In just a matter of weeks voters in Colorado will decide whether abortion will be made a crime – even in cases of rape or when a woman’s health is at risk. Pregnant women and their doctors would be subject to criminal investigations, including when a woman has a miscarriage. Pledge to vote NO on 67: http://bit.ly/1py1JqL

A Republican official in the county that includes Colorado State University reportedly threatened to confiscate copies of a student newspaper that were available in newspaper racks at the university’s student center because she claimed that they violate a state law prohibiting “electioneering … within one hundred feet of any building in which a polling location is located.” Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers objected to the newspapers because of their front page coverage of Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-CO) visit to the university’s campus.

An image of the censored coverage is displayed at the top of this post. The campus paper’s coverage of Udall’s visit can also be read in full at this link.

Myers’ attempt to censor the Rocky Mountain Collegian occurred on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday afternoon, after she received a cease an desist letter from an attorney representing the paper, she reversed her decision and permitted the papers to be displayed.

Myers claimed that the papers must be censored because “[w]hen you have a paper that has a candidate on the very front like it does, we will need that to be displayed outside the 100-foot limit,” but this claim is difficult to square with the law she cites to justify removing the paper. Although the law at issue does indeed ban electioneering close to a polling location, it defines the term “electioneering” as “campaigning for or against any candidate who is on the ballot or any ballot issue or ballot question that is on the ballot” or “soliciting signatures for a candidate petition, a recall petition, or a petition to place a ballot issue or ballot question on a subsequent ballot.”

The censored newspaper did neither of these things. It published reporting of a newsworthy event that happened to involve a candidate for public office. Though the paper’s coverage does quote statements Udall make while speaking on campus, it neither expresses a viewpoint for or against his campaign nor does it solicit signatures of any kind.

Like many papers, the Collegian also publishes opinion columns. In the past, some of its opinion pieces have supported Udall, while others supported his Republican opponent Rep. Cory Gardner. Myers’ objection, however, appears limited to the fact that the paper included a picture of Udall on the front page.

The Collegian‘s executive editor Kate Winkle described the censorship of her paper as “clearly a violation of the First Amendment and freedom of the press” (although the Supreme Court upheld a 100 foot ban on campaigning near polls in 1992, that case dealt with actual campaigning and not journalistic reporting). Winkle added that “we are not campaigning for Mark Udall and we would have had the same coverage had Cory Gardner or any politician affected by this election come to campus.”

h/t: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

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When it comes to being shamed for anything you are or believe in, it is better to stand for something, than fall for anything.

No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they’re doing it.

For example, the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Stanford v. Texas (1965):

While the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was most immediately the product of contemporary revulsion against a regime of writs of assistance, its roots go far deeper. Its adoption in the Constitution of this new Nation reflected the culmination in England a few years earlier of a struggle against oppression which had endured for centuries. The story of that struggle has been fully chronicled in the pages of this Court’s reports, and it would be a needless exercise in pedantry to review again the detailed history of the use of general warrants as instruments of oppression from the time of the Tudors, through the Star Chamber, the Long Parliament, the Restoration, and beyond.

What is significant to note is that this history is largely a history of conflict between the Crown and the press. It was in enforcing the laws licensing the publication of literature and, later, in prosecutions for seditious libel, that general warrants were systematically used in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In Tudor England, officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to search where they pleased in order to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent, both Catholic and Puritan. In later years, warrants were sometimes more specific in content, but they typically authorized of all persons connected of the premises of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel, or the arrest and seizure of all the papers of a named person thought to be connected with a libel.

By “libel”, the court is referring to a critique of the British government  which the King or his ministers didn’t like … they would label such criticism “libel” and then seize all of the author’s papers.

The Supreme Court provided interesting historical details in the case of Marcus v. Search Warrant (1961):

The use by government of the power of search and seizure as an adjunct to a system for the suppression of objectionable publications … was a principal instrument for the enforcement of the Tudor licensing system. The Stationers’ Company was incorporated in 1557 to help implement that system, and was empowered

“to make search whenever it shall please them in any place, shop, house, chamber, or building or any printer, binder or bookseller whatever within our kingdom of England or the dominions of the same of or for any books or things printed, or to be printed, and to seize, take hold, burn, or turn to the proper use of the aforesaid community, all and several those books and things which are or shall be printed contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation, made or to be made… .

