The U.S. Constitution is one of the most well-crafted and revered governmental documents in all of the world’s history. That, however, does not stop ill-intended and/or ill-informed lawyers, lawmakers, and judges from twisting its intended purpose. By the same token, I am clearly a novice when it comes to Constitutional interpretation, so I will offer this question for your consideration. It’s a very basic question, but arguably, it is brought to the forefront regularly and subtly by American liberals – most recently and notably at Columbia University. The question is this – who is protected by the U.S. Constitution or (stated another way) who is protected by the liberties it affords?
The stunt conducted at Columbia earlier this week and whether or not it should have been allowed to occur will be argued ad infinitum. Personally, I think it was a huge mistake and had many to blame for allowing it to occur – not the least of which was Lee Bollinger (Columbia’s president), George W. Bush, our State Department, Eliot Spitzer (NY governor), and Michael Bloomberg (NYC mayor). Certainly Bush, Spitzer, and/or Bloomberg could have exhibited some common sense and backbone by just saying “No – it’s not going to happen”. Bollinger exacerbated the issue by following his mindless/spineless decision to invite the Muslim Hitler with a verbal assault that should have been invoked when the question of the invitation was first entertained. BTW, in addition to being spineless, where in the world does Bollinger get a haircut like the one he was sporting?
The issue that seems lost in the debate has been echoed by every academician, Democrat, and liberal journalist (yes, it’s redundant) – it was the assumption that this “right” for Mahmoud al Hitler to speak was a constitutional right protected by the 1st Amendment. This gets back to my original question of who, in fact, is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Is it for U.S. citizens? Is it for anyone who steps foot in this country, no matter what their status? Is if for anyone that speaks to a U.S. citizen, no matter where the conversation occurs?
Examining the Constitution, we find multiple references that would seem, to the novice, to be clear about who it serves. Those occurrences include the following:
The preamble to our Constitution appears to set the tone in answering this question. It reads “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The phrases “… to ourselves and our Posterity” as well as “… for the United States of America” would seem to be supportive of what would have been the presumed and logical answer to this question.
Articles I and II are clear in limiting eligibility, at a minimum, to citizens of the United States in terms of who is eligible to serve as President, Representatives, and Senators – this, BTW, should be a reminder to the citizens of Ohio and Texas that Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul are rumored to be from Mars.
Addressing the role of States, Article IV, Section 2 states that
“The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States”.
Attempting to ensure that because certain rights may not have been enumerated in the Bill of Rights and should still be protected, the 9th Amendment states
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people“ – another direct reference to the “people”.
Possibly the most important reference is in the 14th Amendment’s 1st paragraph which states,
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws“ (underscore added).
I’ll end my novice constitutional interpretation here, but it seems abundantly clear to my non-elitist mind that the claim that al Hitler had 1st Amendment right of free speech is as much a falsehood as saying the 1st Amendment calls for “separation of church and state” (and it doesn’t)! Stated in full, the 1st 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.”
Moreover, and although limited in the number of references, it seems clear that the Constitution as a whole affords structure, rules, and protection for the citizens of the United States – and no others! Sorry Mahmoud, Mr. Bollinger, Alan Colmes, et al – there is no provision for honoring thy enemy.
That said, it is my contention that the 1st Amendment provision of “free speech” at the Columbia University stunt was, in actuality, only available to the American citizens in the hall – even the imbeciles that applauded al Hitler. It is essential for all Americans, particularly liberals and gullible students, to understand that freedom does not and has not come without a price. It has been earned many times over and must always be safeguarded. When the freedoms of speech and assembly are abused as they were this week, the abuse serves only to strengthen those that seek to remove our freedoms. The only person that benefited from that stunt was al Hitler – we didn’t learn anything about this pitiful excuse for a human being that we didn’t already know. Our constitution may protect our rights to make irresponsible statements, but it does not protect us from the consequences that they may engender. It is so ironic that intelligent use of our freedoms is so widely abused and misunderstood at our institutions that claim to be about “higher learning”. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change as long as the moronic, drug-weary hippies of the 60’s and 70’s dominate our university faculties and administrations.
By Rick who is On the Right Side of the IssuesU.S. Constitution, American liberals, Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, George W. Bush, Eliot Spitzer, Michael Bloomberg, Muslim Hitler, 1st Amendment, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Bill of Rights, right of free speech