[Rushtalk] What good are constitutional rights if they are violated when Americans get sick?

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Sat May 9 09:56:52 MDT 2020


 

What good are constitutional rights if they are violated when Americans
get sick?

by Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New
Jersey, is a regular contributor to The Washington Times. He is the
author of nine books on the U.S. Constitution. 
  


Print By Andrew P. Napolitano - - Wednesday, March 25, 2020
ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

 — Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

One of my Fox colleagues recently sent me an email attachment of a
painting of the framers signing the Constitution of the United States.
Except in this version, George Washington — who presided at the
Constitutional Convention — looks at James Madison — who was the
scrivener at the Convention — and says, “None of this counts if people
get sick, right?”



________________________________________________________________________
In these days of state governors issuing daily decrees purporting to
criminalize the exercise of our personal freedoms, the words put into
Washington’s mouth are only mildly amusing. Had Washington actually
asked such a question, Madison, of all people, would likely have
responded: “No. This document protects our natural rights at all times
and under all circumstances.”

It is easy, 233 years later, to offer that hypothetical response,
particularly since the Supreme Court has done so already when, as
readers of this column will recall, Abraham Lincoln suspended the
constitutionally guaranteed writ of habeas corpus — the right to be
brought before a judge upon arrest — only to be rebuked by the Supreme
Court.


________________________________________________________________________


________________________________________________________________________
The famous line above by Benjamin Franklin, though uttered in a 1755
dispute between the Pennsylvania legislature and the state’s governor
over taxes, nevertheless provokes a truism. 

Namely, that since our rights come from our humanity, not from the
government, foolish people can only sacrifice their own freedoms, not
the freedoms of others. 

Thus, freedom can only be taken away when the government proves fault at
a jury trial. This protection is called procedural due process, and it,
too, is guaranteed in the Constitution.

Of what value is a constitutional guarantee if it can be violated when
people get sick? If it can, it is not a guarantee; it is a fraud. Stated
differently, a constitutional guarantee is only as valuable and reliable
as is the fidelity to the Constitution of those in whose hands we have
reposed it for safekeeping. 



Because the folks in government, with very few exceptions, suffer from
what St. Augustine called libido dominandi — the lust to dominate — when
they are confronted with the age-old clash of personal liberty versus
government force, they will nearly always come down on the side of
force.

How do they get away with this? By scaring the daylights out of us. I
never thought I’d see this in my lifetime, though our ancestors saw this
in every generation. In America today, we have a government of fear.
Machiavelli offered that men obey better when they fear you than when
they love you. Sadly, he was right, and the government in America knows
this.

But Madison knew this as well when he wrote the Constitution. And he
knew it four years later when he wrote the Bill of Rights. He
intentionally employed language to warn those who lust to dominate that,
however they employ governmental powers, the Constitution is “the
Supreme Law of the Land” and all government behavior in America is
subject to it. 

Even if the legislature of the State of New York ordered, as my friend
Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who as the governor, cannot write laws that incur
criminal punishment — has ordered, it would be invalid as prohibited by
the Constitution.

This is not a novel or an arcane argument. This is fundamental American
law. Yet, it is being violated right before our eyes by the very human
beings we have elected to uphold it. And each of them — every governor
interfering with the freedom to make one’s own choices — has taken an
express oath to comply with the Constitution.

You want to bring the family to visit grandma? You want to engage in a
mutually beneficial, totally voluntary commercial transaction? You want
to go to work? You want to celebrate Mass? These are all now prohibited
in one-third of the United States. 

I tried and failed to find Mass last Sunday. When did the Catholic
Church become an agent of the state? How about an outdoor Mass?

What is the nature of freedom? It is an unassailable natural claim
against all others, including the government. Stated differently, it is
your unconditional right to think as you wish, to say what you think, to
publish what you say, to associate with whomever wishes to be with you
no matter their number, to worship or not, to defend yourself, to own
and use property as you see fit, to travel where you wish, to purchase
from a willing seller, to be left alone. And to do all this without a
government permission slip.

What is the nature of government? It is the negation of freedom. It is a
monopoly of force in a designated geographic area. When elected
officials fear that their base is slipping, they will feel the need to
do something — anything — that will let them claim to be enhancing
safety. Trampling liberty works for that odious purpose. Hence a decree
commanding obedience, promising safety and threatening punishment.

These decrees — issued by those who have no legal authority to issue
them, enforced by cops who hate what they are being made to do,
destructive of the freedoms that our forbearers shed oceans of blood to
preserve and crushing economic prosperity by violating the laws of
supply and demand — should all be rejected by an outraged populace, and
challenged in court.

These challenges are best filed in federal courts, where those who have
trampled our liberties will get no special quarter. I can tell you from
my prior life as a judge that most state governors fear nothing more
than an intellectually honest, personally courageous, constitutionally
faithful federal judge.

Fight fear with fear.

• Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New
Jersey, is a regular contributor to The Washington Times. He is the
author of nine books on the U.S. Constitution.


https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/mar/25/what-good-are-constitutional-rights-if-they-are-vi/  




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