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Federal Hypocrisy on Abortion, Personal Privacy, the War on Drugs, and the Destruction of the 4th &a

Originally appeared in the:  Please visit this great website.

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” John Adams

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I have not spoken of the cost to our society of the astonishing legal weapons available now to policemen and prosecutors; of the penalty of forfeiture of one’s home and property for violation of laws which, though designed to advance the war against drugs, could legally be used — I am told by learned counsel — as penalties for the neglect of one’s pets. I leave it at this, that it is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors.” -William F Buckley Jr. Statement to the New York Bar Association

I thought long and hard about publishing this article since it might lead to the alienation and loss of some of my modest readership but I feel I must be intellectually honest and tackle controversial issues in order to show how far we have come in losing our freedoms that our founders put in the Constitution. The Federal government through Congress, The Courts and the Executive Branch has been overstepping their authority ever since the onset of the progressive movement in the last 80 years. The progressives said they only had the best of intentions trying to create a better society. After all, they were more educated- as than they knew better than the average citizen did. Over the years, their control over the government increased and left us with their contorted view of what is personal liberty and responsibility.

Federal Intervention on Abortion: For the purposes of full disclosure, I personally believe abortion abhorrent and against natural law, the values of the 18th century enlightenment and the Judeo-Christian values our government was based on. For the purposes of this article, I will briefly limit this discussion to the reasoning used by the court for its ruling. I will attempt to show how the ruling is flawed, hypocritical and how the federal government has limited our freedoms in other areas of our lives. Prior to the Roe V. Wade (410 U.S. 113 -1973) ruling, the individual states had the authority to regulate abortion. The right to abortion is nowhere spelled out under the US Constitution, so it was historically considered under the purview of the individual states. Before 1973, Supreme Court ruling in approximately one third of the states had “Liberal” abortion laws on the books- that allowed most abortions to take place.

This historic decision struck down the Texas law and every other state restriction on abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. The decision also put restrictions on the states in regulation of abortion in the second and third trimesters. Justice Harry Blackmun who wrote the majority opinion stated, “The right of privacy…whether it is to be found in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty…or…in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

(The 9th Amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people” and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment states: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”).

The dissenting opinion by Justice Byron White said he could not find the right to privacy upon which the majority decision was based. He wrote in his opinion: “I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment…This issue, for the most part, should be left with the people and the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs.” The other dissenting Justices White and William Rehnquist objected to the Court’s interference in

a state rights issue and that the decision disregarded the protection due to the life of the fetus.

  Justice Blackburn and the majority in the Roe decision constructed a new constitutional right out of “whole cloth.” I would venture to say this ruling was made to push forward a progressive agenda and had nothing to do with constitutional principles or precedent. If you agree with this ruling and that there is a right to an abortion under this new “Right of Privacy”, then this right should apply to other parts of a citizen’s life. After all, our constitutional rights do not come with some caveat such as you have the freedom of “some type of” speech or you have the freedom of “some type of” religion etc. The progressive agenda is really about increasing the power of the Federal Government at the expense of states and individual citizen’s rights.

The War on Drugs: First off, I have never used an illegal drug, nor do I contemplate ever using one. I find illegal drug use a form of self-destruction and detrimental to an individual, but I believe in the original intent of the founding founders- that man can govern himself and make his own decisions concerning his personal life. For approximately the first 125 years or so of our republic, the Federal Government for the most part, kept out of the personal lives of its citizens, being constrained to its enumerated powers listed in the constitution. Any restrictions were legislated by the states. There was no prohibition to the personal use of any drug substances during this period. The recreational use of drugs of the time, “Opiates” and cocaine, were strongly discouraged by society but was not illegal to use, sell or possess. The progressive movement and their temperance allies first attempt to regulate the consumption of drugs on the federal level was the Harrison Act of 1914, which provided for the taxation of opium- but was not directly aimed at use, only its importation.

Cartoon by Barry Deustch

The first real prohibition was the 18th Amendment (Volstead Act). It outlawed the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages but not their consumption. We know now, of course, the result of that folly was the birth of organized crime and lawlessness- some of which we live with even today. This mistake was corrected with its repeal under the 21st amendment.                                                                                                       

Anti-Prohibition Cartoon Just what the Doctor Ordered the Noble Experiment     

Supporting Prohibition the Temperance Movement

At least during 1919 to 1933 prohibition of alcohol was supported by an actual constitutional amendment, which the prohibition of other drugs was not. The Federal Government does an end run around the constitution on this issue by misusing the constitution’s commerce and general welfare clause’s. (Please see my blog article on the misuse of the Commerce Clause: .

