Monday, September 27, 2010
To understand a Bill of Attainder, one needs to piece together definitions from a few cases from the Supreme Court of The United States.
-Congress can only make laws in general applicability.
-Congress cannot choose whom the law shall apply to.
-Congress cannot give or remove any rights that are not equally shared by all.
-Congress cannot use a past action as a trigger for a law.
Bills of Attainder and Bills of Pains and Penalties are forbidden to Congress via the US Constitution.
"No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." Article 1, Section 9 (excerpt)
"No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility." Article 1, Section 10 (excerpt)
And each individual state has it as a part of their constitution as well.
Bills of Attainder (Bills of Pains and Penalties included) are such that they are targeted law against/for an easily definable group of individuals, or an individual.
They are not required to name the party they apply to.
The "punishment" may be inflicted absolutely, or conditionally.
It can come in a civil form, or a criminal form.
Their creation usually comes not from one overt act, but a series of subversive acts that accumulate over time. Statutory Schemes are used to implement such laws.
The simplest definition that I've been able to come up with is:
"Any targeted law that provides for unequal benefits, or attempts to remove a right otherwise enjoyed by everyone else."
Bills of Attainder have been used throughout history to control the populace by the government.
Here is a list of groups that have been effected by Bills of Attainder.
Jews in Germany
African Americans in America and Europe
Native Americans by Spaniards
Muslims by Spaniards
Native Americans by America
Jews in Egypt
I think you get the idea.
Bills of Attainder are the one means by which governments have been able to set up hierarchy. Without this tool, we would not have had the "classes" all throughout Europe and into America.
One man would not be the master of another.
As mentioned before, Bills of Attainder can also give rights that are not shared by everyone else.
Easiest way to understand that comes from this statement:
"If Congress gives a group a right, everyone else is being punished for not being part of that group."
Only when people understand how Congress does this will they be able to stop it.
Cummings v Missouri (1866)
Ex Parte Garland (1866)
US v Brown (1965)
Yick Wo v Hopkins (1886)
US v Lovett (1946)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
"The Fourteenth Amendment, in declaring that no State 'shall 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,' undoubtedly intended . . . that equal protection and security should be given to all [and] they should have like access to the courts of the country for the protection of their persons and property, the prevention and redress of wrongs, and the enforcement of contracts...."- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Steven Field, Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 35 (1885)
Due Process is a term that is difficult to define. Many courts have tried to define it, to create tests to measure it, and show equality in it.
But, if you look at it, and think about it, Due Process is a rather simple concept.
The base version of Due Process is that it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
All three parts are equally important. Without any of those three elements, there would be a violation of Due Process.
This leads us to the question of:
"Where is the beginning of Due Process?"
When this country was created, it was done so with the understanding that the government drew it's power from the permissions of it's citizens.
As the source of the sovereignty, we have a right to have our legislation passed in accordance to the social contract created with the Constitution.
Every time that a law is passed outside of the original construction methods that the Constitution lays out, our Due Process rights are being violated.
The Legislative Branch does in fact have the ability to suspend our rights for a time. That leads us to an understanding of the two types of Due Process.
Procedural Due Process
"Procedurally, due process prescribes the manner in which the government may deprive persons of their life, liberty, or property. In short, the procedural guarantees of due process entitle litigants to fair process." Excerpt from TheFreeDictionary.com
To take that quote and to think about it leads one to understand that our Procedural Due Process rights guarantee us that our rights will only be suspended by certain methods.
Procedural Due Process is the method by which the government can suspend our rights for a time.
Substantive Due Process
"Substantively, the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect persons from legislation infringing on certain individual rights. Such individual rights may be expressly enumerated in a constitutional provision, as are the liberties that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and have been incorporated into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
"These unenumerated rights have been derived from Supreme Court precedent, common law, history, and moral philosophy. Such rights, the Court said, "represent the very essence of ordered liberty" and embody "principles of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked fundamental" (Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 58 S. Ct. 149, 82 L. Ed. 288 )" Excerpt from TheFreeDictionary.com
Substantive Due Process is the safeguards against encroachment of our rights by the government.
Now we can explore the idea of:
"Where is the 'middle' in Due Process?"
The "middle" in Due Process is the breaking of a law, and the beginning of the Court process.
This is the portion that most people try to define when talking about Due Process.
Here is where people mix up the idea of "Due Process OF law" vs. "Due Process IN law."
"Due Process OF law" is the entirety of Law.
"Due Process IN law" is merely in the Court Room.
"Where is the 'end' in Due Process?"
The 'end' in Due Process is exactly that, the end of a courts sentence on a person.
The finality of a sentence. The completion.
Without that end in a sentence, not only is our Due Process rights violated, but we are put into a form of Involuntary Servitude.
To recap, Due Process has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is very limited in it's allowance of suspension of rights, and exponential in it's protection of rights.
A simple concept to understand, but a hard one to put into practice.
Until you know where the boundaries are...
Thursday, May 20, 2010
To show it a little more in depth, the Washington State Constitution states in Article One, Section One:
"All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights."
