constitutional-rights

Early in the course of the trial, Black Panther Party activist Bobby Seale was denied his constitutional right to counsel of his choice and was thereafter illegally denied his right to defend himself.  Seale requested that the trial be postponed so that his attorney Charles Garry could represent him (as Garry was about to undergo gallbladder surgery). The Judge denied the postponement, and refused to allow Seale to represent himself. Seale vehemently protested the Judge’s illegal and unconstitutional actions, and argued that the Judge’s actions were not only illegal, but also racist. The Judge in turn accused Seale of disrupting the court, and on October 29, Judge Hoffman ordered Bobby Seale to be bound, gagged, and chained to a chair.  For several days Seale appeared in court bound and gagged before the jury, struggling to get free and managing to make muffled sounds. 

Bobby Seale was one of the original “Chicago Eight” defendants charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot, in the wake of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, in Chicago.

Excuse me, but

What part of

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.

Sounds like “Congress shall make no law, except if, you know, the law applies to non-citizens. Then Congress should feel free to abuse their power and restrict rights all they want.”

I’ll give you a hint.

NONE OF IT SOUNDS LIKE THAT!

The constitution and bill of rights is a list of restrictions on the government and those restrictions don’t stop applying just because the people in question are not citizens of our country. 

Did you suddenly forget that rights aren’t given by the government? They are only protected by it? The government can’t restrict those rights without grievously violating the constitution and saying “well they can do it because the people whose rights they are violating aren’t citizens” is not a slippery slope I want to start down.

So, no, the government does not have the right to restrict immigration based on religion or ban the practice of, or belief in, a religion.

And yeah, I’m hella combative over the upholding of the constitution and the protecting of our rights. 

So @aeolusshrugged, go away.

Widows and Spinsters 

Before the 19th Amendment granted women voting rights in 1920, this 1888 resolution proposed voting rights for widows and spinsters only, suggesting that married women were “represented” by their husbands. 

Part serious and part mocking, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton testified to Congress, stating, “they are industrious, common-sense women … who love their country (having no husbands to love) better than themselves.” 

H.J. Res. 159 proposing an amendment to the Constitution to extend the right to vote to widows and spinsters who are property holders, endorsed April 30, 1888, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

Learn more about the “Amending America” exhibit 

The First Amendment does not protect you from:

  • Criticism: If you’re a comedian who makes a bad rape joke, people are allowed to point out that you’re not funny as well as an asshole.
  • Shame: If you tweet something racist about President Obama on your public Twitter account that’s connected to your first and last name, people are allowed to say that is bad.
  • The Right to Anonymity: If you take creepy photos of women without their consent and post them on Reddit, people are allowed to try and figure out who you are and post your information on the internet. No one is entitled to anonymity. It’s up to you whether to make it easy for people to find you.
  • Mockery: If you put yourself out there that means your peers (and news outlets) have the right to LOL and comment.
  • Consequences: If you publicly express yourself in a manner that is offensive, hurtful, or just plain dumb, strangers might contact your friends/family/school/employer and tell them what you did. That is not infringing on your right to free speech; it’s pointing out how you choose to exercise that right. Like the rest of the federal constitution, the First Amendment protects us from the government, not from private companies, which may be able to fire or otherwise punish you for stuff you say, even if it’s outside of work. The laws protecting the free speech of private employees vary from state to state, aside from specifically protected speech like labor organizing. Here are some guidelines for public employees and students.

via An Idiot’s Guide to Free Speech

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Today in #FergusonOctober (10.22.14): Day 75 and the resistance continues. After being denied entrance to a public meeting, protesters in St Louis occupy the county police headquarters, demanding justice for Mike Brown and for their constitutional right to assemble peacefully AND their rights as citizens to attend/participate in local government. This is power in action. This is a movement. #staywoke #farfromover

Seriously, the image of bdoulaoblongata is one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen. It’s been 75 days. Where has there even been a glimmer of justice in Ferguson? The pain is real.