An order of counsel confirmed and expanded the Company’s power in 1566,  and the Star Chamber reaffirmed it in 1586 by a decree

“That it shall be lawful for the wardens of the said Company for the time being or any two of the said Company thereto deputed by the said wardens, to make search in all workhouses, shops, warehouses of printers, booksellers, bookbinders, or where they shall have reasonable cause of suspicion, and all books [etc.] … contrary to … these present ordinances to stay and take to her Majesty’s use… . ”

Books thus seized were taken to Stationers’ Hall where they were inspected by ecclesiastical officers, who decided whether they should be burnt. These powers were exercised under the Tudor censorship to suppress both Catholic and Puritan dissenting literature.

Each succeeding regime during turbulent Seventeenth Century England used the search and seizure power to suppress publications. James I commissioned the ecclesiastical judges comprising the Court of High Commission

“to enquire and search for … all heretical, schismatical and seditious books, libels, and writings, and all other books, pamphlets and portraitures offensive to the state or set forth without sufficient and lawful authority in that behalf, … and the same books [etc.] and their printing presses themselves likewise to seize and so to order and dispose of them … as they may not after serve or be employed for any such unlawful use… .”

The Star Chamber decree of 1637, reenacting the requirement that all books be licensed, continued the broad powers of the Stationers’ Company to enforce the licensing laws.  During the political overturn of the 1640′s, Parliament on several occasions asserted the necessity of a broad search and seizure power to control printing. Thus, an order of 1648 gave power to the searchers

“to search in any house or place where there is just cause of suspicion that Presses are kept and employed in the printing of Scandalous and lying Pamphlets, … [and] to seize such scandalous and lying pamphlets as they find upon search… .”

The Restoration brought a new licensing act in 1662. Under its authority, “messengers of the press” operated under the secretaries of state, who issued executive warrants for the seizure of persons and papers. These warrants, while sometimes specific in content, often gave the most general discretionary authority. For example, a warrant to Roger L’Estrange, the Surveyor of the Press, empowered him to “seize all seditious books and libels and to apprehend the authors, contrivers, printers, publishers, and dispersers of them,” and to

search any house, shop, printing room, chamber, warehouse, etc. for seditious, scandalous or unlicensed pictures, books, or papers, to bring away or deface the same, and the letter press, taking away all the copies… .]”

***

Although increasingly attacked, the licensing system was continued in effect for a time even after the Revolution of 1688, and executive warrants continued to issue for the search for and seizure of offending books. The Stationers’ Company was also ordered

“to make often and diligent searches in all such places you or any of you shall know or have any probable reason to suspect, and to seize all unlicensed, scandalous books and pamphlets… .”

And even when the device of prosecution for seditious libel replaced licensing as the principal governmental control of the press,  it too was enforced with the aid of general warrants — authorizing either the arrest of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel and the search of their premises or the seizure of all the papers of a named person alleged to be connected with the publication of a libel.

And see this.

General warrants were largely declared illegal in Britain in 1765.  But the British continued to use general warrants in the American colonies.  In fact, the Revolutionary War was largely launched to stop the use of general warrants in the colonies.  King George gave various excuses of why general warrants were needed for the public good, of course … but such excuses were all hollow.

The New York Review of Books notes that the American government did not start to conduct mass surveillance against the American people until long after the Revolutionary War ended … but once started, the purpose was to crush dissent:

In the United States, political spying by the federal government began in the early part of the twentieth century, with the creation of the Bureau of Investigation in the Department of Justice on July 1, 1908. In more than one sense, the new agency was a descendant of the surveillance practices developed in France a century earlier, since it was initiated by US Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte, a great nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, who created it during a Congressional recess. Its establishment was denounced by Congressman Walter Smith of Iowa, who argued that “No general system of spying upon and espionage of the people, such as has prevailed in Russia, in France under the Empire, and at one time in Ireland, should be allowed to grow up.”

Nonetheless, the new Bureau became deeply engaged in political surveillance during World War I when federal authorities sought to gather information on those opposing American entry into the war and those opposing the draft. As a result of this surveillance, many hundreds of people were prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act and the 1918 Sedition Act for the peaceful expression of opinion about the war and the draft.

But it was during the Vietnam War that political surveillance in the United States reached its peak. Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and, to an even greater extent, Richard Nixon, there was a systematic effort by various agencies, including the United States Army, to gather information on those involved in anti-war protests. Millions of Americans took part in such protests and the federal government—as well as many state and local agencies—gathered enormous amounts of information on them.

***

The National Security Agency was involved in the domestic political surveillance of that era as well. Decades before the Internet, under the direction of President Nixon, the NSA made arrangements with the major communications firms of the time such as RCA Global and Western Union to obtain copies of telegrams. When the matter came before the courts, the Nixon Administration argued that the president had inherent authority to protect the country against subversion. In a unanimous decision in 1972, however, the US Supreme Court rejected the claim that the president had the authority to disregard the requirement of the Fourth Amendment for a judicial warrant.

