The Constitution

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posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 07:47 PM
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Many people like to discuss the US Constitution and even argue about what it does and doesn't say. Much of what it says can be interpreted in many different ways. It's our right as citizens to debate what is meant or isn't meant by it and to make changes to it as a population when needed as we progress.

How many have actually read the Contitution? Word for word, in it's entirety? Sure, we studied it in school many years ago, but how many have read it recently or as an adult?

It's readily available, here it is:
constitutionus.com...

Many of us think we know exactly what it says and will even argue about it until we are shown exactly what it does say along with how the SCOTUS has interpreted it. Even then, there is argument over it. It's a vital document that has shaped our great nation. The very foundation of our government and our existance.

But what does it really say?

www.freerepublic.com...

84% of Americans confuse the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence and think it is the Constitution that says: "all men are created equal." That phrase is actually found in the Declaration of Independence, the document by which our Founding Fathers declared their independence from England and their dependence on God.
•83% of Americans admit that they know only "some" or "very little" about the specifics of the Constitution. Even many American lawyers would have to admit their own ignorance of the document, if they were to be honest in their response.
•62% of Americans cannot name all three branches of the Federal government—the executive, legislative and judicial.
•24% of Americans cannot name a single right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly are the major ones included.
•20% of Americans do not know the Constitution prescribes that the President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces.


There are certain key provisions that people often have no idea about.

•Article I of the Constitution gives instructions for the organization and powers of a two-house legislature: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
•Article II establishes the Executive branch of government and vests executive power in the President of the United States.
•Article III provides for the judicial branch of government with one Supreme Court and such inferior Courts as are established by Congress.
•Article IV provides for Full Faith and Credit between the states, i.e., requiring that each state must recognize the laws of the other states.
•Article V provides a formal means for amending the Constitution. To date, only 27 amendments have been enacted by Congress and ratified by the states, while thousands of other proposed amendments have failed.
•Article VI provides that the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress shall be the supreme law of the land. In other words, these laws will control in the event that federal and state laws conflict. This provision is referred to as the Supremacy Clause.
•Article VII provides that ratification by nine of the original thirteen States was needed to establish the Constitution.
•The Bill of Rights, added immediately to the Constitution in 1791, includes the first ten amendments to the Constitution and guarantees many basic rights considered fundamental to the American way of life. The Bill of Rights includes the following: ◦Amendment I: Freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petitions to redress grievances;
◦Amendment II: Freedom to bear arms;
◦Amendment III: Freedom from quartering soldiers without consent;
◦Amendment IV: Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures;
◦Amendment V: Freedom from self incrimination;
◦Amendment VI: Right to a speedy trial, assistance of counsel, and various safeguards at trial;
◦Amendment VII: Right to a jury trial;
◦Amendment VIII: Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment;
◦Amendment IX: Retention of non-enumerated rights by the people;
◦Amendment X: The right of the states and the people to reserve the powers not delegated in the Constitution.


These are very abbreviated provisions. To really understand them, you have to read much deeper. Even then, it's not always easy to have the "right" answer, only "an answer" and that answer you have is sometimes incorrect. We must then turn to the court cases that the SCOTUS has ruled on that pertains to certain provisions. It can become very complicated very quickly. Therefore, many people just go on with interpreting it the way they want to and being incorrect or interpreting it as their High School Government teacher told them to interpret it. Things change over the years, issues are addressed, interpretations are changed.

As citizens of this country with the Constitution at the heart of our great nation, is it not important to stay "up to date" with what is said and what is NOT said by the Constitution?

I'm not at all saying that I know all of it, I don't. None of us do. Since the interpretations change based on Supreme Court cases, none of us can. We can stay as up to date as possible, but we will never have all the answers that will ever exist. However, we can have a basic understanding of what it is, what it does and how it affects us.

I made this thread due to a discussion with someone else so we can continue it here and not derail another thread that is going on. Please, feel free to jump in, this is one of the most important topics we can ever discuss (those of us who are US citizens).




posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 07:52 PM
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reply to post by L8RT8RZ
 

Generally, the one ones who want to debate its intent or meaning are the ones looking to violate it: ie the government.

IMHO its meaning and intent are very clear.

edit on 18-12-2012 by gladtobehere because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 07:57 PM
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Originally posted by gladtobehere
reply to post by L8RT8RZ
 

Generally, the one ones who want to debate its intent or meaning are the ones looking to violate it: ie the government.

IMHO its meaning and intent are very clear.

edit on 18-12-2012 by gladtobehere because: (no reason given)


I agree that the original framers of the Constitution did try to make it as straightforward as possible. But, of course, that was in the 18th Century and we are now in the 21st Century. Much has changed since that time from the Industrial Revolution to the rise and fall of other nations. With change comes interpretation and changes to make it fit our society now.

