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The many examples of the Bush Administration's Infringment of Civil Rights (known to real Conservatives as "the Government's Latest Assault on the Constitution) are now many and varied enough to forge a new political concensus in opposition, which can span the ideological spectrum.

There is reason to fear that unless we begin to think in broad, strategic terms about a new bulwark against the unconstrained excesses of the State, future leaders, possessed of [even] less patriotism, integrity, or restraint than the current Administration may employ the 9/11 powers assumed by the executive in more self-serving, politically predjudicial ways than has the Bush/Cheney regime.

After 218 years, the constraints on government imposed by the Bill of Rights are every bit as relevant, valid, and important today as when they were adopted. The problem is that our 21st Century legal machinery is more complex, and those who exercise the levers of power often become confused.  Its time to buttress that original wall with a stronger and more specific layer of protection, suited to modern jurisprudence. It is time that we consider criminal and civl penalties for violating the Bill of Rights...

If the Executive Orders and Attorneys General opinions of the Bush Administration on the arrest and detention of American citizens relative to Habeas corpus, warrantless search, seizure and domestic surveillance, the use of torture, etc. had been issued by a Democratic Administration in time of Peace, the political Right would have taken to the streets in rebellion.

Since the defeat of Saddam Hussein's government, and the Administration's declaration of "Mission Accomplished" on May 1st, 2003, the United States has been (at least, theoretically) "at peace" - the carnage of the ensuing occupation to the present day notwithstanding.  It behooves those less progressive souls among us to ponder the question, "What, apart from the goodwill of the officials involved, protects any citizen against the use of the same totalitarian legal doctrines, against us?"

EXAMPLE:  For authorities in Texas to storm a religious community based on a hoaxed phone tip from a known psychotic, and remove over 400 children from the the only home, parents, families, and friends they have ever known, one would think that the due process of law would be required. However, driven merely by our society's prevailing notions of betrothal, age of adulthood, and arranged marriage (which are not shared by the majority of human civilization), at the whim of unelected bureaucrats, state SWAT teams decimated a peaceful town, abbrogating the rights of its people to their religious liberties under the First Amendment.

One could cite a hundred more examples; a thousand - in all personal and social contexts, at every level of government, as well as those of the most pronounced variety made famous by the fanciful "War on Terror".  The point is that neither the Administration's treatment of its domestic "suspects", nor the behavior of other federal, state, and local bureaucracies toward the citizenry faces any practical sanction to actually enforce the provisions of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights.

Civil Liberties advocates on the "Left" and strict constructionist Constitutionalists on the "Right" have an obligation to join forces, to compel their adherents in Congress - of both parties - to pass legislation which imposes harsh and certain criminal penalties on any public officials or agents of the government at any level who deprive an American citizen of their Constitutional Rights.

Such a "Rights Enforcement Act" (or "REA") would also strip police, bureaucrats, regulators, and politicians of their 'sovereign immunity' from civil liability to their victims, enacting a specific civil Tort of "Tyranny" from which financial damages and other redress could be obtained from the officials personally, through litigation in a court of law.

A great hew and cry will be raised that such sanctions would immobilize the government; that it would paralyze law enforcement or the regulation of industry, that religious fanatics or rabble rousers would run amok and that [even more] ciminals would get off scott-free on minor 'technicalities'.  They will say that good people will be discouraged from public service by the threat of legal liability for their official actions.  Defenders of the Establishment will prcclaim that "this will set free, immunize, and empower those who would destroy our way of life..."  All of these arguments are true, to an extent, but, even if wholly true, together form an insufficient rationale on which to deny the need for an REA.

Those actions of law enforcement or the regulatory bureaucracy which depend upon a constitutional violation for their veracity, must of necessity be considered overreaching in their effort.  That people may choose to live their lives in accordence with religions outside the local traditional social mainsrream is a given.  It was a freedom given to us by the founding fathers, in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Yes, its a "given"; and one we must cherish and be more protective of in the future.  Imprudent excesses of "Free Speech by some will doubtless offend the sensibilities of many, just as pornography and radical politics have always done.  While "suspects" may be arrested in fewer numbers for common offences, actual conviction rates can be expected to rise as poorly conceived prosecutions are weeded out by the sanction process, enabling greater law enforcement resources to be devoted to serious and repeat offenders.