***

Much of the political surveillance of the 1960s and the 1970s and of the period going back to World War I consisted in efforts to identify organizations that were critical of government policies, or that were proponents of various causes the government didn’t like, and to gather information on their adherents. It was not always clear how this information was used. As best it is possible to establish, the main use was to block some of those who were identified with certain causes from obtaining public employment or some kinds of private employment. Those who were victimized in this way rarely discovered the reason they had been excluded.

Efforts to protect civil liberties during that era eventually led to the destruction of many of these records, sometimes after those whose activities were monitored were given an opportunity to examine them. In many cases, this prevented surveillance records from being used to harm those who were spied on. Yet great vigilance by organizations such as the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought a large number of court cases challenging political surveillance, was required to safeguard rights. The collection of data concerning the activities of US citizens did not take place for benign purposes.

***

Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI operated a program known as COINTELPRO, for Counter Intelligence Program. Its purpose was to interfere with the activities of the organizations and individuals who were its targets or, in the words of long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize” them. The first target was the Communist Party of the United States, but subsequent targets ranged from the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to organizations espousing women’s rights to right wing organizations such as the National States Rights Party.

A well-known example of COINTELPRO was the FBI’s planting in 1964 of false documents about William Albertson, a long-time Communist Party official, that persuaded the Communist Party that Albertson was an FBI informant. Amid major publicity, Albertson was expelled from the party, lost all his friends, and was fired from his job. Until his death in an automobile accident in 1972, he tried to prove that he was not a snitch, but the case was not resolved until 1989, when the FBI agreed to pay Albertson’s widow $170,000 to settle her lawsuit against the government.

COINTELPRO was eventually halted by J. Edgar Hoover after activists broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1971, and released stolen documents about the program to the press. The lesson of COINTELPRO is that any government agency that is able to gather information through political surveillance will be tempted to use that information. After a time, the passive accumulation of data may seem insufficient and it may be used aggressively. This may take place long after the information is initially collected and may involve officials who had nothing to do with the original decision to engage in surveillance.

Indeed, during the Vietnam war, the NSA spied on Senator Frank Church because of his criticism of the Vietnam War. The NSA also spied on Senator Howard Baker.

Senator Church – the head of a congressional committee investigating Cointelpro – warned in 1975:

[NSA’s] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.  [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.

This is, in fact, what’s happened …

Initially, American constitutional law experts say that the NSA is doing exactly the same thing to the American people today which King George did to the Colonists … using “general warrant” type spying.

And it is clear that the government is using its massive spy programs in order to track those who question government policies. See this, this, this  and this.

Todd Gitlin – chair of the PhD program in communications at Columbia University, and a professor of journalism and sociology -  notes:

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has unearthed documents showing that, in 2011 and 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies were busy surveilling and worrying about a good number of Occupy groups — during the very time that they were missing actual warnings about actual terrorist actions.

From its beginnings, the Occupy movement was of considerable interest to the DHS, the FBI, and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, while true terrorists were slipping past the nets they cast in the wrong places.  In the fall of 2011, the DHS specifically asked its regional affiliates to report on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations, in addition to reporting on domestic terrorist acts and ‘significant criminal activity.’”

Aware that Occupy was overwhelmingly peaceful, the federally funded Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), one of 77 coordination centers known generically as “fusion centers,” was busy monitoring Occupy Boston daily.  As the investigative journalist Michael Isikoff recently reported, they were not only tracking Occupy-related Facebook pages and websites but “writing reports on the movement’s potential impact on ‘commercial and financial sector assets.’”

It was in this period that the FBI received the second of two Russian police warnings about the extremist Islamist activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the future Boston Marathon bomber.  That city’s police commissioner later testified that the federal authorities did not pass any information at all about the Tsarnaev brothers on to him, though there’s no point in letting the Boston police off the hook either.  The ACLU has uncovered documents showing that, during the same period, they were paying close attention to the internal workings of…Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.

***

In Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, intelligence was not only pooled among public law enforcement agencies, but shared with private corporations — and vice versa.

Nationally, in 2011, the FBI and DHS were, in the words of Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.”  Last December using FOIA, PCJF obtained 112 pages of documents (heavily redacted) revealing a good deal of evidence for what might otherwise seem like an outlandish charge: that federal authorities were, in Verheyden-Hilliard’s words, “functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

Yes, we hear echoes to the Cointelpro program of the 60s and 70s … as well as King George’s General Warrants to the Colonies … and the Star Chamber of 15th century England.

