Self-Serving Politicians Behind Legislation – Robert G Tronge
To protect our children, It's an emergency, if the passage of this law saves just one child then it has served its purpose. We have all heard these type of comments from our legislators. Friedrich August von Hayek once wisely said,
"'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded."
Such is the case with many of these 'protect the children' laws. But what if the passage of such a law were to actually put a child in jeopardy of being harassed, threatened, bullied, beaten up or possibly even leading to the child's suicide. Well this is exactly the sort of collateral damage that has occurred recently as a result of laws created by our nations legislatures. So who is responsible for this damage to the hundreds of thousands of children whose parents are affected by these laws. Ultimately it goes back to those legislators who ignored statistics and data showing that the people whom they targeted with these laws as a disfavored group do not have the high recidivism rates often used to justify the laws. Those legislators who for their own personal gain allowed the disfavored group to have unconstitutional laws passed against them. Laws that have taken away the Constitutionally protected rights of American citizens so that those legislators could look tough on crime, and thereby guaranteeing they remain in their positions of power.
Think about it, are these the type of legislators that you want representing you. Legislators who with total disregard for the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold in many cases without so much as even reading the bills that they pass into law, or even bothering to do research on the reasons behind the supposed need for the bills, instead choose to listen to industrial lobbying groups and pass the laws regardless of what sound research says. These lobby groups and the legislators they pander to care only about their own personal agendas and the all mighty dollar. They do not care if they destroy the individual rights of the citizens of the United States in the process. Shouldn't those lobbyists be held accountable for the false information that they provide to the law makers, shouldn't all participating in an unconstitutional law be held accountable for the damage that their discriminatory laws cause. It is not uncommon for the legislature to pass a law without knowing or caring if it is constitutional or not and simply saying that it will be decided in the courts afterward. Yet when it is found unconstitutional by the courts later on, the people that introduce and pass the bill will not take responsibility nor be held accountable for the direct or collateral damage to the citizens of the United States which their unconstitutional laws have effected.
The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights were formed to protect individual, and I repeat that word Individual rights, not to allow the government to control every facet of our lives. In fact, the framers of our Constitution found government control repugnant! With that in mind I would like to present you with a bit of extensive reading that best expresses just how repugnant our forefathers and high courts found governmental control, corruption, and the erosion of Constitutional rights and protections. Consider the following opinions of Alexander Hamilton in his, 'History of the Republic of the United States':
"The advocates of the bill pretend to appeal to the spirit of Whigism, while they endeavored to put in motion all the furious and dark passions of the human mind. The spirit of Whigism is generous, humane, beneficent, and just. These men inculcate revenge, cruelty, persecution, and perfidy. The spirit of whigism cherishes legal liberty, holds the rights of every individual sacred, condemns or punishes no man without regular trial, and conviction of some crime declared by antecedent laws, reprobates equally the punishment of the citizen by arbitrary acts of the legislature, as by the lawless combinations of unauthorized individuals ; while these men are the advocates for expelling a large number of their fellow-citizens unheard, untried ; or, if they cannot effect this, are for disfranchising them in the face of the constitution, without the judgment of their peers, and contrary to the law of the land.". . . . "Nothing is more common, than for a free people in times of heat and violence to gratify momentary passions by letting into the government principles and precedents which afterward prove fatal to themselves. Of this kind is the doctrine of disqualification, disfranchisement, and banishment by acts of the legislature. The dangerous consequences of this power are manifest. If the legislature can disfranchise any number of citizens at pleasure by general descriptions, it may soon confine all the votes to a small number of partisans, and establish an aristocracy or an oligarchy ; if it may banish at discretion all those whom particular circumstances render obnoxious, without hearing or trial, no man can be safe, nor know when he may be the innocent victim of a prevailing faction. The name of liberty applied to such a government, would be a mockery of common sense". . . . . "The people at large are sure to be the losers in the event, whenever they suffer a departure from the rules of general and equal justice, or from the true principles of universal liberty."... .
"There is a bigotry in polities as well as in religion, equally pernicious to both. The zealots of either description are ignorant of the advantage of a spirit of toleration. It is remarkable, though not extraordinary, that those characters throughout the States who have been principally instrumental in the Revolution are the most opposed to persecuting measures. Were it proper, I might trace the truth of these remarks from that character who has been THE FIRST in conspicuousness, through the several gradations of those, with very few exceptions, who either in the civil or military line, have borne a distinguished part in the war."
