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Happy Friday and welcome to the eleventh installment of the Dog’s ongoing series on the United States Constitution. This series is looking at the entire Constitution and talking about the seeming meaning of each section. Up to today we have been going over the Articles of the Constitution. If this is the first time you have joined this series, you can find the other ten installments at the following links:

Friday Constitutional 1 – Preamble, Article One, Sections 1 and 2
Friday Constitutional 2 – Article One, Sections 3 and 4
Friday Constitutional 3 – Article One, Sections 5 and 6
Friday Constitutional 4 – Article One; Sections 7 and 8
Friday Constitutional 5- Article One, Sections 9 And 10
Friday Constitutional 6 - Article Two, Section One, Clauses 1-3
Friday Constitutional 7 - Article Two, Sections 1-4
Friday Constitutional 8 - Article 3 Judicial Branch
Friday Constitutional 9 - Article 4 Relationships Between The States
Friday Constitutional 10 - Articles 5, 6 and 7

Today we are kicking off the Amendments of the Constitution. Most of the Dogs fellow citizens are going to be more familiar with the Amendments (at least the first ten known as the Bill of Rights) than they were with the Articles. This is going to make for more contentious comments. Please be as respectful as you can, and where available support your point of view with legal cases.

Amendment One:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is a lot of meat in this little paragraph so let’s break it down.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

For something so straight forward this section gets a lot written and said about it. To the Dog it says that Congress can not make any law that will in any way create preferred religion in this country, nor through its legislation prevent religion from being practiced. The problems come from how broadly one is willing to interpret these strictures.

Let’s take the "In God We Trust" that was placed on the currency (at the direction of Congress) in the fifties. It was done to differentiate us from the "Godless"Communists of the Soviet Union and China. It passes muster by being neutral in terms of not specifying which god we trust. But that assumes that there are no polytheists or atheists in the country. If one is to be strict about the Constitution this seems like a violation, though there has been a Supreme Court ruling that passing references to god are ceremonial and therefore acceptable.

Now there is also the flip side of this in the "or prohibiting free exercise thereof" section. This seems very wide open; though a common sense understanding would tell you that there has to be some limits. Obviously if one were a believer in Orthodox Mayan religion and wanted to sacrifice a willing human on the Solstice, in order to assure the return of the long days of summer, there would be a conflict with other laws. From reading the Constitution it is pretty clear that the framers did not want us to through common sense out the window in any direction. They were far more concerned with the a State sanctioned and run religion as were common in Europe being enforced than they were about prayers at the opening of Congress.

Now on to free speech:

or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

Again the Framers wanted to be sure that the Congress could not prevent the people of the new nation from speaking their minds about that government, either through voice or print. There are those that take this to mean that they are free to say whatever they like, whenever they like. This is not the case. You can not, in the classic example, yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, falsely, and use your free speech rights as a defense against the consequences. There is a level of responsibility that goes with all rights and to use them in a blatantly irresponsible manner is not allowed.

Also, this amendment only applies to the Government. You are free to say what you like to and about the Government, but that does not cover businesses. For example if you were to go into Starbucks and start to loudly declaim about the evils of torture, the manager is within his rights to demand that you leave. You could even be arrested for causing a disturbance. You would not be charged for the content of your tirade, but for the manner and place in which you said it.

Like wise the press is free (though lately is seems to fail more than it succeeds) to look into any action that the government takes and print anything that it can substantiate with evidence. It can also, in the opinion page, say any old thing that it wants, true or not, and the law can not limit this right.

or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This section is a follow on to the right of free speech. It guarantees that all citizens can assemble, peaceably, and can petition their Government. There are some limitations on this based on the size of the crowd you would like to assemble. You can, through size of the crowd, violate the peace of the community, which is why permits are often required for demonstrations. However, a lone citizen with a sign is always lawful. You might see these "Highway Bloggers" holding anti-reproductive rights signs over their heads on bridges on your commute.

Amendment Two:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Hoo Boy! This is an amendment that is one sentence long, yet you could float a battleship on the amount of ink that has been used to debate its actual meaning and intent. For most of the Dog’s life there has been an argument as whether the right is an individual one or a collective one. Those that favor control of guns focus on the first four words. At the time of the writing of the Constitution a standing army was not the norm. Militia made up of citizens was much more common. Guns were expensive and not quickly produced so, if you were going to use a militia to protect your State and Nation, you would want to have those weapons in the hands of the citizens that would answer that call.