If congress wants the Federal Government to regulate these drugs, it should introduce an amendment to the constitution and let the states decide if it should be ratified or not. Otherwise, it is the purview of the states as to regulation or prohibition. If you believe in the premise of the Roe decision that a woman has a right to an abortion through a constitutional right to privacy, shouldn’t the same principle apply to the right to choose of ingesting a substance into your body? Recently Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas addressed this governmental hypocrisy in his dissent in another case : Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1 (2005) ruling that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, the United States Congress may criminalize the production and use of home-grown cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes. He states: “Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use of marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything – and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers. If it is the case the federal government can’t get involved in the prohibition business, what about the state governments? Uh, I think one answer to this is to look at the right of privacy which is protected by the 9th Amendment and extended to the states by the 14th. The right has been invoked to protect privacy in such areas as family planning — birth control — and, at least so far, the right of privacy seems to be protecting a woman’s choice whether or not to have an abortion. Furthermore, this same right should apply in matters involving an individual’s decision to consume, privately, a recreational drug in his or her home.” The war on drugs has eroded our constitutional protections under the 4th and 10th amendments. Such examples are “No Knock Warrants,” Property Seizures, etc. The great intellectual mentor of mine- the late William F Buckley Jr., came to the same conclusion in the 1990’s (See his statement to the New York State Bar Association at the beginning of this article). Examples of this are warrants obtained by using erroneous and in many cases, fraudulent information through dubious informants, causing manyinnocent homes and businesses to be assaulted by DEA and other governmental swat teams. Some of these “mistaken” raids have caused deaths of innocent people. These are not isolated incidents, as they occur on a regular basis.

Some results of Federal Interference: The rise of the use of SWAT teams and no knock warrants on the federal level now seems to spreading to non-drug related and non-violent related crimes. A recent example was reported by the ABC-TV news affiliate of the case of a Stockton CA. house raided by an armed SWAT team. What was the great offence that caused the breaking down of a door without warning having young children terrorized seeing their father handcuffed and pushed into the front lawn? The offence was due to an unpaid student loan that was not even his- it was one of his ex wife who had not been living at the home for over a year. The Federal Department of Education had authorized the warrant and the use of a federal SWAT team local police were not even notified. After all, if you have a well-armed SWAT team and they are idle between drug raids, why not use them for “other” purposes. The Federal Government through the FDA, criminalizes desperate people who are seeking last-ditch efforts to save their lives. An example was the criminalization of Laetrile and other “non-conventional” or “Non-Approved” treatments for those who had terminal cancer. Most of these desperate people exhausted all other conventional methods for treating there terminal illnesses and they were willing to try anything to save their lives. The majority of such people knows the risks of these treatments and can accept them but are forced in their last days not only to fight their disease but to fight an out of control Federal Government who is standing in their way. The rich among them travel out of the country for these treatments; the poor must commit criminal acts in a last desperate attempt to save their lives. Would it not be better if the government just insured that these people are advised of their risks of the considered treatment and let them make up their minds? Why doesn’t the so-called “Right to Privacy” apply to people trying to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones that does not affect third parties nor does it just apply for the killing of unborn children? The founders knew that the best government is the level of government that is closest to the people. That is why the framers included the 10th amendment in the constitution. The citizens of each state and their elected legislatures decide these personal matters, not some non-elected self-perpetuating Federal Government bureaucratic agency.

The States Awakening? A glimmer of hope is that states are starting to revolt against the federal power grab. Many referendums have been put on state ballots or even passed, to allow the medicinal (or even recreational) use of marijuana. I am not promoting the use or legalization of marijuana and you and I might disagree on whether these are wise actions but under our constitution it is up to the citizens of each state through state referendums or legislatures to decide. Washington has asserted they have the right to send into these states DEA agents to arrest any engaged in intrastate commerce. The Federal Government only has the constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce. I urge these states to fight Federal intervention of their intrastate commerce through the federal courts and through state sanctions.

Our founders wanted every citizen to be free to make their own decisions about their person lives. Thomas Jefferson, when asked about his feelings on others religious beliefs answered with his famous quote at the beginning of this article. The framers of the constitution had that same ideology when it came to citizens making decisions in their personal lives. They did not believe in a paternalistic government that controlled our daily life. Only one that ensured our God given rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence and left that as our inheritance. It is now time to  demand our inheritance back. Just my opinion-D.B.

Member: Online News Association Associate Member 2011-2014

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