April Fools: Constitution just a Suggestion

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I promise to keep politics out of any writing I do on here, but this goes beyond politics to plain and simple factual conflict with our Constitution. The Internets and sites like digg and Reddit have already been going ablaze with this, so perhaps you’ve already seen it, but here it is again: This recent Executive Order by President Bush on 17 July 2007 effectively repeals the 5th Amendment to the constitution.

Here is the 5th Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

And here is a summary of what this new Executive Order states:

  • Section 1. The government may freeze and seize all assets of any person that has committed or might commit an act which undermines our Iraq efforts.
  • Section 2. It is prohibited to act counter to this order if you are one of the people targeted by it.
  • Section 3. This applies to anyone on US-controlled territory (including foreign locations), US Citizen or not.
  • Section 4. To deal with any such person targeted by this order is prohibited.
  • Section 5. The government does not have to tell you, or anyone that you have been targeted by this order.
  • Section 6. Powers to enforce this order may be delegated to any arm of the US Government.

That is my summary of the order. If you want to view the full text of it, follow the link above.

When I have children one day and they are growing up in school, I hope that, like other great democratic nations of the world, we are still able to teach them about the inherent rights and protections from abuse of power our democratic system affords them. But if Congress continues to allow the Executive Branch to toss the Constitution out the window bit by bit – due process, protection against unreasonable seizure, habeas corpus – then I fear they will grow up with the twisted belief that these fundamental rights were somehow Achilles heels in the fight for stability and security, not realizing that the enforcement of these rights are the very definition of stability and security.

Update: Pardon the early-morning politics outburst. They happen.