Because – whatever governments may say – mass surveillance is always used to crush dissent.

Notes:

1. Spying is also aimed at keeping politicians in check.

2. The East German Stasi obviously used mass surveillance to crush dissent and keep it’s officials in check … and falsely claimed that spying was necessary to protect people against vague threats.   But poking holes in the excuses of a communist tyranny is too easy.  The focus of this essay is to show that the British and American governments have used this same cynical ruse for over 500 years.

3. For ease of reading, much of this article was curtailed (mostly further examples). Please follow the source for the article in its entirety.

Conservative commentator Dana Loesch’s new book Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America includes spurious quotes from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers, despite the fact that it purports to teach readers about “the history of the Second Amendment.”

Loesch, who hosts a radio show on The Blaze, is currently on a media tour promoting her book and has made appearances on Fox News programs The Kelly File, Fox & Friends, Hannity and America’s Newsroom.

She joins other conservative authors, including Emily Miller and Glenn Beck, in advancing a pro-gun agenda, in part by citing the discredited “more guns, less crime” research of economist John Lott.

In her book, Loesch also attempts to demonstrate that the Founding Father’s view of the Second Amendment matches her own, but in doing so she misquotes, and often takes out of context, the Founder’s true words.

In a section titled, “In Their Own Words,” Loesch writes, “Just to make sure everyone reading this book is well armed — pun intended — with the facts about the Founders and their intentions, the Buckeye Firearms Association compiled a list of quotes attributed to various Founders that demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt what our Constitution’s drafters intended when they drafted and approved the Second Amendment.”

Loesch added, “Do the new-century equivalent of sticking them onto your fridge: Post them to Facebook or Twitter.”

However, many of the quotes listed are not accurate.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Loesch:

"A free people ought to be armed." - George Washington

Actual Quote:

"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies."

The version appearing in Loesch’s book crops language from Washington’s quote that made it clear he was talking about the creation of a national defense strategy. According to the full text of Washington’s first State of the Union address, he was discussing what it meant to “be prepared for war” and “[t]he proper establishment of the troops.”

THOMAS JEFFERSON

Loesch:

"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." — Thomas Jefferson (quoting eighteenth-century criminologist Cesare Beccaria)

Loesch presents this quote as if Jefferson were quoting Beccaria approvingly, but that is not necessarily the case. Monticello, Jefferson’s estate which is currently maintained by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., lists the quote as “spurious" when attributed to Jefferson.

Jefferson copied the Beccaria quote in Italian into his legal commonplace book, a “journal or notebook in which a student, reader, or writer compiles quotations, poems, letters, and information, along with the compiler’s notes and reactions.” Jefferson notated the copied passage with the words, “False idee di utilità,” which is a summation of the idea contained in the quotation and is not evidence of what “our Constitution’s drafters intended when they drafted and approved the Second Amendment.”

JAMES MADISON

Loesch:

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms." — James Madison

Actual Quote (Emphasis Added To Highlight Deleted Portions):

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

In this quote, Loesch presented a mangled summation of The Federalist Papers #46 that distorts Madison’s meaning. Loesch’s version omits parts of Madison’s commentary because those sentences make it clear he was talking about state militias being a check on government tyranny, not privately held arms.

PATRICK HENRY

Loesch:

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined… The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun." —Patrick Henry

Actual Quote (Emphasis Added To Highlight Deleted Portions):

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined… May we not discipline and arm them, as well as Congress, if the power be concurrent? So that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed. The great object is, that every man be armed. But can the people afford to pay for double sets of arms, Every one Who is able may have a gun. But we have learned, by experience, that, necessary as it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case.

Henry was actually talking about ensuring that members of the militia were adequately armed, not the general public. According to historian and Patrick Henry scholar Henry Mayer, “[W]ielding the scholar’s power of the ellipse several partisans of gun ownership have edited Henry’s remarks about how best to regulate the militia into an inflammatory half-truth ‘The great object is that every man be armed….Every one who is able may have a gun.’ The NRA has blown this up into a poster-sized blurb embossed with Patrick Henry’s image.”

Furthermore, the Henry quotation uses ellipses to join together two ideas that Henry expressed days apart. Henry spoke about guarding “the public liberty” on June 5, 1788 at the Virginia Ratifying Convention. His comments about arms, which appear distorted in Loesch’s book, occurred on June 14 at the same convention.