That 'good people' will be dissuaded from public service is a fatuous argument, as those with no compunction to violate civil rights have no business wielding public authority, at any level.  Obviously, professional liability insurance pools and "hold harmless" employer indemnification can protect the personal assets of those errantly found guilty or who have innocently commited 'technical' transgressions of the Bill of Rights, and become civilly liable under the REA.  The difference between an agency shielded by sovereign immunity and one which indemnifies its agents pursuant to an employment contract is that in the latter case, the agency will bear the financial liability for the actions of its personnel.  In time, this should chasten even the most officious and authoritarian of the zealous bureaucrats - and police officers, for that matter.

The Establishment's response to 9/11, it can be shown, has already itself threatened to "destroy our way of life".  The 'American way-of-life' includes a presumption of safety in ones home and person from unreasonable searches and seizures, the presumption of innocence, and to the security of one's life, liberty, and property, except by the due process of law.  It is difficult to fathom any aspect of the American character that is more fundamental than these presumptions.  There is, in fact, no "American way of life" without them.

In allowing white cops in the ghetto, NSA telecom engineers at the phone company's central office switchgear, OSHA/EPA compliance inspectors in the factory, Immigration & Customs Agents on the farm, or the IRS on your doorstep to consider any part of their responsibility to be above adherence to the Constitution's Bill of Rights, we neglect our obligation to reasonably withhold "the consent of the governed", when it is employed to justify forms of state coercion which that document expressly prohibits.

Technology today enables governments to search our private affairs and communications in ways scarcely imagined two centuries ago. Our privacy is now subject to state invasion discretely, even without our knowledge, much less consent or the due process of a court order.  Federal "Library Letters" make a mockery of our free society; we see American citizens, arrested without warrant and held without trial. A "police state" is ratcheted up incrementally, notch by notch, so slowly that few notice, and most passively accept it as merely the price of the modern age.

However, these subtle "tweaks" in our laws and tradition that we've come to accept all move inexorably in one direction.  Individually, they push the boundaries of civil liberties benignly and ever-so-slightly, but, if ever invoked comprehensively, with the malevolence of tyrants common in history, these lapses in our discretion would rend asunder the very fabric of everyday life in the United States. Our "way of life" will have been sacrificed for our greeds and conveniences of the moment.

Drive your respresentatives to enact a broad and powerful Rights Enforcement Law - to superscede all other provisions of the U.S. Code - at the earliest opportunity.  Irrespective of your philosophy ("Liberal" or "Conservative") or party affiliation, you know that its the right thing to do.  You know that the times have made it necessary.  You know that it is essential to prserving the American way of life for future generations.  Make it an Issue.  Make it HAPPEN.  

Originally posted to Press to Digitate on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bill of Rights? We don't have one of those... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Lujane, drblack

    any more.

  •  I'd go even further (8+ / 0-)

    and say we need to add to the bill of rights

    right to an education
    right to healthcare
    right to shelter
    right to sustinence
    right to party

    (-9.12,-7.33) DailyKos and MyDD -- The honeymoon may be over, but I still think we should grow old together.

    by Mikeguyver on Mon May 26, 2008 at 04:40:46 PM PDT

    •  How about (8+ / 0-)

      Right to privacy?

      I think this is one of the biggest deficits in the Constitution. We do not have an explicitly-stated right to privacy. We need one.

      I think that should be the next big Constitutional amendment, frankly. Who's with me?

      The truth shall make you free - but first it shall piss you off.

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Mon May 26, 2008 at 05:15:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i knew i was forgetting one nt (0+ / 0-)

        (-9.12,-7.33) DailyKos and MyDD -- The honeymoon may be over, but I still think we should grow old together.

        by Mikeguyver on Mon May 26, 2008 at 05:17:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thats what the protection against (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slippytoad, Simplify, drblack

        unreasonable, warrantless seearches is all about.

        A "search" is any invasion of your privacy, to discover or disclose anything of yours, or anything about you, that is otherwise yours alone.  In surrendering our search protections to DHS and FISA, we scatter our existing Right to Privacy to the four winds.

        The suggested Rights Enforcement Act requires no Constitutional Amendment, merely the passage of a law by the Congress - in which Democrats (ostensibly, Civil Liberties advocates) hold a significant majority.