@aeolusshrugged replied to your post “@aeolusshrugged replied to your post “Excuse me, but”No, US civil law…”

No, they are not necessarily tried using US law, sometimes they are tried in their own country, sometimes not. They are more often tried in the US if the case involves more serious crimes, but not always

They can be extradited, but they are not always. And therefore, US Civil Law DOES apply to foreigners. 

And, again, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are not US Civil Law. They are statements of restrictions on the power of the government, not restrictions on individuals. 

Palestinians understand, from so fucking far away, that this is RACISM.
And so many fuckwads in the United States do NOT.

A lot of my family in Mexico was so shocked to hear me say that I hate the United States while I was there visiting them last month. “How could you hate the United States?”

Well this is how. The US is fucked, and almost everyone can see it except for the fucking US.

Ohio public school brainwashes 8 year olds: "Rights are special privileges the government gives you."

So much for “inalienable rights” that are “endowed by our Creator”! The public school district of Fairfield in Butler County, Ohio is teaching students that rights come from the government.  

Just look at this homework assignment posted on Facebook by one concerned father:

“Rights are special privileges the government gives you.”
“Because the government gives us rights, we have the duty to be good citizens.”
“Someday you will be given the right to vote.”

Here’s what Andrew Washburn, the parent who posted the assignment on Facebook, had to say:

So Emma brought home a very interesting handout from school the other day. So informative! I didn’t know that our rights come from the government! Thank you, government! And thank you, public schools, for teaching my eight year old daughter all about her rights! You see, I know how important it is to get to children early in their lives and make sure they understand how it is in the world. Otherwise their impressionable minds might be corrupted by falsehoods like the idea that our rights come from our Creator and that we are born with them. That, obviously, would be unacceptable. I mean, next we would have, what? People going to church wherever they wanted? Criticizing the President? Where would it end?! It’d be mass hysteria, just like with those clowns back in 1776!

So, again, I just feel so grateful to live in a country whose leaders have generously granted my rights, and even more grateful that they make sure my children know where those rights came from!

The whole point of “inalienable rights” as opposed to the government granting rights is that government can’t take away inalienable rights.  They are inherent.  They are given to you by the Creator. Our founders write this into the Declaration of Independence. The US Constitution lays out limitations on the government, not the citizens.  The entire point of our nation’s revolution and founding was to fight back against an oppressive government that infringed upon the rights of the people.

Liberal Progressives want children to grow up believing that they get their rights from the government because that belief lessens the opposition when government tries to take those rights away.

theguardian.com
The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.

  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.

  • Shackling for prolonged periods.

  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.

  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.

“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.

Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.

“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.

Chicago civil-rights attorney Flint Taylor said Homan Square represented a routinization of a notorious practice in local police work that violates the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution.

“This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years,” Taylor said, “of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement.”

Much remains hidden about Homan Square. The Chicago police department has not responded to any of the Guardian’s recent questions – neither about any aspect of operations at Homan Square, nor about the Guardian’s investigation of Richard Zuley, the retired Chicago detective turned Guantánamo Bay torturer. (On Monday evening, it instead provided a statement to MSNBC regarding the Guardian’s Zuley investigation: “The vast majority of our officers serve the public with honor and integrity,” said the statement, adding that the department “has zero tolerance for misconduct, and has instituted a series of internal initiatives and reforms, to ensure past incidents of police misconduct are not repeated”. Without providing any specifics, it claimed “the allegations in this instance are not supported by the facts.”)

When a Guardian reporter arrived at the warehouse on Friday, a man at the gatehouse outside refused any entrance and would not answer questions. “This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here,” said the man, who refused to give his name.

A former Chicago police superintendent and a more recently retired detective, both of whom have been inside Homan Square in the last few years in a post-police capacity, said the police department did not operate out of the warehouse until the late 1990s.

But in detailing episodes involving their clients over the past several years, lawyers described mad scrambles that led to the closed doors of Homan Square, a place most had never heard of previously. The facility was even unknown to Rob Warden, the founder of Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, until the Guardian informed him of the allegations of clients who vanish into inherently coercive police custody.