Most of those changes come from new interpretations from the SCOTUS, some come in the form of ammendments. Ammendments are a bit harder to come by, as they should be. This is a very powerful document that has stood the test of time. We can't change it without a great deal of forethought, but, at the same time, we still need to make it pertain to the world as it is today as opposed to the world as it was in 1789.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 07:59 PM
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For me, my expressed concern was that "we the people", more appropriately put, the people of the United States and those around the world.
Do not truly grasp their freedoms and only listen to their Government as to what those freedoms are.

Such freedoms that are limited in scope by those that would be the ones to seek to control us.
How can we ever say we have freedom if those freedoms are conditional?

Clearly I am not an American citizen but the situation resounds world over... If one country is seen to control the masses and the masses comply, other countries leaders will try and follow suit.

As a people world over, we need to stand united and say No.
Our voice is not conditional on your likes...
We will not think what you want us to think.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:04 PM
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Originally posted by Sovaka
For me, my expressed concern was that "we the people", more appropriately put, the people of the United States and those around the world.
Do not truly grasp their freedoms and only listen to their Government as to what those freedoms are.

Such freedoms that are limited in scope by those that would be the ones to seek to control us.
How can we ever say we have freedom if those freedoms are conditional?

Clearly I am not an American citizen but the situation resounds world over... If one country is seen to control the masses and the masses comply, other countries leaders will try and follow suit.

As a people world over, we need to stand united and say No.
Our voice is not conditional on your likes...
We will not think what you want us to think.


I didn't realize you weren't a US Citizen. Looking now where it says location, I can see that. I apologize for assuming you had more experience with it than you do, or at least than I thought a US citizen should have when I thought you were one. It is clear that you are familiar with it to probably a greater extent than many of the citizens of this country are though.

It is an absolutely beautiful document that sets forth the formation of the government of our country. It addresses how the government should be different from others, what is provided by and for the government and how it should operate.

The ammendments address some of the changes or "revelations" that have come about over time. I do invite you to read it at the link given and to appreciate it's beauty and intricacy.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:08 PM
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reply to post by L8RT8RZ
 

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone, with the exception of constitutional law scholars or constitutional law attorneys, who has read the entire consititution.

For whatever reason, our forefathers purposely crafted the document ambiguously (I don't agree it was ever clear cut) and whether we like it or not, the form of government we live under gives the Supreme Court the ultimate authority to interpret the document in any way they see fit to suit SCOTUS's agenda.

Until we have some type of reform under which a Supreme Court judge is not empowered for life, I don't see the personal benefit of reading the document since they will continue to have imnipotent power in its interpretation.without fear of reprisal. I realize that this is an apathetic perspective, but it comes from a lifetime of watching our supposed "rights" stripped away from us one by one.
edit on 12/18/2012 by timidgal because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by timidgal
 


That was one of my arguments in the previous thread that we sent OT.
The SC is a Government branch, therefor will do as the Government wants.
Therefor the interpretation is tainted and the only interpretation should be that of "WE THE PEOPLE".

But that is just my thought on the matter from what I have seen happening around the world.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:19 PM
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Well I certainly stand behind the laws and rights of the constitution
However people like george bush Jr have said things like "It's just a God#amed piece of paper"

Seems to me, thats about the timeline when our rights started disappearing.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:41 PM
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reply to post by Lil Drummerboy
 


I agree, just one of the many things in his administration that troubled us and set us on a path to destruction. Unfortunately, I don't see Obama as the person who can clean it up. He does have a much better likelyhood than the opposition, but it's still very slim


We can, however, rest assured that it will take a great deal to repeal an ammendment. Those fearful of their right to bear arms should really review the process for repealing an ammendment. It isn't easy and in today's society, isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

wiki.answers.com...


Constitution of the United States of America, Article V: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article, and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of it's equal Suffrage in the Senate.
edit on 18-12-2012 by L8RT8RZ because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:42 PM
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Originally posted by timidgal
reply to post by L8RT8RZ
 

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone, with the exception of constitutional law scholars or constitutional law attorneys, who has read the entire consititution.

What?

You make it sound as if it is a huge document like the healthcare bill or something. You can actually get a copy of the Constitution that will fit in your shirt pocket. It is incredibly short and would only take a few minutes to read. I have done so many times.


For whatever reason, our forefathers purposely crafted the document ambiguously (I don't agree it was ever clear cut) and whether we like it or not, the form of government we live under gives the Supreme Court the ultimate authority to interpret the document in any way they see fit to suit SCOTUS's agenda.