Those that favor gun ownership focus on the last 14 words with particular focus on the last four "shall not be infringed" as saying that this is an absolute prohibition on Congress enacting laws that will do anything to prevent them from arming themselves to whatever level they want and can afford. To them the fact that a militia is mentioned is immaterial.

With the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the absolute ban on handgun ownership in Washington D.C. this seems to be more settled law. The Supreme Court held that this Amendment does grant an individual right to gun ownership. They did, however, kind of split the baby by allowing that while you are allowed to own guns, there is still some room for regulation of those weapons. This will be the next set of law suits as places like D.C.  and Chicago tries to balance this right against the public safety needs of all citizens whether they want to own a gun or not.

The Dog is going to stop here for today. Above are the first two Amendments of the Bill of Rights, what are you thoughts on them citizens?

The floor is yours.

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:45 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? Flames? (20+ / 0-)

    Thoughts? Corrections? Emotional Outbursts?

    Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

    by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:46:16 AM PST

    •  Great job, Dog - this is definitely (2+ / 0-)

      a needed service (although possibly more needed on other sites - I hope).  One thing about the 2nd Amendment, it tags back to a line in the body of the Constitution itself - the feds provided arms and training while the states selected officers for the state militias.  In those days, many joined the militia to GET arms.  The 2nd Amendment basically let them take them home for personal use as well as to have them at hand for emergency call-outs (as the Swiss do).

      •  Thanks man! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bfitzinAR, KentuckyKat

        I do cross post it at a couple of other sites, since once it is written it is easy to share. It gets a lot less comments there, but hopefully people are at least reading it.

        Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

        by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:23:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wish I could have had you as a (2+ / 0-)

          resource when I was teaching Social Studies to 9th graders in the KC, KS area (over 20 years ago).  Was that ever a group of kids who were clueless about what "freedom" means besides TV political soundbites.

          •  Well, I would have been (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bfitzinAR

            just as clueless. I think it is real tragedy that we don't teach this subject, and require an understanding for graduation for High School. I took Civics (kind of advanced Government) in HS, but we glossed the Constitution for the most part.

            How can a democratic people govern themselves if they don't know their foundational document?

            Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

            by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:24:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They can't and that's all there is to it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Something the Dog Said

              I was lucky - my mother loved history and government (and a whole lot of other things) and I grew up learning about it.  Which didn't make me popular in school.

              •  It was a rhetorical question (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bfitzinAR

                but you did give the right answer anyway. The way we are governed today is in direct relationship to the low knowledge that the average citizen has of the process.

                If more people really knew this stuff, can you imagine how pissed off we would be as a nation?

                Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

                by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:38:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Forget "individual" vs "collective". (0+ / 0-)

    as saying that this is an absolute prohibition on Congress

    The more important part: it was a prohibition on Congress to prevent it from disarming local militias.  States needed local militias to keep native and slave populations subdued.  If Congress passed a law against holding guns in SC, all the white people would be slaveless at the least.  

    Given that the second is protection of an individual right as granted by the state as a means to state power, it can't be incorporated via the fourteenth amendment: the federal government telling a state that it can't disarm a local rebellious group is just as much a strike to state power as telling it it can't arm itself against a rebellious group.

    I Will Do Whatever It Takes To Restore Your Faith In My Excuses

    by Inland on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:52:03 AM PST

  •  Nice diary (5+ / 0-)

    I think the 1st and 2nd admentment are very clear.  I celebrated the day the Supreme court upheld our right to own and carry firearms.  It is an issue that shouldn't be political either because it divides us and stipes votes away from the Dems from voters that agree with 99% of the Dem agenda but have been afraid of the gun issue.

    Bush didn't reinstate the assualt rifle ban and since we haven't seen crime increase since then it proved it was a horrible law.  Dems needs to focus on other issues and let this one drop as it is a nonstarter for many Americans including me.  Taking away guns from law abiding citizens means that only criminals own guns since criminals by nature don't follow the law.

