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December 15, 2010

Notable Cato review of modern Bill of Rights on their day

Tim Lynch has a this notable post (with losts and lots of links) at the Cato@Liberty blog under the simple heading "Bill of Rights Day."  The whole post is worth checking out, and here are parts that highlight some criminal justice stories:

Since today is Bill of Rights Day, it seems like an appropriate time to pause and consider the condition of the safeguards set forth in our fundamental legal charter.   Let’s consider each amendment in turn....

The Second Amendment says the people have the right “to keep and bear arms.” Government officials, however, insist that they can make it a crime to keep and bear arms....

The Fourth Amendment says the people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.  Government officials, however, insist that they can treat airline travelers like prison inmates by conducting virtual strip searches and crotch inspections....

The Sixth Amendment says that in criminal prosecutions, the person accused shall enjoy a speedy trial, a public trial, and an impartial jury trial. Government officials, however, insist that they can punish people who want to have a trial.  That is why 95% of the criminal cases never go to trial....

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments.  Government officials, however, insist that jailing people who try in ingest a life-saving drug is not cruel....

It’s a depressing snapshot, to be sure, but I submit that the Framers of the Constitution would not have been surprised by the relentless attempts by government to expand its sphere of control.  The Framers themselves would often refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers” or what we would describe as “paper tigers.” They nevertheless concluded that putting safeguards down on paper was better than having nothing at all. And lest we forget, that’s what millions of people around the world have — nothing at all.

December 15, 2010 at 05:13 PM | Permalink


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The Bill of Rights is Dead.
Long live the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Z | Dec 15, 2010 8:54:26 PM

Well Timothy Lynch is one of my very favorite people. Cato lends a badly needed perspective to the public discourse, and I'm always glad to see its' profile expanded. Thanks

Posted by: beth | Dec 16, 2010 12:35:22 AM

It comes as no surprise that Lynch and fellow Republitarians get themselves more worked up over government intrusions on corporations' free-speech rights than the fact that living, breathing citizens must seek permits and confine their protests to government-designated "free-speech zones."

Posted by: John K | Dec 16, 2010 10:30:45 AM

maybe so john. BUT it does pretty much sum up life here in the FORMER United States of America!

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 16, 2010 1:50:52 PM

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