For years I have had a great idea that I haven’t had the energy to execute: a new version of the Bill of Rights, rewritten to show in plain English what rights we actually hold today — now that the courts have reinterpreted the various amendments beyond all recognition.
For example: I am not a Second Amendment expert, but I think the Second Amendment, rewritten to conform to court interpretations, would read something like this:
A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the States to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed by the federal government. No individual right is granted by this Amendment, and the States are empowered to infringe gun rights at will.
There’s more you could say about it, I’m sure, but I think that’s the basic concept.
Or, to take another example, the Fourteenth Amendment could go on forever, but the essence of it might read something like this:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. In other words, each person possesses the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life; to abort any fetus before viability; to engage in acts of sodomy; and to do anything else that 5 of 9 lawyers, trained in elite law schools, agree that citizens ought to be able to do.
You get the idea. I once set out to rewrite the entire Bill of Rights in this fashion, but ran out of energy fast.
But now I have you guys, so I’m outsourcing the job. Take any amendment you like and rewrite it in modern language to reflect court interpretations. Tackle the whole Bill of Rights if you have the will and the energy. The eventual goal is to get a complete set of “rights,” suitable for framing. The more authority you can provide for your particular interpretation, the better.
For all I know, this has already been done. If so, send me a link. If not, let’s get going!
UPDATE: I rather sloppily used the term “Bill of Rights” to include the Fourteenth Amendment. Technically, it refers to the first ten amendments to the Constitution, but because of the doctrine of incorporation, the Fourteenth Amendment plays a huge role in the application of the Bill of Rights in practice.
Actually, I am interested in the rewritten version of any amendment to the Constitution — or even any rewritten version of the text of the original Constitution itself — that has been substantively modified by judicial decisions.
But the Bill of Rights is a good place to start.
And a good place to start with that is Xrlq’s version, which he did several years ago. (He had the exact same idea as me! As I always say, great minds think alike, and also sometimes think like mine.)
Whenever I look at my Technorati profile, it says I have 420 links from 319 sources. Every day new links are added — but the numbers remain the same. Can someone enlighten me?
I got an e-mail last night bearing the title “Secret Admirer has sent you an e-card from 123Greetings.com.” The body of the e-mail begins:
Anonymous [firstname.lastname@example.org ] has sent you an e-card from 123Greetings.com.
It’s nice to think that you might have a “secret admirer” — but the e-mail allegedly from 123greetings.com also has this disturbing sentence:
Your e-card is atached to this message.
Uh, I tend to be wary of “atachments.” And since when is an internet greeting card sent as an attachment — even spotting them the extra “t”? In my experience, the answer is: “never.”
Why is it that spammers, scammers, and virus-senders can’t learn to spell? Don’t get me wrong — I consider that a good thing. What will we ever do if these lowlifes ever have the bright idea to hire an English speaker to proofread their crap?
My message to this likely virus-sender: nice try. An appeal to the ego is a good gambit. Better luck next time.