The landmark US Supreme Court case, Cummings versus the state of Missouri (71 U.S. 277), shares much of Alexander Hamilton's sentiment in regards to the deprivation of rights and further elaborates on this topic.
"The disabilities created by the Constitution of Missouri must be regarded as penalties — they constitute punishment. We do not agree with the counsel of Missouri that "to punish one is to deprive him of life, liberty, or property, and that to take from him anything less than these is no punishment at all." The learned counsel does not use these terms — life, liberty, and property — as comprehending every right known to the law. He does not include under liberty freedom from outrage on the feelings as well as restraints on the person. He does not include under property those estates which one may acquire in professions, though they are often the source of the highest emoluments and honors. The deprivation of any rights, civil or political, previously enjoyed may be punishment, the circumstances attending and the causes of the deprivation determining this fact. Disqualification from office many be punishment, as in cases of conviction upon impeachment. Disqualification from the pursuits of a lawful avocation, or from positions of trust, or from the privilege of appearing in the courts, or acting as an executor, administrator, or guardian, may also, and often has been, imposed as punishment. By statute 9 and 10
William III, chap. 32, if any person educated in or having made a profession of the Christian religion did, "by writing, printing, teaching, or advised speaking," deny the truth of the religion, or the divine authority of the Scriptures, he was for the first offence rendered incapably to hold any office or place of trust, and for the second he was rendered incapable of bringing any action, being guardian, executor, legatee, or purchaser of lands, besides being subjected to three years' imprisonment without bail.
By statute 1 George I, chap. 13, contempts against the King's title arising from refusing or neglecting to take certain prescribed oaths and yet acting in an office or place of trust for which they were required were punished by incapacity to hold any public office, to prosecute any suit, to be guardian or executor, to take any legacy or deed of gift, and to vote at any election for members of Parliament, and the offender was also subject to a forfeiture of five hundred pounds to anyone who would sue for the same.
"Some punishments," says Blackstone, "consist in exile or banishment, by abjuration of the realm or transportation; others in loss of liberty by perpetual or temporary imprisonment. Some extend to confiscation by forfeiture of lands or movables, or both, or of the profits of lands for life; others induce a disability of holding offices or employments, being heirs, executors, and the like."
In France, deprivation or suspension of civil rights, or of some of them, and among these of the right of voting, of eligibility to office, of taking part in family councils, of being guardian or trustee, of bearing arms, and of teaching or being employed in a school or seminary of learning, are punishments prescribed by her code.
The theory upon which our political institutions rest is, that all men have certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and that, in the pursuit of happiness, all avocations, all honors, all positions are alike open to everyone, and that in the protection of these rights all are equal before the law. Any deprivation or suspension of any of these rights for past conduct is punishment, and can be in no other wise defined.
Punishment not being, therefore, restricted, as contended by counsel, to the deprivation of life, liberty, or property, but also embracing deprivation or suspension of political or civil rights, and the disabilities prescribed by the provisions of the Missouri Constitution being in effect punishment, we proceed to consider whether there is any inhibition in the Constitution of the United States against their enforcement.
The counsel for Missouri closed his argument in this case by presenting a striking picture of the struggle for ascendency in that State during the recent Rebellion between the friends and the enemies of the Union, and of the fierce passions which that struggle aroused. It was in the midst of the struggle that the present constitution was framed, although it was not adopted by the people until the war had closed. It would have been strange, therefore, had it not exhibited in its provisions some traces of the excitement amidst which the convention held its deliberations.
It was against the excited action of the States, under such influences as these, that the framers of the Federal Constitution intended to guard. In Fletcher v. Peck, Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, speaking of such action, uses this language:
"Whatever respect might have been felt for the State sovereignties, it is not to be disguised that the framers of the Constitution viewed with some apprehension the violent acts which might grow out of the feelings of the moment, and that the people of the United States, in adopting that instrument, have manifested a determination to shield themselves and their property from the effects of those sudden and strong passions to which men are exposed. The restrictions on the legislative power of the States are obviously founded in this sentiment, and the Constitution of the United States contains what may be deemed a bill of rights for the people of each State. "
"No State shall pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts."
A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without a judicial trial.
