Hillary’s War on the Bill of Rights

To the surprise of exactly no one, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech was mainly the same old plodding boilerplate that she has been droning on about for decades. But it’s worth going through, because underneath it all lies a collection of truly awful ideas. Not least among them is an assault on the Bill of Rights.


Let’s begin by using the transcript of the speech published by the NY Times.


“My primary mission as President” said Mrs. Clinton, “will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States. From my first day in office to my last!”


This would come as quite a surprise to the Founders because among other things, they had more important things to do than dream up mission statements with the help of focus groups. Instead, they cut right to the chase. Here, for example, is what the Presidential oath of office actually says:


“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


This is no small point inasmuch as the Democratic Convention delegates decided to wrap themselves in faux fealty to the Constitution. For example, the NY Times correctly describes Khizr Khan as the most powerful speaker at the convention. Mr. Khan, a Muslim American who lost his son, an Army Captain, in the Iraq war, issued a strong rebuttal to Donald Trump when he pulled a copy of the Constitution out of his pocket and said “Mr. Trump have you even read the Constitution?”


The same question may be asked of Hillary Clinton, graduate of Yale Law school.


Nowhere for instance does the U.S. Constitution refer to creating “good jobs with rising wages”. But it does refer to freedom of speech, religion and assembly. Specifically the First Amendment reads:


“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.”


That simply will not do in Hillary Clinton’s America. She promises to change the First Amendment to overturn Citizens United so that incumbents can regulate the political speech of their adversaries. Actually she hasn’t even bothered to wait for a Constitutional amendment. She (like Donald Trump) has already begun to use government power to silence adversaries.


As Judge Andrew Napolitano has pointed out, the prohibition against using government power to silence free speech is universally understood to refer to all agencies and branches of government, not just the Congress. And yet, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump used the Secret Service illegally during their respective conventions to harass and silence dissenters.


Here is an excerpt from Judge Napolitano describing the situation:

“…When the Republican leadership wanted to quell a “Never Trump” boomlet on the convention floor, it had the Secret Service remove all reporters and producers — including some of my Fox News colleagues — from the floor. And when the Democratic leadership wanted to silence a pro-Bernie Sanders onslaught on the convention floor, it had the Secret Service confiscate Sanders placards from delegates on the floor.”


So both the Republican and Democratic nominees used the Secret Service as a private security force to quash dissent under the pretext of maintaining security for nominees who were not being threatened.


The 1st amendment, which Justice Brennan described as foundational, is not the only one to which Hillary Clinton is hostile.


She has no intention of defending the 2nd amendment, which guarantees the right of a citizen to bear arms. Neither is she a fan of the 4th amendment, which guarantees the right of people to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. For example, Time magazine reports that she has called for more surveillance of social media and those who travel “to countries with a terrorist presence.” That encompasses roughly every country in the world.


It is also difficult to imagine Hillary Clinton coming to the defense of the takings clause of the 5th amendment. That clause reads:
“…[No person] shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”


When asked about the use of eminent domain, Clinton’s campaign responded as follows: “… she will pull together all agencies with project permitting and eminent domain authority to pursue a comprehensive strategy for modernizing America’s energy that creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves safety and powers a 21st century economy. This whole-of-government strategy will streamline an inefficient and patchwork permitting process while respecting landowners’ property rights and improving transparency and public participation.” (Emphasis added).


Let’s translate this into English. Government, in the name of efficiency, (Seriously?), will grab private property while “respecting” landowners’ property rights. Nowhere does she say that landowners will be justly compensated as the law demands. And there is a good reason why she doesn’t. Regulatory takings made without any compensation, much less just compensation, are an integral part of the Administrative state because they disguise the cost of a whole host of policies that depend on these takings, especially environmental policies.


Nor has Mrs. Clinton voiced any disapproval over the summary execution of U.S. citizens who find themselves on the Presidential “kill list” that authorizes drone strikes around the world. And yes, there is a “kill list” that has been implemented and reported in the NY Times, the New Yorker, and the Huffington Post, among others.


So it goes for the 5th amendment.


Then there is the 6th amendment, which guarantees, “…The accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…” So that amendment goes out the window with the 5th unless you believe that being placed on a Presidential “kill list” constitutes a speedy and fair public trial. As progressives apparently do.


The 10th amendment, part of the architecture of federalism, reserves to the States or the people powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution. Hillary Clinton’s plan for “free college” for students in families making under $125,000 turns state university systems into wholly owned subsidiaries of the federal government. In fact her desire for an expansion of the cradle-to-grave welfare state is nothing less than an attempt to further centralize policy and power in the hands of Washington, and is an affront to federalism. So out goes the 10th amendment.


And we haven’t even had a chance to consider the merits of her policy proposals.


That will have to come later.


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