        It would be fun to dare President Bush to veto such a measure...

      •  It's only illiterates like Scalia (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drblack

        Who can't read the 4th Amendment who think so.  As for me, the right to privacy is tattooed across all of the Constitution.

        Certainly if you suddenly turned the equation on its head and started asking right-wing nutjobs like Grover Norquist if HE had a right to privacy, he'd yell and scream and act like fire ants were climbing up his sphincter if you told him he was going to have his phone lines tapped and his emails read and his personal mail screened by FBI agents.

        It's only liberals who don't have a right to privacy, don't you know?

        Warned you we tried. Listen you did not. Now screwed we all are.

        by slippytoad on Mon May 26, 2008 at 05:41:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My whole point is that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Killer of Sacred Cows, drblack

          You and Grover have more in common than you think. Conservative 'constitutionalists' and Liberal 'civil libertarians' both have the same stake in this issue.  Unless those on both wings who cherish Liberty can bury their differences - and soon - there will be no Right to Privacy, or anything else. These arent Democratic issues or Republican issues, they are American issues. McCain represents a continuation of the status quo - approval of these new, twisted interpretations of the Presidential perrogative.  Many conservatives do NOT support this.  A new coalition, to defend our Consititional Rights & Liberties is needed, before its too late.

          •  There is no burying of the hatchet (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bronx59, drblack

            Between ones such as Grover Norquist and myself.  Grover is a criminal who finds the rule of law a gross inconvenience.  He's an elitist who thinks that having a lot of money is his right and that he is entitled to do whatever the fuck he wants as a consequence.

            And Scalia is a legal whore who does whatever gets him approval from those who pimp him.

            The difference between myself and them is simply that I would like the law to apply to us all equally, and they would like for me to just shut the fuck up and stop inconveniencing their monstrous selfishness.

            FUCK THEM.

            Warned you we tried. Listen you did not. Now screwed we all are.

            by slippytoad on Mon May 26, 2008 at 06:12:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Amen, brother (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rylly, TheOpinionGuy

            I really wish this was a bipartisan issue, and to a certain extent it can be.

            The problem is that too many conservatives identify with the current administration despite it's lawlessness and don't realize how repulsed they'd be if a Democrat had perpetrated the same abuses.

            I'd love to see something like this enacted, but I fear that not only is a complete rout of current Republican officeholders needed, but the rank-and-file conservative voters need to become disgusted enough to see past party affiliation and realize how close to the Rubicon our country now sits.

    •  And the right to vote? n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  The UN Declaration of Human Rights has these. (0+ / 0-)

      They are called "aspirational rights" in most cases, however, because a court is rarely in a good position to remedy violations of these rights, and a a result, rarely enforces them.

      Some states have a right to an education, and while a number of courts have found violations of the right and ordered government to take action to remedy the violations, getting those orders enforced turns out to be difficult or impossible.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

      by ohwilleke on Wed May 28, 2008 at 11:04:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It would take a generation ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, Lujane

    to pass legislation like this, I fear.  The current political climate is strongly favors fetishistic patriotism (see the flag pin debate as evidence of this).  

    Of course, the sooner we get started ...

  •  100% Freedom (4+ / 0-)

    requires that every person have absolute Freedom to put in or take out of themselves what ever they so choose.
      This is a great topic. The most important topic ,because without Freedom the USA ceases to be.  It is just any other place without its most important founding principle ,FREEDOM.
     It is sad that the USA has never lived up to its Constitution and the Right to Life,Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
      A repeal of Drug Prohibition,and complete freedom of sexuality and marriage for consenting adults are two obvious changes that must be made for the USA to be a Free country.
      The Founding fathers put great ideas and ideals on paper but they have yet to be lived up to ...yet.
      Minorities and women and landless people were at first denied many Freedoms and now those who choose to use certain substances and those who choose to be intimate with the same sex are denied Freedom.
      These are just a couple of changes . I hope that someday soon we will truly be a Free Country.
      The Right to Life,Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was meant to give a person 100% Freedom concerning themselves, their body ,mind and spirit.

