In Print and Kindle Creating the Declaration Of Independence

Sixth Amendment’s Public Trial: From Communal Duty to Accused’s Right

Public Trial

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights contains many procedural protections for those the government accuses of having committed a crime.  Among them is the Sixth Amendment right to a “public trial”.  The provision is stated: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a… public trial” The concept of a public trial is ancient, but it did […]

Court Approves “Heckler’s Veto” over Flag Wearing Students

Student Wearing American Flag

“Freedom has more often been lost in small steps by progressive incrementalism, than by catastrophic upheavals such as violence or war.” –James Madison. A cut was sliced into the First Amendment‘s Free Speech protections on February 27, 2014 by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court upheld a California high school’s decision to […]

Obamacare Contraception Mandate Reaches Supreme Court

Supreme Court

On August 3, 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service jointly issued what has become known as the contraception mandate. This required all employer health plans, including religiously based hospitals, schools, charities and private employers, to offer:  “…all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and […]

US Constitution’s First Amendment: Right to Petition for Redress of Grievances

Reclaiming the Right to Petition

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights addresses five rights.  The limits on government interference with religion, speech and the press were the result of the uniquely American experience. The right to peaceable assembly was a needed protection to exercise the first three. The First Amendment’s fifth right will come as a surprise to […]

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 […]

First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of the Press

Democracy in America

Like Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, in the United States the concept of Freedom of the Press as it developed has been uniquely American.  Along with free speech for the general population, it is surely the source of what has become known as American Exceptionalism. American Exceptionalism Alexis de Tocqueville originally referred to […]

The First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of Speech

Associate Supreme Court Justice James Wilson

The US Constitution’s first ten amendments are called The Bill of Rights. The First Amendment limits the authority of government to enact laws impinging upon the natural rights of the people to practice religion, engage in speech, publish their ideas and assemble together to petition their government. Freedom of religion is the first named freedom. The second named […]

First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of Religion

Religious liberty in United States of America

The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are referred to as the Bill of Rights.  The First Amendment protects “freedom of expression” for Americans by restricting government authority to pass laws interfering with the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly.  A fifth right, to petition the government for redress of grievances, is listed, […]

Amendment I to the US Constitution: An Overview

First Amendment

The US Constitution grants enumerated powers to the central government. The drafters believed enumerating the powers limited the government. This was the argument Federalists made based upon an accepted  rule for interpreting legal documents: Expressio unius est exclusio alterius (“the express mention of one thing excludes all others”).  With that principle in mind, the government could not […]

Bill of Rights of the US Constitution: Promise Made, Promise Kept

Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. These amendments limit the power of the federal government. The Constitution was a grant of power to the central government by the People of the United States; the Bill of Rights places limits on that power. The Bill of […]