First Amendment, Freedom of Speech – A Discussion
As a preface to this discussion, I should note that regarding constitutional opinions, I am an originalist. If I can determine what the Founders intended when they wrote various sections of the Constitution for the united States, that is the interpretation I will use.
To continue, the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1787, included a HUGE oops that was finally resolved with the addition of the Bill of Rights. Virginia’s legislature was the last state to ratify the first ten amendments to the Constitution, approving them on December 15, 1791. Most of us are aware of amendments included in the Bill of Rights, but, for reference purposes, I’ll include a list of them here anyway.
Amendment I — 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.
Amendment II — 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.
Amendment III — No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV — The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V — No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI — In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Amendment VII — In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII — Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX — The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X — The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Today I want to start a discussion about the First Amendment, the freedom of speech amendment, largely because without the First Amendment, the rest of the Bill of Rights, although easily claimed by the rich and powerful, are almost unable to be claimed by the common man or woman. In fact, we, the people, could be asking whether we still have a First Amendment protection of our speech. I’m not certain we do.
As background for this discussion, we might look at the SCOTUS opinions regarding the people’s First Amendment protections. Some of these opinions appear legitimate and constitutional, and some of these opinions seem quite political in nature. Here’s a link to one organization’s view of significant First Amendment opinions.
In 2019, we are monitored covertly by government for what we write, what we say, and what we do. Can any of that be construed as freedom at any level? In 2019, there are certain foreign forces that control the functioning of our central government, but we can’t publicly identify or discuss this foreign power. Is that freedom of speech? I don’t think so. There are now state laws, and probably soon federal laws that say we do not have the freedom to decide what country’s products we will choose to buy (BDS). Is that a restriction of our freedom of speech? We cannot discuss or challenge a bogus holocaust, even though there is irrefutable evidence that the claim of a holocaust is, and has always been, a sham, a fraud. Where is the protected freedom of speech? Why is only one foreign national allowed to work inside the US government? Is that unconstitutional waiver helping or hurting us? People in congress like Nancy Pelosi laugh when we ask about constitutionally compliant legislation. Is Pelosi helping the American people or not? When good congressmen like Ilhad Omar question this foreign power and control over the US Congress, she is forced to capitulate and apologize for making her comments public. Really? Does she have First Amendment protected rights? NO? Why not?
And that brings us to the point of this discussion. If the people, and even the government representatives of the people (is that an oxymoron?) cannot address and discuss the criminal elephant in the room, do any of us have freedom of speech in the face of these domestic and foreign enemies? Who, exactly, is controlling our force and violence ridden state and federal governments? Did we ask for or voluntarily allow these foreign powers to take over our country’s governments? No, then how did that happen? Where are our defenders inside our own governments? Are we still a country based on the rule of law?
From the Apollo space program days we have an expression that can be used here: ‘Houston, we have a Problem.’ Yes, we do. In my opinion. And I want your opinion on this subject also. Am I over-reacting? Do we really have a problem? If you have a view point on this subject, please hit the reply button and let me know your thoughts. Unlike FB, there is no censorship here as long as you are respectful of others.
Have a nice day.