Originally posted by detachedindividual
Ok, I'm officially confused
If someone isn't
confused, they obviously don't follow the news.
There is a lot going on (and has gone on) that is not compatible with the Constitution, isn't there?
Absolutely. American presidents have played fast and loose with the constitution for a long time, but there has been a marked acceleration- arguably
an exponential one- during the last 3 administrations. This has included the dramatically increased use of presidential signing statements as a
defacto line item veto, (the line item veto was ruled unconstitutional in Clinton v City of New York
). Of course what is going on at Guantanamo
also comes to mind. The SCOTUS ruled in Hamdan v Rumsfeld
that the Geneva convention does apply to those taken in the War on Terror, and it
stands to reason that since treaties are entered into by supermajority that a law passable by simple majority, a signing statement, or any of the
other tactics so far attempted to get around that are legally insufficient to override the requirements of the Geneva Convention. I could go on at
great length but I won't, because there is a significant difference.
Most violations of the United States constitution are violations of Articles 1-4, 6 and Amendments 9 and 10. These are largely proceedural subversions
of the democratic process- the government performing functions it was not meant to perform or doing them without sufficient consent of the
What most people would consider to be their natural rights fall mainly under Amendments 1-8. Grave and widespread violation of these Amendments is
fairly rare in the US. These rights are arguably infringed in many cases, but more severe the breech, the less likely it is to be widespread.
The most widespread violation is probably that of Amendment 4 (prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure and requiring warrants), however most of us
either never experience it at all, suffer no damage as a result, or in the case of wire taps, simply never know that it happened at all.
I'm not defending those violations of our constitution or downplaying them. What I am pointing out is that the common violations are of a
substantially different character from those involved in imposing martial law, so there is really no reason for the government to be given the
impression that they could successfully impose martial law, despite their general success in violating our constitution.
The 100 mile Civil-Rights Free zone surely goes against the Constitution?
The ACLU has a tendency to ham it up in the press. If you get too close to the constitution with a lit cigarette, they scream fire. Good for them- I
think it's in my best interest for the most part; I just don't take everything they say at face value.
is that there is a 100 mile zone where the Border Patrol and
Customs agents are held to a looser definition of "unreasonable" as pertains to the 4th Amendment (governing unreasonable search and siezure), and
in practice this zone exists primarily along the Mexican border, and primarily with a range of more like 20 to 50 miles. I've lived in said zone my
entire life and very rarely get to visit anywhere outside of it, and I'm fine.
Likewise there are mitigating circumstances in most of the other examples you mentioned which make those violations (I do not deny that they are
violations) far less serious than what could be expected in the case of martial law.
Using martial law to enhance the President's ability to mobilize the US for war without congressional approval would be very unlikely to work because
it is so far outside the character of our constitution as practiced
(even though the constitution as practiced is substantially weaker than the
constitution as written).
The only way I could see it working is if the vast majority of the American people were willing to take it sitting down- and if that were the case,
why not just go ahead and get congressional approval?
The "it takes too long and we have a lame duck" argument doesn't work at this point because it takes the US 8 months to do a partial mobilization
and deploy them overseas. No hope of success equals no motive.
So I just don't see any situation where the government would have both the means and the motive at the same time.
edit for typo
[edit on 20-11-2008 by The Vagabond]