Awhile Back

JOE HUFFMAN had as his quote of the day, this gem…

Privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States … are chiefly defined in the first eight amendments to the Constitution of the United States… These eight articles … never were limitations upon the power of the states until made so by the Fourteenth Amendment.

From one John Bingham, whom Joe describes as a primary architect of the 14th Amendment.

Very tautological, Howie.

But it begs the question. On whose authority is the statement made that the first eight Amendments to the Constitution were not designed to apply to the States?

Yes. It is asserted by many that the United States is the creature of the various and several States. And that reading is plausibly due to the very subtle hand of the Ninth and Tenth amendments, and to the fact that the legislatures of the States were originally to be represented in the Senate. But there is nothing in the Constitution which explicitly states the States are sovereign over the Union, and — indeed — in the clause by which the Union is tasked to guarantee the States a republican form of government and by the clause which lays the geas of external and internal protection on the Federal Government (Congress, but if Congress is not in session, then the Executive) — there is much that leads me to believe that the lines of authority and fealty as between sovereign and subject run very much the other direction.

And it is explicitly stated in the actual text — right here, in fact — that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.

Only a weasel, a politician, or a lawyer (but I repeat myself, repeat myself) would take that to read that the core of citizen protective rights were not intended to apply to subsidiary polities to the whole.

The only possible out is that the First Amendment is a proscription lain on Congress. Whereas… all of the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights take the form of absolute proscriptions on the infringement upon the liberties of citizens. There is no statement made as to the jurisdictional level being therein limited.

When the Voice of God thunders in the night, “The right of the people SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” what mental contortions does it take to say, “Oh, but he didn’t mean ME, did he?”

It is especially despicable to argue that, while the United States may not infringe upon the liberty of her citizens, the several States may.

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