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The Bill of Rights

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by

Christopher Arns

on 17 February 2014

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Transcript of The Bill of Rights

Gun Control
CIA and Military
Drone Program
Drafting the
Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights today
The Bill of Rights
Important Amendments
The Bill of Rights in the news
The Bill of Rights
After mass shootings in places like
Newtown
and
Aurora,
some members of the public have called for restricting gun purchases
In many of those deadly incidents, the shooter used an
assault rifle
with
high capacity ammunition magazines
Recently, the Obama administration has proposed new
gun control measures
, including universal background checks for both public and private gun sales
Obama has also proposed reforming the nation's criminal background check system, banning high-capacity ammunition magazines/clips, and banning assault rifles
Obama also wants to restart research on gun violence at the Centers for Disease Control (no research currently)
Obama’s plan faces organized and strong resistance from interest groups and some individuals
The
National Rifle Association
, an interest group for the gun industry and for gun owners, has condemned the Obama proposals — the group essentially said the president wants to “take away our guns”
The NRA claims Obama's plan would violate the Second Amendment
After 9/11 in 2001, the military and the CIA began using
unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs) to bomb remote locations where suspected terrorists might be hiding
These UAVs are called
"drones"
because they don’t have a pilot and are controlled like remote-control robots. They can be controlled via satellite from thousands of miles away
The U.S. has used them to target suspected Al Qaeda militants in places like northern
Yemen
(south of Saudi Arabia) and western
Pakistan
(east of Afghanistan)
These are areas where an ally of the U.S. (such as Pakistan) has little control over a certain area within its own country. Instead, those regions are usually under the control of
Taliban
or
Al Qaeda
militants
The drone program is popular in the U.S. and it’s very cost-effective because American soldiers are not in harm’s way
However, the drones often kill civilians and so the program is very unpopular in the Middle East and Central Asia
The program started under President Bush; it was expanded during the Obama administration
Obama only recently published a memo outlining some guidelines used to run the program
Federalists added formal amendments
to satisfy Anti-Federalists
, even though Madison, Hamilton and other pro-strong gov’t delegates felt it was unnecessary
They felt the articles of the Constitution already mandated forms of due process and other legal protection
“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.”
Separation of
church and state
...or maybe not? Some analysts believe the amendment only regulates Congress from passing laws about religion
Does the Second Amendment give the people total
freedom to possess guns
or is that right limited to a regulated militia?
In a 1939 Supreme Court case,
United States v. Miller
, the court implied that gun rights needed to be linked to common defense
In a recent Supreme Court case,
District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008
, the court reaffirmed the constitutional right of citizens to bear handguns in their own home, but said the states could regulate concealed weapons
Second Amendment: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
There are disagreements over what exactly the Second Amendment allows.
Some say the wording of the amendment does not place restrictions on gun ownership.
Others say the amendment really only gives gun ownership rights to organized state militias and only allows small arms like hunting rifles
Drones have been used to target and kill American citizens who have joined Islamist militant groups
This action is controversial because these Americans were
never convicted in a court of law
In
Federalist 84
, Hamilton argues against amendments
He believed amendments could potentially restrict liberty by only mentioning certain rights (gay marriage? Universal suffrage?)
Madison narrows down list of amendments from roughly 200 to 17, and then to 12.
Only 10 were ratified immediately by the states.
The Bill of Rights was adopted on December 15, 1791 when Virginia ratifies all ten amendments. The Bill of Rights becomes part of the Constitution
Since 1791, 17 more amendments have been ratified
First Amendment
Second Amendment
That case also implied that “arms for military use” were acceptable for people to possess
Fourth Amendment
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
This amendment requires law enforcement to have
probable cause
to search you or your property and also requires a warrant in some cases
Supreme Court in 1967 ruled that law enforcement
needs a warrant
to listen to private conversations
After 9/11, U.S. began surveillance program of suspected terrorists
The U.S. government argued this program was targeting international phone calls so didn’t apply to Constitution. So far, Supreme Court has not ruled on this issue
Fifth Amendment
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The Fifth Amendment protects citizens against government seizure of property, cruel and unusual punishment, forced confessions and ensures due process
Opponents of drone program say assassinated American citizens have been deprived of their Fifth Amendment rights
Reading the Bill of Rights
Through
judicial review
, federal courts can decide whether government actions and laws are Constitutional
This power is not
explicitly
described in the Constitution
Even though it’s not in the Constitution, there’s evidence the Founding Fathers intended the court to have this power
Articles III and IV
have also been interpreted as giving the courts this power
NSA Surveillance Program
The National Security Agency started a surveillance program to catch suspected terrorists
The program is called PRISM and collects user data from hundreds of tech companies such as Apple, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, Microsoft and AOL
The government can monitor your email, web surfing, phone usage and "other communication" for one week without a warrant
Has supposedly thwarted roughly 50 terrorist attacks since 2007, when the program was created by the Bush Administration
The U.S. government collects info from Americans and foreign citizens
The info is collected daily and stored until needed by intelligence analysts
The NSA insists that they don't listen to phone calls without a warrant — as they did between 2001 and 2007
Full transcript