    •  Well, the thing is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shadan7, Joy Busey, NY brit expat

      that guns do cause a huge amount of damage (in terms of armed assaults and accidents) and there is a good will reason to want to limit the damage of these tools. To talk about it in terms of taking something away is to disregard the fact that these laws are not proposed to be punitive but to address a real public policy problem.

      Personally, I would rather see us require competence in use and safety than try to limit weapons. But people of good will can differ on this issue.

      Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:03:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And cars cause even more damage then (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shadan7

        guns but we don't argue about removing the right to drive.

        Guns are a tool.  They can be used for good or for bad just like most tools.  It just isn't a right of our government to take away guns from the public and luckily our constitution is extremely clear on this point.  The debate is settled for handguns as every city and state must allow law abiding citizens the right to own handguns again.

        •  You seem to want to argue where (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shadan7, NY brit expat

          there is no argument. Yes, the right to own a handgun is settled. What is not settled is the level of responsible action you have to take to own that weapon.

          As I said above, I think that we must have more safety training as part of gun ownership. You bring up cars, where we require a written test and if the applicant has not taken a driving course a test drive. I think that we should have something similar for people when they first get a new type of weapon (rifle, shotgun, handgun) in order to make sure they are aware of the safe and appropriate way to use this tool.

          Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

          by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:13:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (3+ / 0-)

            While we in the midwest almost universally go through gun and hunter safety courses as children, many on the coasts don't.  That should change in my mind.  We could make it part of the graduation requirement for high school.

            •  Totally. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Shadan7, NY brit expat

              I am not in favor of gun ownership, I don't own any myself, but I did hunt as a teenager. We had a two or three week safety course offered at the Middle School level in MI. Every boy seemed to take it and a small number of girls.

              The thing that stuck with me is that if you don't stay aware and in control of your weapon, then you are a danger to yourself and others. If everyone had that one lesson, the problems with law abiding citizens owning guns would be greatly reduced.

              Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

              by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:22:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is no problem with law abiding (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Shadan7, Something the Dog Said

                citizens owning guns.  There is a problem with the lack of training.  Everyone has the right to own guns if they are law abiding afterall.  I think this is a bigger issue on the coasts and large cities.  I live in a small town in Minnesota.  Many of the boys in High School have their shotguns stored in their cars so they can go straight out pheasant or duck hunting after school.  We don't have problems with guns even though everyone owns many guns.

                Bigger cities and the coasts need to follow our lead on this and promote gun/hunter training for every single child.

  •  Good work, as usual, Something! Many thanks! (3+ / 0-)
  •  so much to say on the 1st (4+ / 0-)
    1.  Look up ceremonial deism to understand the "in God we trust" thing.
    1.  Consider this for a moment: what's the difference between freedom of "speech" and freedom of the "press"?
    1.  Your graduate-level question: solve the Summum case.
  •  As you head into the Bill of Rights (5+ / 0-)

    I'd offer some perspective.  It is my opinion that the Bill of Rights has seriously undercut the intent of the Constitution because people view it as a magic list of protected rights.  It was not intended as such, and Alexander Hamilton warned about how it could be misused.  I wrote a diary a while back that touched on the issue of power vs. rights.  I'd encourage everyone to consider the following.

    We have failed to heed Hamilton's warning.  The idea that because specific protections exist, the government necessarily holds the power to affect the protected rights took hold.  That misconception, in turn, led to the idea that if the Constitution doesn't afford specific protections, the government is free to act.  Both are baseless, ignorant conclusions stemming from the fundamental misconception that the Constitution exists to protect individual rights.  It does not.  The Constitution exists to delineate the power of our government to act.  

    Here's the link, if you are interested in reading more.  

    Steny Hoyer = a slam dunk argument for term limits

    by jlynne on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:18:49 AM PST

    •  Really good diary! (4+ / 0-)

      Everyone on this thread should read it!

      Not to steal my own thunder but I intend to talk about that at the end of the series. Thanks for bringing it up today though!

      Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:24:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Natural vs Legal Rights (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KentuckyKat

      I think this topic confuses a lot of people and rightly so. A roomful of Law School Deans could not agree 100% on what is exactly covered by these rights.

      I think people forget about natural rights and focus too much on legal rights. Natural rights are very vague like "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Often times natural rights are left out of the discussion of legal rights.

