not infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.
  3. Do not “quarter” soldiers in peacetime.
  4. Do not conduct unreasonable searches and seizures, and don’t issue warrants without probable cause.
  5. Do not force people to testify against themselves.
  6. Do not deny a speedy trial to a person accused of a crime.
  7. Do not deny trial by jury to an accused person..
  8. Do not impose excessive bail.
  9. Don’t assume that this is an exhaustive list of rights.  Just because some are listed doesn’t mean the people don’t have others.
  10. Don’t exercise any power not delegated in this Constitution.

In the end, the Bill of Rights was always about limiting government power, not expanding it.

As Samuel Adams once put it, “A power without any restraint is tyranny.”

*The Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, on the following dates in 1789:

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God and Guns Are None of Uncle Sam’s Business

The pro-gunners want Congress to do this. The anti-gunners what Congress to do that. Same for religious issues. Well, there are 102 major legislative bodies in the United States. Most of them have the authority to write laws about guns and religion. Can you name the two that don’t have that authority?

The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, …” The Second Amendment says, “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The Tenth Amendment clarifies that the states have these authorities. We forget that the Bill of Rights restricts the federal government but not our entire governmental system.

The Constitution left these two topics to the sovereign states. The First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (and hence also the first two of the Bill of Rights) say that the federal Congress has no legislative jurisdiction to write such laws.

We forget that this is not a democracy but a democratic republic. It is a kind of “united nations” with each nation retaining a great deal of sovereignty. However, we the people, have been prone to look to the federal government for legislation to fix any difficulty. These first two amendments were designed, along with the Tenth Amendment to assure that these issues, always delicate, would be handled by governments closer to the people than the federal government could ever be.

The States are Sovereign Nations

The United States is exactly that – united states or united nations. It is a cooperative designed to address issues which would otherwise breed conflict between those nation-states and to present a unified face to the world. That was the intent when the thirteen, independent nations came together to replace the Confederacy. There was so much concern that the new over-all government might get too powerful, that the Bill of Rights was needed in order to get the new constitution approved by those nation-states. The last statement in the Bill of Rights clarifies that all authority not granted by the new constitution was reserved to the states and the citizens.

It’s Our Own Fault

“Congress shall make no law …” seems clear enough. And so does “shall not be infringed”. So what’s the problem? We humans have a tendency to grab the biggest stick we can lay our hands on when we want something taken care of. That’s the feds, of course. In the process, we have put the legislative authority in the hands of people who live thousands of miles away. We also forget that laws don’t administer themselves, they are enforced by individual people, not by agencies or organizations. Like the patrolman in your rear-view mirror, when enforcement time arrives, it is one-on-one.

We are wise if we keep power as small and weak and as close to us as possible. Instead, we have reached for the big stick that we are all tired of dodging.

And if that weren’t enough, we have elected representatives who promise to “do something” about this or that without thinking about which governmental body would best handle the problem. It is high time to demand these people tell us what they will not do, and how they will help put our government back in the cage where it was first confined. We need to change the dialog and we can if we ask the right questions and demand the right behavior.

Want to Feel Like Your Opinion Matters?

Then you want to keep political power as close to home as possible. You want a renewal of the republic mindset. You want to vote for representatives who promise and know how to do that. This is not a foreign idea at all. The founders knew that land, water, freedom of conscience and self-defense were all necessary to the pursuit of happiness and they did their best to keep the federal government out of those matters. Property and water laws are all administered by the states. Think about who you deal with in matters of real estate, vehicles, roads, guns and water rights. Except for some federal laws, these are all administered by the states. That was on purpose. And those federal laws are probably unconstitutional when looked at closely.

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