View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, September 05, 2003

If Only They Meant It

Colorado passed a law last year requiring the school day to start with the Pledge of Allegiance. The ACLU and the Left opposed this for All the Usual Reasons: kids who want to make a show of "independent thought" will get teased, it uses the word "God," and other traumas. Naturally, some judge agreed with them, and our students have been spared the horrors of honoring their country each morning. The matter is still in court.

In the meantime, the Green Party of Colorado, never a strong voice in the state's politics, has suggested that the legislature begin the day with a reading of the Bill of Rights. They want to connect this with the Pledge, supposedly to remind the Legislature each morning about the First Amendment, and their tenuous assumptions about what it means.

The irony, of course, is that the Bill of Rights doesn't stop at one. It includes a great many things that the Greens don't like very much. There's the Second Amendment. Most Greens oppose guns. There's the takings section of the Fifth Amendment. And of course, those nettlesome Ninth and Tenth Amendments, reminding us that the list isn't complete, and that the Federales only get what the States give them. Here, for the benefit of the Green Party, is the whole Bill of Rights. Learn it by heart, Greenies, especially that part in the Fifth Amendment about property.

Amendment I

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.

Amendment II

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.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

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 offense 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.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

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