“They just disappear,” said Anthony Hill, a criminal defense attorney, “until they show up at a district for charging or are just released back out on the street.”

Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. Church says officers cuffed him to a bench for an estimated 17 hours, intermittently interrogating him without reading his Miranda rights to remain silent. It would take another three hours – and an unusual lawyer visit through a wire cage – before he was finally charged with terrorism-related offenses at the nearby 11th district station, where he was made to sign papers, fingerprinted and photographed.

In preparation for the Nato protest, Church, who is from Florida, had written a phone number for the National Lawyers Guild on his arm as a precautionary measure. Once taken to Homan Square, Church asked explicitly to call his lawyers, and said he was denied.

“Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make any contact with anybody,” Church told the Guardian, in contradiction of a police guidance on permitting phone calls and legal counsel to arrestees.

Church’s left wrist was cuffed to a bar behind a bench in windowless cinderblock cell, with his ankles cuffed together. He remained in those restraints for about 17 hours.

“I had essentially figured, ‘All right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again,’” Church said.

Though the raid attracted major media attention, a team of attorneys could not find Church through 12 hours of “active searching”, Sarah Gelsomino, Church’s lawyer, recalled. No booking record existed. Only after she and others made a “major stink” with contacts in the offices of the corporation counsel and Mayor Rahm Emanuel did they even learn about Homan Square.

They sent another attorney to the facility, where he ultimately gained entry, and talked to Church through a floor-to-ceiling chain-link metal cage. Finally, hours later, police took Church and his two co-defendants to a nearby police station for booking.

After serving two and a half years in prison, Church is currently on parole after he and his co-defendants were found not guilty in 2014 of terrorism-related offenses but guilty of lesser charges of possessing an incendiary device and the misdemeanor of “mob action”.

The access that Nato Three attorneys received to Homan Square was an exception to the rule, even if Jacob Church’s experience there was not.

Three attorneys interviewed by the Guardian report being personally turned away from Homan Square between 2009 and 2013 without being allowed access to their clients. Two more lawyers who hadn’t been physically denied described it as a place where police withheld information about their clients’ whereabouts. Church was the only person who had been detained at the facility who agreed to talk with the Guardian: their lawyers say others fear police retaliation.

One man in January 2013 had his name changed in the Chicago central bookings database and then taken to Homan Square without a record of his transfer being kept, according to Eliza Solowiej of Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid. (The man, the Guardian understands, wishes to be anonymous; his current attorney declined to confirm Solowiej’s account.) She found out where he was after he was taken to the hospital with a head injury.

“He said that the officers caused his head injuries in an interrogation room at Homan Square. I had been looking for him for six to eight hours, and every department member I talked to said they had never heard of him,” Solowiej said. “He sent me a phone pic of his head injuries because I had seen him in a police station right before he was transferred to Homan Square without any.”

Bartmes, another Chicago attorney, said that in September 2013 she got a call from a mother worried that her 15-year-old son had been picked up by police before dawn. A sympathetic sergeant followed up with the mother to say her son was being questioned at Homan Square in connection to a shooting and would be released soon. When hours passed, Bartmes traveled to Homan Square, only to be refused entry for nearly an hour.

An officer told her, “Well, you can’t just stand here taking notes, this is a secure facility, there are undercover officers, and you’re making people very nervous,” Bartmes recalled. Told to leave, she said she would return in an hour if the boy was not released. He was home, and not charged, after “12, maybe 13” hours in custody.

On February 2, 2013, John Hubbard was taken to Homan Square. Hubbard never walked out. The Chicago Tribune reported that the 44-year old was found “unresponsive inside an interview room”, and pronounced dead. The Cook County medical examiner’s office could not locate any record for the Guardian indicating a cause of Hubbard’s death. It remains unclear why Hubbard was ever in police custody.

Homan Square is hardly concerned exclusively with terrorism. Several special units operate outside of it, including the anti-gang and anti-drug forces. If police “want money, guns, drugs”, or information on the flow of any of them onto Chicago’s streets, “they bring them there and use it as a place of interrogation off the books,” Hill said.