      Natural rights encompass a range of rights the government can't take away from the people. How can you have slavery yet acknowledge natural rights. Easy, remove personhood: this made slavery and abortion legal. Not persons means no rights.

      Legal rights, as in Constitutional rights, are meant to limit government on specific issues.

      For example with Heller, you have the natural right to self defense (Life) and a legal right to own a firearm (2nd Amendment).  

  •  Here's what I don't get.... (3+ / 0-)

    the concept of "ceremonial deism" strikes me as something that should be deeply offensvie to anyone who is religious...and yet you don't hear the religious right decrying it.  I guess the end outweighs the means?

  •  It is interesting how something can appear to be (3+ / 0-)

    so clear on the surface, yet still is subject to so many interpretations wrt to their actual use. While the interrelation between the notions of rights and responsibilities is so often obvious, it is wrt the first amendment that things are often confusing. Although it is clear that we have these rights and that the government is not meant to abridge them, it is our responsibility to each other as human beings that is not covered. I understand that the amendment was written to protect us from the abuses of government and not to protect us from the abuses of other citizens, but I always have believed that there are certain things that should be forbidden (e.g., advocacy of genocide) to protect and promote the public good.

    It has always amazed me that while the government is literally forbidden from proscribing free speech, it somehow manages to do so rather effectively. We do not need to descend to the level of the McCarthy hearings, the banning of communists as Trade Union organisers and as teachers, limits of freedom of speech, the press and assembly are glaring and often have little to do with our lack of recognition of our responsibility but more to do with the government chipping away at our rights.

    I always thought that a little further clarity could have gone into the 2nd amendment, but then again at the time it was written, it was very clear to the people involved since the British prohibited militias not under their control.

    One other point, which you noted in the diary, if there no formal establishment of a state religion is accepted, then things like "in god we trust" which accepts a monotheistic perspective does establish a perspective if not a religion as dominant. There are certainly Hindus, Buddists, Jains, and pagans in the country, as well as atheists who probably feel that this is a violation of their beliefs at the cost of ensuring the majority perspective is covered.  

    Thanks for this diary and the possibility of discussing things that are always on my mind, but which I rarely have the platform to express.

    •  I don't think I can agree on the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat

      limiting of free speech (genocide advocacy), I tend to think that the remedy for bad speech is more speech not less. I understand you desire for a better public discourse, but the problem is once you start limiting it is easier to limit other speech as well. Then sooner than you think, the allowable topics are few and tyranny is close.

      Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:44:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have had this discussion with so many people! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Something the Dog Said

        My husband agrees with you as do most of my friends, things that I would like to limit or proscribe are people advocating genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes (hate speech that brings violent actions against other people whose sole purpose is merely to destroy others and their lives); in the cases where people advocate these things for the most part, more speech will not convince them they are wrong. I keep on thinking of Ann Coulter's reaction to September 11th, where she advocated bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age and converting the survivors; more speech did not stop her from saying these things and when a tragedy of these proportions happen, and people are emotional, very stupid and horrible things can be the result (e.g., random attacks on people who look Islamic, the burning of mosques, etc.). To say these things is illegal in most of Europe and there has not been an extension to cover other types of speech, it is merely limited to advocacy of killing and hurting people because they are different in some way.

        •  Well, I tend to see this as self correcting. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat

          Sure there are some asshats like Ms. Colter (you would think she could afford another dress with all the books she has written) but they tend to make themselves irrelevant, as she has done.

          While the humanist in me agrees, the pragmatist in my says it is better to have these people making their unsupportable tirades in public than in private. At least we know where they are and what they are saying.

          As for Europe, I think it is a question of scale. Smaller countries can make something like that work without going overboard. However, I am not at all convinced the the CCTV coverage in England is not a total violation of your ability to be anonymous in public.

          Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

          by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:04:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you completely on the CCTV cameras! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Something the Dog Said

            Liberty (http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/) champions civil rights as well as human rights, so they strongly oppose (among other things) attempts at increasing lengths of detention w/o charge and trial, increased usage of CCTV (which is literally all over the place), and retention of DNA samples of innocents to compile a DNA base which are attacks on civil rights (i.e., rights granted under civil society, like the Bill of Rights) while also ensuring that our human rights are protected as well. These things should be seen as supporting each other, not in competition.