THOMAS PAINE

Loesch:

"Arms… discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were [the law-abiding] deprived the use of them." —Thomas Paine

Actual Quote (Emphasis Added To Highlight Deleted Portions):

"… arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them …”

The quote cited by Loesch is taken from “Thoughts on Defensive War,” which was published in Pennsylvania Magazine in the early months of the Revolutionary War in 1775. It was “probably" written by Paine.

As the essay’s title suggests, it is about armed conflict between nations and how a religious Quaker should respond to British aggression, not private ownership of firearms. Where Loesch’s book uses brackets to say Paine wrote about “the law-abiding,” Paine actually wrote, “one half the world,” an allusion to his argument that nations that failed to possess arms would be overrun by those who did.

h/t: Timothy Johnson at MMFA

Happy Constitution Day! The Constitution is 226 years old, and is the oldest written constitution still in use today. It is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. You can see a high-res image and read a transcript of the Constitution here: http://go.usa.gov/D5VR

Top Five Facts about the Constitution!

Five: The Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures. It takes about 30 minutes to read.

Four: Two of the first 12 amendments submitted were rejected; the remaining ten became the Bill of Rights.

Three: The Chief Justice is mentioned in the Constitution, but the number of Justices is not specified.

Two: Only one amendment to the Constitution has been repealed: the 18th (Prohibition).

One: The Constitution does not give us our rights and liberties, but it does guarantee them.

For more Constitution myth busting, read today’s blog post: http://go.usa.gov/D5kJ

Useless shooting

As a result of the Second Amendment the US authorities at all levels are faced with the need to regulate complex issues, and when they can’t cope with the solution of this problem, it leads to the most negative consequences for law enforcement and public safety, often disturbing undeniable and universal right to life and personal safety. Such situation puts the desirability of maintaining the action of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the US under serious doubt.

image

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[HT: Rare]

Americangunfacts.com recently released an info-graphic with some shocking stats about guns in the United States. Shocking, if you are a liberal of course.

[citations in link above]

Important note:

It is dubious and unconstitutional for any level of government to require its citizens to purchase anything—be it firearms or health insurance.

But the point of the Kennesaw, Georgia, example isn’t the ethics of that policy but the implications of its effectiveness.

Just so we’re clear. ;)

Shooters Grill

A waitress at the Shooters Grill, a restaurant that encourages open carry, also has the staff engage in the practice as well. Any waitresses who do open carry at work are required to take handgun classes and be proficient with their weapon. No alcohol is served at the restaurant, but they are well known for their burgers which play on the gun theme with menu items named the “Guac 9” and “Swiss and Wesson”.

Source

The California Supreme Court has ruled that the silence of suspects can be used against them.

Wading into a legally tangled vehicular manslaughter case, a sharply divided high court on Thursday effectively reinstated the felony conviction of a man accused in a 2007 San Francisco Bay Area crash that left an 8-year-old girl dead and her sister and mother injured.

Richard Tom was sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter after authorities said he was speeding and slammed into another vehicle at a Redwood City intersection.

Prosecutors repeatedly told jurors during the trial that Tom’s failure to ask about the victims immediately after the crash but before police read him his so-called Miranda rights showed his guilt.

Legal analysts said the ruling could affect future cases, allowing prosecutors to exploit a suspect’s refusal to talk before invoking 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

"It’s a bad and questionable decision," said Dennis Fischer, a longtime criminal appellate lawyer.

Tom’s attorney Marc Zilversmit said he is deciding whether to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue or renew his arguments in the state court of appeal.

"It’s a very dangerous ruling," Zilversmit said. "If you say anything to the police, that can be used against you. Now, if you don’t say anything before you are warned of your rights, that too can be used against you."

The state Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling said Tom needed to explicitly assert his right to remain silent — before he was read his Miranda rights — for the silence to be inadmissible in court.

http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/court-silence-can-be-used-against-suspects

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225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

On September 9, 1789, the Senate passed a resolution that included all of the Senate revisions to the House proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution was made from this document, often referred to as the Senate Mark-up of the Bill of Rights. 

This document captures the process of the Senate’s debate over the the House passed amendments to the Constitution from August 25 until September 9. The printed text represents the work done in the House as it hammered out the proposed amendments from July to August. The handwritten annotations describe the work done in the Senate. The mark-up illustrates how the Senate sharpened the language of the amendments, eliminated some articles, and combined clauses to reduce the seventeen House amendments to twelve. 

On September 25, Congress passed 12 amendments that were sent to the states for approval. Ten of the amendments were ratified by the required three-fourths of the states and became part of the Constitution in 1791. These first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

Senate Revisions to the House Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, 9/1789, Records of the U.S. Senate (NAID 3535588)

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