Liberty lovers like to think that our Constitutional rights are written in stone; that the Bill of Rights may be interpreted literally; that the meaning is plain as day. But when one thinks about this it soon becomes apparent that our Constitutional rights are open to question; the Bill of Rights is vulnerable.
Consider the First Amendment: Congress and state legislators are forever making laws respecting establishments of religion and prohibiting the free exercise thereof. They’ve enshrined a government God in this nation – the God of the Holy Bible. They frequently pass laws prohibiting free exercise of religion, e.g. laws prohibiting polygamy. They routinely make “exceptions” to freedom of speech; incarcerate press reporters for doing their jobs, and, when it suits them, restricting the right of the people to peaceably assemble.
Consider the Second Amendment: If the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, period, how is it that the government can deny that right to some people, e.g. children; the mentally incompetent; felons, etc? Where does the government obtain the constitutional authority to ban brass knuckles; assault rifles; hand grenades and machine guns?
Consider the Third Amendment: The U.S. has been waging a war on terror and a war on drugs for decades now so that there exists no time of peace. Consequently, the government might get away with passing laws allowing soldiers to be quartered in your house. It’s possible.
Consider the Fourth Amendment: There is little doubt that today, in many instances, it is no longer the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure;Warrants based upon probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized are routinely ignored. This Amendment in the Bill of Rights has become a joke.
Consider the Fifth Amendment: Grand juries are not always employed to charge persons with capital or otherwise infamous crimes, especially at the state level. People are routinely compelled in criminal cases to be witnesses against themselves. And, it isn’t unusual at all when persons are deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; or their private property taken for public use, without just compensation.
Consider the Sixth Amendment: In some criminal prosecutions today, the accused languishes in jail for years without a speedy trial. Exceptions have been carved out of a defendant’s right to be confronted with the witnesses against him as well as the right to compulsory process of obtaining witnesses and assistance of counsel.
Consider the Seventh Amendment: Today, there is no right to a trial by jury in small claims courts, where the amount in controversy far exceeds $20, and judges are overruling fact findings by juries whenever it pleases them to do so.
Consider the Eighth Amendment: Judges, for the purpose of keeping the accused confined in prison before trial, routinely set bail much higher than what a defendant can pay. Whether a fine is “excessive” or not is up in the air. In many cases the government is torturing prisoners today and getting away with it.
Consider the Ninth Amendment: According to some SCOTUS justices, if the claimed right is not set forth verbatim in the Constitution, it doesn’t exist. It’s as though the Ninth Amendment in the Bill of Rights doesn’t exist.
Consider the Tenth Amendment: The United States Government – all three branches -- is constantly exercising powers not delegated to it by the Constitution; constantly ignoring states rights; and routinely encroaching upon the rights of the people. It’s all a matter of interpretation.
It’s a fact: The Bill of Rights is vulnerable.