posted by NGC2736
I pose this question. I do not think I veer off topic since this discussion centers on the rights of ex-felons. The case may seem clearer for gun
ownership, considering the potential for violence, but what of the right to vote? This is a less perilous thing than gun ownership, yet it too is
regularly denied to ex-felons.
Where, in word or spirit of the Constitution, does the governing body of these states have the right to disenfranchise a segment of the population,
once the 'debt' to society is paid?
The large number of ex-felons leaves a significant portion of our society without a voice in their governance, irrespective of the original offense.
[Edited by Don W]
Con. Law 101. If I may presume . . .
There was no national or American citizenship until the 14th Amendment became effective on July 28, 1868.
Arguably the most important amendment
of all. We really ought to celebrate that day! Citizenship Day.
Southern mentality really does not accept the concept to this very day. The
struggle that begun between Jefferson and Hamilton goes on. Strong central government versus weak central government. While that issue should have
been settled in the War of the Rebellion - Civil War in popular parlance - 1861-1865, that is a case of the Union wining the war but losing the peace.
Say Hello, Iraq! But I digress.
Amendment XIV Section 1. “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
within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
FYI, the use of the world “person
” in this amendment is the legal basis of Roe v. Wade, that case holding a fetus is not a person
under this amendment until it is born alive and therefore a fetus is not entitled to constitutional protections
All American states (except Louisiana and Hawaii) are English common law states or code states. In the case of code states, most of those states began
as common law states and usually have a saving clause referring back to the common law. English Common law - as opposed to French or Italian common
law - merely means that law common or customary in the vicinage. Your neighborhood. It may vary from place to place. It may vary in its application,
in its enforcement and in its punishments. My state of Ky for example, has a clause in its Constitution referring back to the “common law” of
England in 1607 as the basic law of the state, subject to modification by the legislature. Judges “find” common law by studying old cases. It is a
judicial process. Enough.
The United States of America OTOH, is a code institution. Not a common law institution. It is a government of delegated powers, specified powers,
enumerated powers. Not of inherent powers as in the case in common law.
From say 1880 to 1910, the Supreme Court was willing to grant almost unlimited economic powers to the central government in Washington. This was done
under an ultra broad interpretation of the commerce clause,
“Article I, Section 8. The Congress shall have power . . (3) to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the
Indian tribes; (18) To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested
by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”
The Supreme Court had said any scintilla of the commerce crossing a state line put it all under Federal jurisdiction. “Scintilla” is usually
defined as being 1% or more.
Individual states are permitted to make rules for who can vote in local elections, but the Federal government does make rules who votes in Federal
elections. Because the South has a “veto” in the Senate, it has been impossible to get a uniform voting eligibility act through Congress.
Unlimited debate. Formerly requiring 67 votes to stop - cloture - but reduced by LBJ to the current 60 votes, still a “super” majority. That means
41 senators can halt the legislative process in America. A compromise made in 1787 to slave holding states.
I’m sorry this got overlong. Read it or skip it.
[edit on 6/4/2007 by donwhite]