     You are so correct that we need to make some changes to the structure of governmnet to even restore the level of Freedom we had before Bush destroyed it.
      The Justice Department must be made separate from the Executive branch and there needs to be strong and enforceable laws preventing so much secrecy and spying by the governmnet.Secrecy in governmnet is the first step to tyranny.
      You are so right about stronger laws concerning police and public officials breaking the law.  They get away with so much more and yet the penalties should be much more severe for them and the bar for law breaking much lower.
       The political party that makes Freedom a pillar of its platform will dominate politics for decades to come.

    •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

      The right pursue happiness is nowhere guaranteed in the Constitution. Nor, in fact, is there any mention of equal opportunity in the Constitution.

      That said, these would be great things to add!

      Argue for your limitations and you own them - bach

      by dRefractor on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:04:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  p.s., as for secrecy, (0+ / 0-)

      I'm in a distinct minority that believes that NO secretes are good, no matter how intentioned. It is blatant hypocrisy to demand government transparency while at the same time being afraid of our own when our behavior has a direct impact on society.

      And why are we afraid? Some are afraid because they aren't following the law because they object to certain aspects of it (all the way from GW to pot smokers). Others because they are being dishonest or irresponsible in other aspects of their private lives and don't want others to know (tax cheats, spouse beaters). Still others are simply afraid of the government and its powers in general (the righteously paranoid)...

      The right to pursue happiness balanced with responsibility written directly in to the Constitution could allay most people's fears of transparency, but for now, most fears are justified.

      Argue for your limitations and you own them - bach

      by dRefractor on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:22:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Drug war (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking, rylly, dRefractor

    The War on Drugs has been likened to a battering ram against our civil liberties.  Don't forget that law enforcement already has a great deal of power - power you might not want them to have, if you think about it too much.

    Examples include the proliferation of no-knock warrants, increased reliance on informants (most of whom are just trying to save their own skins), unjust confiscation of property, drug dogs and strip-searches in schools, and ubiquitous random urine testing.

    ------------------

    Time to end the drug war.

    by Sam from Ithaca on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:09:59 PM PDT

  •  Respondant Superior (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YellerDog

    It's been a few years since I was fluent in these issues, but the concept that keeps bureaucrats from being sued personally for their misdeeds is "Respondant Superior" or the management will be held responsible.

    Sovereign immunity is not a defense that I've every heard of in an American court.  There are certainly immunities for mistakes and those immunities are carries WAY too far.

    For example, suppose a zoning administrator makes a finding of fact that is later proven to be wrong.  Is he (should he) be held personally liable for the damages?

    Currently, under the law, he is not held liable and the entity (city or county) would probably be immune from liability unless it was shown that the misdeed was done with malice or with gross disregard for the law.  In other words, its hard as hell.

    I agree that the immunities held by public entities are way too strong, but I'm not sure that holding employees personally liable is the right answer.  If I got screwed by government, I would just want justice.  I would not care who pays.

    •  Sovereign Immunity (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking, Spoc42, rylly

      I'm not a lawyer but we used to have this thing called Civics Class in which we learned that at it birth the people of these United States reserved the position of the sovereign to themselves.  The government is not the sovereign (at least in theory) that would be "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union..."  So it would be rather difficult for the American Government to claim sovereign immunity.  Although give Bush or his likes a few more years.  Who knows what will happen.  

      It really is too bad that people are no longer taught that "We" are the sovereign and all that it implies.  They don't get because they don't know.  

      •  Its still known as 'sovereign immunity' (0+ / 0-)

        when a government agent f*cks up your business, your family, your home, or your life; they have no, repeat NO responsibility for their actions.  You cannot sue them, and they are not subject to prosecution, so long as they were acting in their "official capacity".

        Its dangerous, and has allowing all kinds of deranged people to commit mayhem, without recourse by the public.  The proposed REA would re-balance that equation.

        •  Also not true. (0+ / 0-)

          There is a hurdle, but it can be overcome.  To prevail, one must show either negligence in an area where immunity is waived (e.g., a car accident or certain kinds of medical malpractice), or an intentional violation of a well established constitutional right by a specific person.

          Also, even in the case of someone who is immune from suits for money damages, or in the case of a suit involving a not well established constitutional right, it is often possible to obtain prospective injunctive relief (i.e. a consent decree ordering lawful behavior going forward).

