06.19.2014 2

Stuart Smalley v. the First Amendment

stuart_smalleyBy Rick Manning

This is not a joke.

The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, led by Saturday Night Live comedian turned politician Al Franken, voted unanimously against the exact language contained in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  This marks perhaps the first time elected officials have officially voted against the basic freedoms that have been the backbone of our individual liberties for more than 225 years.

The Subcommittee’s website claims that their jurisdiction is:  “(1) Constitutional amendments; (2) Enforcement and protection of constitutional rights; (3) Statutory guarantees of civil rights and civil liberties; (4) Separation of powers; (5) Federal-State relations; (6) Interstate compacts; (7) Human rights laws and practices; (8) Enforcement and implementation of human rights laws.”

Apparently, the Democrats who voted against the First Amendment did not read their own website as their efforts to overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision overturning onerous restrictions on political free speech go directly counter to their mission statement to enforce and protect constitutional rights.

Rather than accept the Court’s decision or waiting for a future Court to review it, Senate Democrats are moving forward with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would specifically allow Congress to make laws that restrict the right to petition the government under the dubious, newly created “fundamental principle of political equality for all.”

This idea of political equality for all is at its core an allowance for Congress to prohibit any political activity that it deemed to be above and beyond what the least interested and involved person might engage in.

This differs from the core First Amendment principle that everyone has the positive right to redress their grievances with the government as it would allow Congress to determine and define what the government itself deemed to be reasonable actions of redress that ensured political equality.

This concept of the government determining the level, if any, redress that will be allowed turns the entire concept of petitioning the federal government for redress on its head.

The moment elected officials empower themselves to dictate the means of seeking change in policy, the ability to create change is eviscerated, and it is that very political speech that the First Amendment protects.

The Democrats destruction of American political freedom amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 19, now moves to the full Judiciary Committee where it is expected to pass on a partisan vote.  The Resolution is not expected to meet the threshold for amending the Constitution on the floor of the Senate which requires a 2/3 majority of 67 votes.

Senator Ted Cruz, the brilliant defender of Constitutional freedoms, is expected to continue fighting against the Democratic Party partisan power play by forcing every Democrat to go on record voting against the language contained in the First Amendment as the process allows.  Cruz summarized his beliefs at the hearing saying, ““I have more faith in the Bill of Rights than I do any elected official.”

To that I say, Amen Senator Cruz, Amen.  Unfortunately Stuart Smalley doesn’t agree.

Rick Manning is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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