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View Diary: SOPA Beaten Back, Now for NDAA Military Detention of Americans. To the State Houses. (15 comments)

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  •  It's not about "throwing out the case." (0+ / 0-)

    Who do you think is going to bring the criminal charge of treason against them? Which federal attorney files the charges? Ordinary citizens have as much power to file criminal charges for treason as they do for murder, theft, etc.—that is, none whatsoever. So who do you propose bring charges of treason against lawmakers and the President for supporting a law that you disagree with, but which has yet to even be defined by a legal authority as unconstitutional?

    (Further, even if/when it is defined as unconstitutional: If supporting a law that is later found to be unconstitutional is now considered treasonous, I don't think there's a single person in Congress's whole history who would, by that definition, not be a traitor. Are you honestly proposing that?)

    Furthermore, you seem to misunderstand what the Constitution does. The Constitution defines the powers and limitations of government; as such, it by itself is not binding on "the workplace," unless one works for the government itself (and even then, not completely). There is no valid interpretation of the Constitution in which its protections are understood to extend to the average person's employer; it is primarily for setting out the form of the federal government and the parameters by which the relationship between citizen, state, and federal government will be negotiated.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:46:03 PM PST

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    •  So, we need to find a federal prosecutor with (0+ / 0-)

      Libertarian leanings and courage.  That means the federal prosecutor from every state needs to be petitioned formally and very loudly in local press and we can sit back and see who shakes out.  Even if it fails, it is worth it by making the wishes of the people known on this matter.

      As for the civil liberties at work, the Constitution does not explicitly exempt employers either.  They are persons after all and have American citizenship after all and therefore should abide by the Constitution.  Just because employers have some kind of legal loophole as a sorry excuse does not make the intent of the Constitution less valid.
      Yes, I see that there is a distinction between the way things should be and the way they are.   I just want to point out that suspending Civil Liberties at work is unjust and invalid regardless.  

      •  Except that federal prosecutors... (0+ / 0-)

        ...aren't independent actors; they're agents of the state. (If they weren't, they wouldn't be able to bring criminal charges.) That means that any federal prosecutor wanting to bring criminal charges would have to empanel a grand jury and get them to bring an indictment on treason charges; at any point in that process, which wouldn't be a quick one by any means, their superiors could dismiss them and drop the whole thing, and no charges would even make it into the court system.

        As to your second point, the Constitution isn't about employers at all; the only organization charged with "abid[ing] by the Constitution" is the federal government (and, by extension through the 14th Amendment, state and local governments on at least part of the Bill of Rights).

        For an employer to "abide by the Constitution," the entirety of his or her obligation is to follow federal laws that have been passed by Congress according to their enumerated powers under the Constitution—and there is no federal law barring employers from letting employees go on the basis of employees' speech acts or from barring certain kinds of speech in the workplace, except under certain limited circumstances (i.e., religion, etc.).

        That's not a "legal loophole"; it's built into the design of the Constitution itself, which when it was passed wasn't even intended to be binding on state or local governments, to say nothing of private employers. The Constitution's entire function is to create the federal government and set out the parameters of the relationship between the federal government, state governments, and the people.

        Relationships among the people—which are essentially what private employment situations are—fall completely outside the scope or jurisdiction of the Constitution itself, except insofar as it empowers Congress to set out some of the parameters of those relationships under certain circumstances (i.e., interstate commerce, etc.).

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 11:48:34 AM PST

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