If the punishment be less than death, the act is termed a bill of pains and penalties. Within the meaning of the Constitution, bills of attainder include bills of pains and penalties. In these cases, the legislative body, in addition to its legitimate functions, exercises the powers and office of judge; it assumes, in the language of the textbooks, judicial magistracy; it pronounces upon the guilt of the party without any of the forms or safeguards of trial; it determines the sufficiency of the proofs produced, whether conformable to the rules of evidence or otherwise; and it fixes the degree of punishment in accordance with its own nations of the enormity of the offence.
"Bills of this sort," says Mr. Justice Story,
"have been most usually passed in England in times of rebellion, or gross subserviency to the Crown, or of violent political excitements — periods in which all nations are most liable (as well the free as the enslaved) to forget their duties and to trample upon the rights and liberties of others."
These bills are generally directed against individuals by name, but they may be directed against a whole class. The bill against the Earl of Kildare and others, passed in the reign of Henry VIII, enacted that "all such persons which be or heretofore have been comforters, abettors, partakers, confederates, or adherents unto the said" late earl, and certain other parties, who were named, "in his or their false and traitorous acts and purposes, shall in likewise stand, and be attainted, adjudged, and convicted of high treason," and that, "the same attainder, judgment, and conviction against the said comforters, abettors, partakers, confederates, and adherents, shall be as strong and effectual in the law against them, and every of them, as though they and every of them had been specially, singularly, and particularly named by their proper names and surnames in the said act."
These bills may inflict punishment absolutely or may inflict it conditionally.
The bill against the Earl of Clarendon, passed in the reign of Charles the Second, enacted that the earl should suffer perpetual exile, and be forever banished from the realm; and that, if he returned, or was found in England, or in any other of the King's dominions, after the first of February, 1667, he should suffer the pains and penalties of treason, with the proviso, however, that if be surrendered himself before the said first day of February for trial, the penalties and disabilities declared should be void and of no effect.
"A British act of Parliament," to cite the language of the Supreme Court of Kentucky,
"might declare, that if certain individuals, or a class of individuals, failed to do a given act by a named day, they should be deemed to be, and treated as convicted felons or traitors. Such an act comes precisely within the definition of a bill of attainder, and the English courts would enforce it without indictment or trial by jury."
If the clauses of the second article of the Constitution of Missouri to which we have referred had in terms declared that Mr. Cummings was guilty, or should be held guilty, of having been in armed hostility to the United States, or of having entered that State to avoid being enrolled or drafted into the military service of the United States, and, therefore, should be deprived of the right to preach as a priest of the Catholic Church, or to teach in any institution of learning, there could be no question that the clauses would constitute a bill of attainder within the meaning of the Federal Constitution. If these clauses, instead of mentioning his name, had declared that all priests and clergymen within the State of Missouri were guilty of these acts, or should be held guilty of them, and hence be subjected to the like deprivation, the clauses would be equally open to objection. And further, if these clauses had declared that all such priests and clergymen should be so held guilty, and be thus deprived, provided they did not, by a day designated, do certain specified acts, they would be no less within the inhibition of the Federal Constitution.
In all these cases, there would be the legislative enactment creating the deprivation without any of the ordinary forms and guards provided for the security of the citizen in the administration of justice by the established tribunals.
The results which would follow from clauses of the character mentioned do follow from the clauses actually adopted. The difference between the last case supposed and the case actually presented is one of form only, and not of substance. The existing clauses presume the guilt of the priests and clergymen, and adjudge the deprivation of their right to preach or teach unless the presumption be first removed by their expurgatory oath — in other words, they assume the guilt and adjudge the punishment conditionally. The clauses supposed differ only in that they declare the guilt instead of assuming it. The deprivation is effected with equal certainty in the one case as it would be in the other, but not with equal directness. The purpose of the lawmaker in the case supposed would be openly avowed; in the case existing, it is only disguised. The legal result must be the same, for what cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows. Its inhibition was leveled at the thing, not the name. It intended that the rights of the citizen should be secure against deprivation for past conduct by legislative enactment, under any form, however disguised. If the inhibition can be evaded by the form of the enactment, its insertion in the fundamental law was a vain and futile proceeding."
Given that the legislatures are slowly eroding our individual freedoms that were promised to us by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If people don't start standing up for each others rights, including the rights of what many of you may consider a disfavored group, you must realize that there will be no one to save you when the ax swings the other way and you find yourself the target of the same sort of laws that a paranoid and power hungry government have used to silence & strip unpopular groups of their Constitutional rights.
Robert George Tronge, Robert G Tronge, Robert Tronge
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