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Federal Restrictions on Gun Ownership by Convicted Felons

Hand gun

Federal law provides significant penalties for felons in possession of weapons, unless the felon has his rights restored by the convicting state. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony is banned by federal law from ever possessing “any firearm or ammunition.” Specifically a person “convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment […]

Constitution’s Twenty-Fourth Amendment: Ending Poll Taxes

Poll Tax Receipt

After the Civil War, the vote was extended to members of all races by virtue of the 15th Amendment. In the former Confederate states, various laws were passed to inhibit the voting of former slaves.  Among those laws were “poll taxes” that required a payment to the government prior to voting. Constitution Provided for States to […]

The Exclusionary Rule in US Criminal Trials

fourthamendment

Part of the Bill of Rights, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits government searches or seizures without a warrant issued by a disinterested magistrate. The Fourth Amendment protects the right to have government stay out of a person’s home and property without prior approval by a judge. If the judge has found […]

Fifteenth Amendment: Power to Congress over Voting Discrimination

The_First_Vote

The Civil War had been won by the North, but there was still much to do, as both legal and extra-legal means were used to prevent freed slaves from voting. Between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and 1870, the US Constitution was amended three times. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments are collectively known as […]

The Fifth Amendment’s Grand Jury: A Proud & Lost Protection of Liberty

Grand Jury Room

The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights mandates government procedures to protect the natural, inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness recognized in the Declaration of Independence. The amendment contains five protections for these natural rights. The Fifth Amendment’s first protection requires the federal government to use a grand jury to […]

The Fifth Amendment: Procedural Protections for Natural Rights

The First United States Congress proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution in 1789. The states ratified ten of the proposed amendments: The Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment contains five procedural rights. If the government seeks to take someone’s life, liberty or property it must follow the Fifth Amendment’s rules. The Fifth Amendment “No person […]

Two NSA decisions: One for the Constitution, One for the Government

Judge William Pauley

On December 27, Federal Judge William Pauley, of the Southern District of New York, admitted everything that, on December 16th, Judge Richard Leon indicated was wrong with the National Security Agency’s Data Collection and Surveillance[1] program and, unlike Judge Leon, decided the program was reasonable, lawful and constitutional. Pauley Admits the Dangers to Liberty, but Trusts the Government […]

Courageous NSA Ruling by Judge Leon Respects Privacy and Fourth Amendment

Judge Richard J. Leon

On December 16, 2013 US District Court Judge Richard Leon took on arguments[1] that over the years have been used to expand government intrusion into American life in ways that would have left James Madison “aghast”.[2] His opinion in Klayman v. Obama finds much of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance collection of “telephony metadata” […]

First Amendment to US Constitution: Right to Peaceable Assembly

First Amendment

The Constitution’s First Amendment contains limits on government interference with very well known unalienable rights: religion, speech and press. The Amendment specifically restricts government interference with an activity necessary to exercise the first three named rights: the need for people to gather to practice religion, to talk about issues and to distribute information. The right […]

US Supreme Court Considers Challenge to Voting Rights Act

US Supreme Court

In 1965 Congress enacted and Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA).  The VRA was intended to deal specifically with roadblocks in place in certain states to voter registration by Black Americans.  Certain provisions of the Act were originally set to expire in five years, but were renewed in 1970, 1975, 1982, and most […]