In my last article I gave a listing of what the seven Articles and the first ten Amendments (the Bill of Rights) of the American Constitution were about. Since the Bill of Rights, seventeen Amendments have been added in the years 1795 – 1992 to the American Constitution.
The American Constitution gives the Senate only the power of impeachment. All bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives and then, if passed, the bills go to the Senate for their vote. The Senate may propose or concur with Amendments to revenue bills as on other bills. After passage by both the Senate and the House, all bills then go to the President for his signature or veto.
Congress has the power to tax and collect taxes, duties, imports and excises, and to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. Congress also is to regulate commerce, to establish uniform rules of naturalization and bankruptcy, coin money, provide for the punishment of counterfeiters, establish post offices and post roads, promote the progress of science and useful arts, to constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court, to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, declare war, and to raise and support armies and a navy.
In Article II of the Constitution, the President is given the power of Commander in Chief of the army and navy and the militia of the States, when called into active duty, shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment, to make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint ambassadors, public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court and all other officers of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate, and to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.
Article III of the Constitution states Judicial Power of the United States is vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The power of the Supreme Court shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties.
Nowhere in the Powers of Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court will you find anyone with the authority to interpret any word or phrase in the Constitution. Every word is to be enforced as written, and if the meaning of a word is not known, they are supposed to look up the meaning in the dictionary. There is no legal way that a person’s personal feelings can be used to bend a law or word to fit what someone would like for it to read.
The only legal way to change any word or phrase in the Constitution is found in Article V. The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to the Constitution; or the legislatures of two-thirds of the States can call a convention for proposing an amendment to the Constitution. It becomes a part of the Constitution when ratified by three fourths of the States.
There was an important purpose for everything that was put in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Americans who wrote the contents had suffered through tyranny and hoped to not have to suffer through it again. Some of the amendments that followed the Bill of Rights can be said to also give freedom to various other American citizens.
The main parts of the Constitution and the Amendments to the Constitution under attack today are the First Amendment, Second Amendment, and Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The words “separation of church and state” are not found in the Constitution anywhere. At the time, England had an established official church and their citizens paid taxes to support the Church of England, even though they might be Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian or some other denominations. So this prevented the establishment of a denomination as the state religion. The next part of the First Amendment states, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Therefore, since prayer, Christmas, Easter and the Ten Commandments are not exclusive to any denomination, it seems banning them is in effect sanctioning atheism as the official religion, which is unconstitutional.
The last part of the First Amendment states “or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” I may not always agree with what you say when you speak or write, but you have the same right as I do to express your feelings.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened to investigate and harass banks and insurance companies who do business with the National Rifle Association (NRA), in a move to bankrupt the organization. This is clearly unconstitutional, and now the NRA is suing him in court. In California, the State tried to ban the publication and sale of magazines written about certain types of firearms. This is clearly an invasion of freedom of press, as the court ruled.
Some groups and speakers are being banned from college campuses in some states if their policy is not that of the administration, and some students have been threatened with being expelled from school over the free speech issue.
As far as freedom to assemble, it says peacefully. Looting, rioting, burning and such are illegal.
Section 1 of the XIV Amendment states “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The XIII Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.
In passing Amendment XIV, they were making sure state laws could not be passed to override the laws of the American Constitution, and that the Constitution took precedent over state law. In doing so, it not only covered the XIII Amendment, but the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment to the American Constitution is the part of the Constitution that is constantly attacked today.
The Second Amendment is clearly written as follows, “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.” Some try to say that it only applies to the militia. That is not what it says; it says “the right of the people.”
Let us look up some words from the Second Amendment in Webster’s New World College Dictionary. It says the original definition of the word militia is “any military force composed of citizens rather than professional soldiers, called up in time of emergency.”
The writers of the Constitution knew what they were writing when they used the word people in the Second Amendment. The first six words to the Preamble to the Constitution read “We the people of the United States.” The dictionary defines people as “a group of persons with common traditions, historical, or cultural ties. The dictionary states bear means “to hold and take along; carry; transport” and to bear arms means “to carry or be equipped with weapons as in preparing for war.” The last part of the Second Amendment reads “shall not be infringed.” The dictionary says infringe means “to break off, break, impair, violate, to break a law or agreement, to fail to observe the terms of, to break in or, trespass on, or to trespass on.”
The words “shall not” remind me of what I have seen on many church bulletins that say “What part of thou shall not, do you not understand. Signed, God.”
There has already been a U. S. Supreme Court decision that the Second Amendment applies to the people and not reserved only to a militia. Also, another U. S. Supreme Court decision was that arms mentioned in the Second Amendment allows possession of guns and ammunition in common use.
Don’t forget the statement by President George Washington that I wrote about previously, George Washington said, “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance, they are the peoples’ liberty teeth.”
Anyone with any information or comments may contact me at Edward Oliver, P. O. Box 456, Norris City, IL 62869 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.