          Generally speaking, a government official acting in official capacity will usually have to have a warrant, or probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and an urgent situation, to take action in the wider world against a random person.

          The only officials who typically enjoy absolute immunity from civil liability are prosecutors and judges acting in connection with the court process.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

          by ohwilleke on Wed May 28, 2008 at 11:00:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, try all that in Court, (0+ / 0-)

            and see how it works for you...

            In the real world, judges almost never award damages against government entities or agents.  Nypothetically it could happen, but there are precious few such cases on record, compared to the number of complaints that have been brought.  Most victims of government never file a suit, because of the hassle and intimidation, and because their lawyers will tell them they have very little hope of prevailing, whatever the merits.  Indeed, very few lawyers will actually take a case against a sovereign defendant (or employee thereof).

            In most states, the sovereign immunity statutes are almost absolute.  One usually has to prove malicious intent, often even gross negligence is insufficient.

            A Rights Enforcement Act would force cops and bureaucrats alike to 'sit up and take notice', and force their governing authorities - Congress, Legislatures, Boards, Commissions, etc., to oversee their actions in a more serious and circumspect manner.

    •  Basically wrong. (0+ / 0-)

      There is no respondiat superior in civil rights cases.  Liability exists only in cases of intentional violations of civil rights under color of law.  Since it is hard to prove the management or entities had a policy of breaking the law, they are rarely liable.

      Sovereign immunity is the general rule.  The two main exceptions are typically civil rights violations (for which individuals have qualified immunity, having liability only for violations of "well established" civil rights), and an enumerated list of waivers of liability (e.g. for negligence in car accidents by domestic governmental employees).

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

      by ohwilleke on Wed May 28, 2008 at 10:55:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why do public entities buy insurance? (0+ / 0-)

        Insurance is very expensive if available at all for public entities.  Why?  If they cannot be sued why do they even need insurance?  If they are never sued why would insurance companies be reluctant to insure them?

        (I have worked in this area and know how difficult it is for cities, counties and special districts.  Get into state and federal stuff--I'm outta my league).

  •  I disagree with the premise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spoc42, TheOpinionGuy

    We do not need any further statute. A president who willfully overthrows the rule of law is a treasonous, anti-republican president.

    Bush has participated in numerous acts of treason. Even if he were acquitted of all of them, he still faces the death penalty for his numerous war crimes.

    We have plenty of laws with penalties for attacking our sovereignty and attempting to overthrow our republic. The frustration with Bush and his cronies has been that they may unleash Armageddon to distract the population from prosecuting them.

    Their time grows short.

  •  Oh, how I long for a summary, an abstract... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking

    and maybe even some talking points posted next to action links.......

    Apologies for not being up to reading essays tonight.

    Best Diary of the Year? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/2/23/03912/3990

    by LNK on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:18:26 AM PDT

  •  In Principle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spoc42

    I think it would be good to make violating these rights a crime, but I worry that our current system isn't up to the task of enforcing it. They aren't even up to the task of impeaching Bush for obvious, admitted federal crimes.

    I'm considering another alternative, which is what I call civil tribunals. The theory of this is simple. The people are sovereign and can set up their own system of government, regardless of anything previously established. (We know this because they did this to establish the current United States, blowing away the confederacy in the process.) If a well-formed organization is set up that has the backing of the people (as represented by conventions at which they are represented), then that organization is empowered to bring those to trial who violate the Constitution. Such an organization can empanel a set of officials to process those who have violated any laws, including international laws of crimes against humanity, and would have full legal power to capture, try, convict and punish them.

    I don't suspect they'd get that far. The simple act of setting up and pursuing such a course would force the current governmental organs to start functioning again. Faced with the prospect of the people actually arresting and trying George Bush, my suspicion is that the courts would get him long before we did.

    My suggestion would be to set a time limit of, say, the end of 2009 to see some action. If high officials in this government aren't in the docks by then, it would be time to start gathering people to hold conventions. That's a slow, painful process, but if the people aren't willing to take on the responsibility for holding officials to the law, then they will have much more painful result. They will end up in a dictatorship with no recourse to any of the remaining freedoms we currently enjoy.

  •  Not front page worthy. (0+ / 0-)
    The best specific example of govt excess the author could come up with is the govt removing children from a religiuos compound being used as a front for organized child molestation? I could think of quite a few better examples.