Again, what?

The Constitution is pretty straight forward.
It is those who want to change it or don't like what it says who find it so. If there is any question on the meaning or how the framers felt on a specific issue then the Federalist papers could more than likely shed enough light to interpret it correctly.


Until we have some type of reform under which a Supreme Court judge is not empowered for life, I don't see the personal benefit of reading the document since they will continue to have imnipotent power in its interpretation.without fear of reprisal. I realize that this is an apathetic perspective, but it comes from a lifetime of watching our supposed "rights" stripped away from us one by one.
edit on 12/18/2012 by timidgal because: (no reason given)

This I agree with

I also think we should have term limits for all of congress as well.
Quad



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by Lil Drummerboy
Well I certainly stand behind the laws and rights of the constitution
However people like george bush Jr have said things like "It's just a God#amed piece of paper"

Seems to me, thats about the timeline when our rights started disappearing.

Actually US Citizens rights started being stripped away in the '20s and '30s, maybe even before then.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:51 PM
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reply to post by Quadrivium
 


The term limit idea is pretty complicated and was heavily debated by the framers. They wanted to free the Supreme Court Justices from the political temptations associated with office. Although it may have been the best solution at that time, I'm not so sure it's still the best solution.

I absolutely agree that they should not be elected in any way, only appointed, but there could be a set term limit of perhaps 10 years or even 16 years to ensure them sitting through more than one President's term of office and take the political element out of it more.

I do like that, once appointed, they cannot be removed by any other branch of the government so they aren't as liable to the political process, but, at the same time, they are appointed by a political entity. It's a tough decision.

It would be nice to see a limit to the number of justices that a single President can appoint as well. Theoretically, a single President could replace the entire SCOTUS, making it very politically based. I'm thankful that they have to be approved by Congress, but would like to see more safeguards in place for our protection.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:52 PM
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reply to post by Quadrivium
 


You make a good point. Prohibition was a big kick to it.

Happily, that was repealed, but it does show how easily "mob rule" can effect us.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by Lil Drummerboy
 

Well. GB was a "just a G-D POS" and should have been impeached. But with his support of the Patriot Act (PA) more people are aware of the Constitution....one reason why the next president was a constitutional lawyer.



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 09:19 PM
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Originally posted by L8RT8RZ
reply to post by Quadrivium
 


You make a good point. Prohibition was a big kick to it.

Happily, that was repealed, but it does show how easily "mob rule" can effect us.
This is a very important point.

It seems to be that everyone is calling to repeal this amendment or that amendment by saying that the framers didn't mean this or that. Sure the Constitution was written a couple hundered years ago, and sure things have changed, but if a person sits down and reads it they will see that it's a strait forward document that still stands today.

It's when "mob rule" try and force things that everything goes to pot. Case in point:
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Don't know it? Go read about it. After you do go see how crime rates were affected after it passed.

When the Constitution is modified to restrict the rights of it's citizens, crime increases. What do these people think will happen if new Amendments are added to the Constitution that restricted the rights of it's citizens? Is that how civil wars start?

Something to think about, How many of these people that cry about the US Constitution being some old document that needs to be changed with the time follow a religion thats 1000's of years old?



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 09:22 PM
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www.youtube.com...

I am surprised this is still up but it is so here ya go. I thought it was well done



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 09:23 PM
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reply to post by Sovaka
 

Well said and it's not just your thoughts on the matter because a lot of us feel the same way...



posted on Dec, 18 2012 @ 09:48 PM
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reply to post by Quadrivium
 

Then you and I must be talking about a different Constitution because unless you consider that wide and long scroll to be one page, I don't think so. Also, you need to include the 27 amendments if one is to claim that he/she has read and fully understands the Constitution.

Take a look here and here.

With that said,
on your addition of Congress to the list of "much needed term limits" (although they, at least, need to get re-elected)..



posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 11:13 AM
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reply to post by timidgal
 

As a founding document to the once greatest country on Earth it is a Extraordinarily shot document.
As I said, you can get a copy to fit in your shirt pocket.
Included is this is the Bill of Rights, Amendments 11-27, The Declaration of Independence, and a complete index of the Constitution. All of this in just 48 small pages.


The National Center for Constitutional Studies has printed a special edition copy of The Constitution of the United States that has been proofed word for word against the original Constitution housed in the Archives in Washington, D.C. It is identical in spelling, capitalization and punctuation. This 48 page Pocket Constitution also includes the Bill of Rights, Amendments 11-27, The Declaration of Independence, and a complete index of the Constitution.
www.nccs.net...





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