Regardless of departmental regulations, police frequently deny or elide access to lawyers even at regular police precincts, said Solowiej of First Defense Legal Aid. But she said the outright denial was exacerbated at Chicago’s secretive interrogation and holding facility: “It’s very, very rare for anyone to experience their constitutional rights in Chicago police custody, and even more so at Homan Square,” Solowiej said.

Church said that one of his more striking memories of Homan Square was the “big, big vehicles” police had inside the complex that “look like very large MRAPs that they use in the Middle East.”

Cook County, home of Chicago, has received some 1,700 pieces of military equipment from a much-criticized Pentagon program transferring military gear to local police. It includes a Humvee, according to a local ABC News report.

Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, said that Homan Square, as well as the unrelated case of ex-Guantánamo interrogator and retired Chicago detective Richard Zuley, showed the lines blurring between domestic law enforcement and overseas military operations.

“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Siska said.

“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”

thefederalist.com
Why Should Axing Due Process Stop With 2nd Amendment?
A list that stops you from boarding a plane today is a list that might deny you a license to drive, speak, or vote tomorrow.

…It doesn’t take a lot of effort to create a gedankenexpriment where the erosion of rights embodied in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments is the next stop on turning the Constitution into a Chinese menu where one party removes rights from Column A and the other from Column B. Just saying, “But guns…” doesn’t make it less dangerous.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches? Surely, these dangerous terror masterminds on the watch list should be monitored with warrantless wiretaps? Perhaps the FBI should install keyloggers on their computers, plant spyware on their phones, and monitor their private email and social-media messages? Why bother with a warrant or due process? They’re on the list. (As an aside, I’m old enough to remember when the Democrats viewed the National Security Agency’s programs to monitor potential terrorists as an impeachable offense and a profound affront to the Constitution.)

A great many men, no small number of them leftist lawyers, are apparently afraid that feminists are going to take their dirty pictures away from them. Anticipating the distress of forced withdrawal, they argue that feminists really must shut up about pornography— what it is, what it means, what to do about it— to protect what they call “freedom of speech. ” Our “strident” and “overwrought” antagonism to pictures that show women sexually violated and humiliated, bound, gagged, sliced up, tortured in a multiplicity of ways, “offends” the First Amendment. The enforced silence of women through the centuries has not. Some elementary observations are in order.

The Constitution of the United States was written exclusively by white men who owned land. Some owned black slaves, male and female. Many more owned white women who were also chattel.

The Bill of Rights was never intended to protect the civil or sexual rights of women and it has not, except occasionally by accident:

The Equal Rights Amendment, which would, as a polite afterthought, extend equal protection under the law such as it is to women, is not yet part of the Constitution. There is good reason to doubt that it will be in the foreseeable future.

The government in all its aspects— legislative, executive, judicial, enforcement— has been composed almost exclusively of men. Even juries, until very recently, were composed almost entirely of men. Women have had virtually nothing to do with either formulating or applying laws on obscenity or anything else. In the arena of political power, women have been effectively silenced.

… In most instances, women have been deprived of the opportunity even to formulate, let alone articulate or spread, values that contradict those of the male. The attempts that we make are both punished and ridiculed. Women of supreme strength who have lived in creative opposition to the male cultural values of their day have been written out of history— silenced.

gofundme.com
Support Overturning 18 USC 922(o) & NFA by Stephen Stamboulieh

My name is Stephen Stamboulieh.  I am an attorney in Mississippi that has tirelessly worked to further our 2nd Amendment rights.  

Now, my sights are set on 18 USC sec 922(o).  This is known as the machinegun ban.  I don’t believe this is constitutional in light of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.    Likewise, the National Firearms Act (“NFA”), which taxes the making and transferring of Title II weapons (machineguns, suppressors, short barrel rifles, short barrel shotguns, etc) is ripe to be attacked on Second Amendment grounds.  

Game on, guys! Time to donate.