So as I look at this section of my State Constitution, I try to understand the concepts that are wrapped up in it's language.
All political power is INHERENT in the people.
Before there was a Government, the political powers resided in the people. These powers are so ingrained in who we are as a country that they were written into our constitutions. As our constitution was written, it was these powers that gave it the strength to set us aside from other countries.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Without the people agreeing to being governed, our government would cease to exist. The government holds no power that we do not give it, or agree to.
Governments... are established to protect and maintain individual rights.
We the people, using our authority as sovereigns, created a government that was to "protect and maintain our individual rights." Our population was getting big enough that we created a government to help protect us, and to make sure that our rights were maintained. They were to be maintained not only from the usurpation of others citizens, but also from the laws created, as well as in the court system.
It is the constitution that defines and assigns the powers that the government enjoys. It was the sovereignty of the people that gave that constitution power.
Without the consent of the governed, the government has no power.
So here is a question:
If all political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their "just powers" from the consent of the governed, then what happens when they don't "protect and maintain individual rights?"
Our government is starting to believe that "it" is the sovereign. They have forgotten in their greed and corruption that it is us that gave them any power to begin with.
Remember, YOU are a sovereign. Does that mean that you have the right to take other sovereigns powers? NO. It just means that when it comes to political power, it comes from you, not the government.
I write this article in the hopes of teaching my fellow citizens about the nature of political power. With the understanding of that nature, you are better suited to help protect not only your own powers, but the powers of your friends, family, and neighbors as well.
When faced with a problem, without action, there can be no solution.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This time, I'm going to keep it short, sweet, and too the point.
I've learned a lot in the last almost two years.
So here goes...
A Bill of Attainder boils down to one key component.
It is any legislation passed in which the legislators assume your guilt without you having ever gone to trial. They then proscribe your punishment in their law.
For example, some states have DUI Registries. It is assumed (and sometimes backed up with studies) that you (the DUI criminal) will commit your crime again. So, since you are guilty of a future offense of driving under the influence, then you must submit to having your name plastered all across the land.
Or, in Hawaii, if you are merely charged with a crime, their Sheriff's website will put you up on their front page. Doesn't matter if you are found not guilty, they still have you up on the internet as presumed guilty.
The easiest way to argue the "punishment" aspect of Bills of Attainder is to realize that our Rights, inalienable as they are, once removed, constitutes punishment. To take someones God given right, is punishment in and of itself. It doesn't matter if the "law" is Civil in nature, or Criminal in nature. The removal of an enjoyment of rights is a punishment.
The other part of Bills of Attainder that needs to be slightly clarified is the area of "targeted legislation."
It is stated in the US Constitution that we are to have Equal Protection. Any legislation that targets and singles out an individual, or an easily ascertainable group of individuals, and creates a law different for them versus the rest of society, is a Bill of Attainder.
Remember, I am not a lawyer. I am a student of the Constitution. IF you feel that there is action that needs to be taken, please consult a Lawyer for guidance.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
According to the dictionary, an Oath is:
"Any type of attestation by which an individual signifies that he or she is bound in conscience to perform a particular act truthfully and faithfully; a solemn declaration of truth or obligation.
An individual's appeal to God to witness the truth of what he or she is saying or a pledge to do something enforced by the individual's responsibility to answer to God.
Similarly an affirmation is a solemn and formal declaration that a statement is true; however, an affirmation includes no reference to God so it can be made by someone who does not believe in God or by an individual who has conscientious objections against swearing to God. Provisions in state statutes or constitutions ordinarily allow affirmations to be made as alternatives to oaths.
In order for an oath to be legally effective, it must be administered by a public official. The law creating each public office and describing the duties of the official ordinarily indicates who is authorized to administer the oath of office. A spoken oath is generally sufficient; however, a written and signed oath can be required by law."
And the Oath they must take is: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God." (This is the Congressional Oath of Office. Different positions require different wording, but the idea is the same.)
Everyone that swears an oath (or affirmation) swore to uphold the Constitution. They didn't swear to uphold the laws that are written, but to uphold the Constitution. That means in making the law, the enforcement of that law, and how that law is used in Court.
When someone breaks, or violates their Oath, there are strong and serious consequences for that.
A Congressperson can be removed from office, a lawyer dis-barred, and a Judge pulled from his/her bench and dis-barred as well as all of their cases being suspect.
The Code in each State has different punishments for violating the Oath of Office for State Government workers. But the US Code is universal enough to be shown here.
5 US 7731 Section 8(5) says: "Knowing membership with the specific intent of furthering the aims of, or adherence to and active participation in, any foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons (hereinafter referred to as organizations) which unlawfully advocates or practices the commission of acts of force or violence to prevent others from exercising their rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any State, or which seeks to overthrow the Government of the United States or any State or subdivision thereof by unlawful means."
The punishment for Congress for waging war on the Constitution (and thus the US Government) is found in a different section.
18 U.S.C. § 1918 says: "Whoever violates the provision of section 7311 of title 5 that an individual may not accept or hold a position in the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia." (The conditions of who this applies to can be read at the link given.)And another consequence for violating 7731 is a Civil Suit under 1983 law.
