Monday, September 27, 2010

The Principles of Bills of Attainder.

Bills of Attainder, and their lesser version Bills of Pains and Penalties, are the one power by which governments have ruled through the ages.

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.

Sex Offenders
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.

Cornell University
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 Real Due Process.

"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

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 [1937])" Excerpt from

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.

And lastly:

"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

The Nature Of 'Political Power' And What It Means To The Average Joe

Many State Constitutions around the Country say that "All political power is inherent in the people."

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

Bill of Attainder Revisited.

A long time ago, I wrote a piece on Bills of Attainder. It was 14 pages long.

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.