            I used Coulter as an example as she was a member of the press when she made those comments (unfortunately, she didn't say them over here where she would be charged). Perhaps another solution is to hold them in some way accountable (either criminally or civilly as accessories when people commit heinous actions based on their rantings). There must be some way to protect the human rights of those who are verbally attacked by these people while ensuring the civil rights of the majority in a society.

        •  I suspect that your background (0+ / 0-)

          may explain the difference in how you think about this.

          The American conception of the relationship between the citizen and the State is very different from the European one.

          Our whole systems is based on the idea that we grant government it's powers, and we can limit that power in any way we choose, and can even take it away.

          What the first few amendments do is define the limits of our consent. We, the People, have denied our government the power to do what you suggest.

          And we also, mostly, tend to think that this is not a power that should ever be granted to government. Because to do so makes it then a matter of trust that the power won't be misused. Better to just say "no", and deal with the consequences as they happen.

          Regulation of speech is regulation of thought. Thoughtcrime is the very definition of totalitarianism. Even in a good cause, it is evil.

          --Shannon

          "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
          "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

          by Leftie Gunner on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:47:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am an American who lives in Britain, so I have (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Something the Dog Said

            the same background as you. I have held these beliefs before I left the states in 1993 (which is why I said I have had this argument so many times both with Americans, Canadians and Europeans. The notion of civil society you are describing exists in Europe, in fact it was articulated there during the enlightenment; the idea of civil society as a social contract where the government is allowed certain powers (none of which can overturn the natural rights of its citizens) was argued first by Locke and then developed by Rousseau, etc.. They all were Europeans. This notion of civil society was then adopted by the US during its founding. Perhaps differences arise as Europeans have learned the bitter lessons of allowing a few heinous individuals (and their followers) the right to advocate genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

            •  Sorry... (2+ / 0-)

              I had you backward.

              I thought you were a British ex-pat living in New York. I should read better.

              But it does seem to me that the European conception is more state-centered... that the State grants rights to the people, rather than the other way around. A legacy of monarchism, perhaps? I've never lived there, so I'm going off what I've heard in conversation with European friends.

              I remain unalterably opposed to regulating any speech. Actually, a benign dictatorship is worse than a malignant one. I am more suspicious of "good" motives than of selfish ones.

              The power you're advocating is, of itself, dangerous. Even if it is not misused, it's still dangerous.

              --Shannon

              "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
              "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

              by Leftie Gunner on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:25:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's cool, the ambiguity in the name sort of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Something the Dog Said

                reflects an ambiguity in myself. It is cool we can disagree, it is differences in stress probably more than anything else, as we probably do not disagree substantially on the concepts that underlie civil and human rights.

                There are certainly legacies of monarchism, but I would put it more towards the divine right of kings ideology which took ages to put in its grave. The extreme power of the Prime Minister in the UK, many of whose powers were literally transferred directly from those of the king is an excellent example; it is why Tony Blair (and Margaret Thatcher) were able to make decisions without having to have a vote in Commons. On the other hand, I really do not see the difference in practice between the states and the UK. Although formally we as citizens grant certain powers to the state, in actuality it is the state that restricts our rights and actions as citizens. Formally, we do have the right of secession in the states or to dissolve the state if we believe that it has over-stepped its powers; but even in cases where it clearly has, if you take up arms (or attempt to secede from the union), it will not be happily accepted by the powers that be.

                •  True... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NY brit expat

                  Revolution is a universal right, but it's only legal if you win.

                  Had we lost, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin ans the rest would be reviled as traitors, not venerated as heroes.

                  --Shannon

                  "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
                  "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

                  by Leftie Gunner on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:37:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  I've never undestood why the first (2+ / 0-)

    four words of the Second Amendment has never been used as an argument for the unconstitutionality of the ban on GLBTs in the military.

    Seems to guarantee the right to arm ones self in defense of the nation.

  •  dog would you know offhand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    the first time that one sentence:

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    came up as an issue in congress or the courts?

    •  No, but I'll see if I can find out. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vladislaw

      Early would be my guess, but after 1812 would be the other part of the guess

      Getting Dems together and keeping them that way is like trying to herd cats, hopped up on crank, through LA, during an earthquake, in the rain. -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:47:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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