When an Unconstitutional law is passed by Congress, upheld in court by the Judges and the Lawyers, the consequences for those actions are fairly strong. Lawyers are dis-barred, Judges impeached, and Congress people are removed from office and never allowed to hold office again.
Charges of Oath of Office are a serious thing. And not to be brought about without some serious facts to back it up.
And lastly, please remember, I am not a Lawyer. This is not legal advice, but merely my understanding of things that I found in the Constitution. If you wish to use this information, please consult a Lawyer.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
A mark or token of infamy, disgrace, or reproach: "Party affiliation has never been more casual . . . The stigmata of decay are everywhere" (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.) See Synonyms at stain.
- Archaic A mark burned into the skin of a criminal or slave; a brand.
Token of Infamy, Disgrace, Reproach, a Brand.
All of these are tools to keep the "criminal" from interacting with the rest of society. Criminals are a hated group of society, but one group of criminals brings out the animalistic nature of humans.
Stigma is so heavily attached to sex offenders that a mere accusation is enough to raise the hackles of most people.
Why is this important? Stigma removes Liberty.
lib·er·ty /ˈlɪbərti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [lib-er-tee]
1 :the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases b : freedom from physical restraint c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e : the power of choice
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." --Declaration of Independence
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are endowed by our Creator. That means that they cannot be taken away.
When Stigma is present, Liberty cannot exist.
To argue that Stigma is removing Liberty, you must meet the "Stigma Plus" rule. More than just mere reputation must be lost with the Stigma. Such as employment or property of some sort.
Once you meet that requirement, you have proven that Liberty is lost due to Stigma. At that point, suits under 1983 and the 14th Amendment become applicable.
Stigma is created by the lies told. A majority of sex offenders do not recidivate. The numbers that do, float between 3-5% depending on the study. The general public feels that sex offenders are monsters that if given a chance, will do the unthinkable again.
The numbers don't lie.
Yet Stigma still remains.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
"INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE & PEONAGE - a condition of compulsory service or labor performed by one person, against his will, for the benefit of another person due to force, threats, intimidation or other similar means of coercion and compulsion directed against him.
In considering whether service or labor was performed by someone against his will or involuntarily, it makes no difference that the person may have initially agreed, voluntarily, to render the service or perform the work. If a person willingly begins work but later desires to withdraw and is then forced to remain and perform work against his will, his service becomes involuntary. Also, whether a person is paid a salary or a wage is not determinative of the question as to whether that person has been held in involuntary servitude. In other words, if a person is forced to labor against his will, his service is involuntary even though he is paid for his work.
However, it is necessary to prove that the person knowingly and willfully took action, by way of force, threats, intimidation or other form of coercion, causing the victim to reasonably believe that he had no way to avoid continued service, that he was confronted by the existence of a superior and overpowering authority, constantly threatening to the extent that his will was completely subjugated.
Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1584, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to willfully hold another person in involuntary servitude.
A person can be found guilty of that offense only if all of the following facts are proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
First: That the person held the victim in a condition of 'involuntary servitude';
Second: That such holding was for a 'term,'; and
Third: That the person acted knowingly and willfully.
It must be shown that a person held to involuntary servitude was so held for a 'term.' It is not necessary, however, that any specific period of time be proved so long as the 'term' of the involuntary service was not wholly insubstantial or insignificant.
Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1581(a) is the peonage law cited in the indictment.
The specific facts which must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to establish the offense of peonage include each and all of the three specific factual elements constituting involuntary servitude as previously stated and explained in these instructions, plus a fourth specific fact; namely, that the involuntary servitude was compelled by the person in order to satisfy a real or imagined debt regardless of amount. "
This was the entire page on Peonage from LectLaw. I copied it here, because to have paraphrased it would have brought an injustice to this work.
How is peonage important to offenders you might ask? Simple.
When an offender is sentenced, they sign their name on the "guilty" line and form a contract with the State. When that sentence is over, the offenders debt to that state is complete. But what happens when the state takes a portion of that "contract" and continually changes it, thus changing the contract.
The offender then no longer has the ability to complete the contract, and, is forced to do things not previously agreed upon.
Also, if this wasn't disclosed to the offender at the time of signing (the ever changing nature of the contract that is), the contract becomes null and void.
Contract Law states:
"Full Disclosure n. the need in business transactions to tell the "whole truth" about any matter which the other party should know in deciding to buy or contract. In real estate sales in many states there is a full disclosure form which must be filled out and signed under penalty of perjury for knowingly falsifying or concealing any significant fact."
If the Court did not fully disclose the nature of your sentence to you, and all the definitions of each portion of your sentencing, then that contract can be viewed as void. (Contract law would be tough to go into and make it easy to understand. Do a word search for Unconscionable.)
And for those that think that sentencing (plea bargains) are not contracts, please read this.
So, if your contract is now null and void, but you have no recourse, you are now suffering from peonage. Why? Because if you don't conform to the new contract, you will be thrown in jail. Coercion. Did the Legislators "knowingly" make a new law to make things tougher for you?
I'll leave that one for you to decide.