    Furthermore, allowing monetary suits to be personally filed against govt employess is in fact a terrible idea that WILL drive good people out of govt.  How about criminal charges instead, brought by a professional prosecutor, to eliminate the profit motive of those filing suit?

    The premise of this diary is good, but the logic is flawed.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Wed May 28, 2008 at 03:47:23 AM PDT

    •  the Civil Liability is IN ADDITION to Criminal (0+ / 0-)

      prosecution, not in lieu of.

      All of your better examples of government excess are quite welcome, they just help make the same point.

      Any would-be bureaucrat or law enforcement officer that would be dissuaded by legal responsibility for their actions is not "good people" who should be employed in positions that carry the authority of the State.  We dont lament those who choose not to become doctors in fear of malpractice suits, nor those who elect not to assume the responsibility of becoming airline pilots.  State power is an awesome thing to wield; today, any miscreant or imbicile can assume it, without personal consequences, regardless of outcomes.

    •  The trouble with criminal prosecution (0+ / 0-)

      is that prosecutors often have a conflict of interest, and further that criminal prosecution is always discretionary.  No prosecutor is required to bring a case, even if there is ironclad proof that a crime was committed.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

      by ohwilleke on Wed May 28, 2008 at 11:02:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is room for improvement. (0+ / 0-)

    But, eliminating sovereign immunity entirely is probably not constitutionally possible in one act.  

    The 11th Amendment establishes sovereign immunity on a constitutional basis for state government and there are limits to the federal power to waive that immunity, states have to do it themselves.

    There are also instances where one wants to have, at least, qualified immunity.  For example, no judge, no matters how smart, resolves every case the right way.  This is why we have appeals, rather than civil liability, as a way to make the courts work properly.

    One could imagine qualifications on the immunity. For example, judges might be liable for harm caused by breaches of judicial ethics after there has been a finding of a violation by a state ethics board.  But we don't want every litigant to threaten to sue the judge.

    Some important improvements would be:

    (1) Respondiat superior in civil rights cases:  Government employers ought to have vicarious liability for wrong doing by their employees, so they have an incentive to discharge employees who are put in a position to commit civil rights violations who they suspect are commiting them.  Also, government employers should be liable for violation of civil rights, even if not well established, even though we may have qualified immunity for government employees for ill established rights.

    (2) Expansion of the takings doctrine:  Usually, civil rights liability exists only for an intentional violation of a well established constitutional right.  If you are accidentally and in good faith wrongfully imprisoned, or forced to go to a trial where you are acquitted, for example, too bad.  Instead, any deprivation of liberty or injury to person or property, even with due process, should be compensable unless it was justified by an established violation of the law, regardless of intent (which is often difficult or impossible to prove).  If you aren't proven guilty, you should have a right to compensation.

    (3) Limit the state secrets doctrine: At the very least, the state secrets doctrine should apply only in cases where the person bringing it agreed to keep the secret, and only when a security cleared neutral arbitrator is given authority to investigate the case and provide compensation.

    (4) Make clear, by statute, that habeas corpus rights apply to anyone under U.S. control, direct or indirect, anywhere in the world, and put cases not involving collateral attacks of criminal convictions on the fast track.

    (5) We need to enact one or more statutes that eliminate the argument that international human rights treaties do not provide a private right of action in U.S. courts by creating such an action.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

    by ohwilleke on Wed May 28, 2008 at 10:52:32 AM PDT

  •  Fascinating bullshit (0+ / 0-)

    There are two pertinent and salient things here.

    One: The constitution was written by rich old white men who in 2008 would be considered mentally ill, sociopathic, or at best, tragically misguided.  The constitution needs to be rewritten for the new century! It's actually not such a hot doc anyway, if you can manage to distance yourself from the nationalistic propaganda factor of it, look at it objectively and in its historical context. It was a cut and paste job, politically motivated, deeply flawed, not such a leap in evolution, even in its time.  

    Two:  The fact that so much of the informed commentary to this diary is starkly contradictory and almost laughably arcane is very clear evidence that our "justice" system is pathetic -- in fact it's an intellectual porn palace. Look at a very ambitious and successful lawyer.  What do you see? Commitment to public good? Progress? Altruism? Please.

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