Dems vote for constitutional amendment to limit free speech and freedom of religion

This is by Zac Morgan, a staff attorney at the Center for Competitive Politics writing at NRO.  My emphases and comments.

Does Religious Speech Threaten Democracy?
It could be restricted or banned under a constitutional amendment Democrats have proposed.

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved by a 10–8 vote a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would functionally eliminate the political rights of speech and association. While the committee made the language more succinct than in its original iteration, the law still poses a profound threat to fundamental liberties. [Mind you, a constitutional amendment doesn't happen over night, but... it has to start somewhere.]

For instance, Congress probably would have the power to ban religious sermons and church literature. [Can you feel things sliding in this direction?  This will fail, of course.  BUT... in the failure, they will have bumped the paradigm a little bit in this direction.  Call it creeping incrementalism.  That's how liberals work.]

Section 1 of the amendment permits Congress and the states to “advance democratic self-government” — whatever that means — “and political equality” by “regulat[ing] and set[ting] reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.” [Thus limiting free speech.  "No. You may not freely spend your own money to advance some cause."]

Section 2 specifically permits the federal and state governments to “distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.”

And section 3 — in a perfect demonstration that the eight Judiciary Committee members who are lawyers, yet voted for the measure, failed to pay attention in law school — claims to prevent anyone from reading the amendment in such a way as “to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” [the press... which is on the side of the dems]

The First Amendment, as drafted by men such as Fisher Ames and James Madison, protects five freedoms: speech, press, assembly, petition, and religion. The newly minted constitutional amendment mentions only one of those as being untarnished — “press.”

Under a longstanding principle of statutory interpretation — expressio unius est exclusio alterius — the explicit naming of one member of a class means that the other members of that class are excluded. So, under this amendment, as long as the interests of “democratic self-governance” and “political equality” are “reasonably” at issue, Congress or the states may infringe on speech, assembly, petition, and religious freedoms.

There’s honestly no limit to the number of examples of “reasonable” restrictions that could be drawn under this amendment, but let’s discuss a particularly troubling one.

[...]

Read the rest there.

 

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15 Responses to Dems vote for constitutional amendment to limit free speech and freedom of religion

  1. Cantor says:

    The referenced article is a rather poorly written “scare” piece (failing, for example, to even provide a link to the actual text of the bill) but the bill is worth checking out:

    Senate Joint Resolution 19

    Ostensibly, the proposed amendment would provide a means to limit campaign contributions. But even the Senate Judiciary Committee itself is publishing it under two titles. Note the wording:

    Congressional Website: S.J.Res.19 – A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.

    Senate Judiciary Website: Examining a Constitutional Amendment to Restore Democracy to the American People

    So the United States Senate is now formally on record that the American People no longer live in a Democracy?!

    [The adage is mentio non fit expositio. You haven't made an argument, just a claim.]

  2. Pnkn says:

    Would someone please help me and point out a link to the judiciary committee doing this ?

    Here’s yesterday’s web page for the committee:
    http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/executive-business-meeting-2014-07-10

    Thanks

  3. Jerry says:

    Who are the 10 senators who need to be voted out of office the next time they are up for election?

  4. Sonshine135 says:

    I have wondered for a very long time if these closeted secular humanists along with their friends at the Freedom From Religion Foundation couldn’t be sued for establishment of Non-Religion. Is establishing the inability to celebrate one’s faith, effectively shutting that person up, and removing the symbols related to that faith in and of itself establishment of the Religion of Irreligion? This is truly frightening. The implications of legislation like this, even the thought of this type of legislation, shows that this battle has escalated from Conservative/ Liberal to Religious/ Secularist. The Lord’s words, “you cannot judge the signs of the times” ring continually through my ears.

  5. jhayes says:

    Pnkn, see HERE for the results of the meeting.

  6. jhayes says:

    Here is the text of the proposed Amendment. The likelihood of it succeeding is about zero, since it would require the votes of 2/3 of the Senators, 2/3 of the Representatives and the legislatures of 3/4 of the States. The Founders made it very difficult to amend the Constitution.

    JOINT RESOLUTION
    Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

    `Article–

    `Section 1. To advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and electoral processes, Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on–
    `(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and
    `(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

    `Section 2. To advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and electoral processes, each State shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to State elections, including through setting limits on–
    `(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, State office; and
    `(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

    `Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.

    `Section 4. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.’

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:S.J.RES.19:

  7. cpttom says:

    The Senators who voted for these are mostly the usual suspects:
    Leahy (Chair)
    Feinstein
    Schumer
    Durbin
    Whitehouse
    Klobuchar
    Franken
    Coons
    Blumenthal
    Hirono

  8. Pnkn says:

    jhayes – thanks much !
    I had actually followed the links on the page that I cited, and came to what you posted as the proposed amendment.

    I didn’t find the quotations that were mentioned (hence my query) :

    “Section 1 of the amendment permits Congress and the states to “advance democratic self-government” ”

    “Section 2 specifically permits the federal and state governments to “distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.””

    so I wondered if I was reading the same amendment that Zac Morgan was writing about.

  9. Finarfin says:

    @Pnkn,

    Well, Morgan gave a link to the proposed amendment, that has the problem clauses here:

    http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/KOE14034%20-%20Chairman's%20Substitute%20Amendment.pdf

  10. excalibur says:

    Even if it can muster the necessary votes in the Senate as a whole, which I doubt, it will never make it anywhere in the House.

  11. Bob B. says:

    Since her religion is very important to her, I’m sure Nancy Pelosi is against it, right?

  12. jhayes says:

    Finarfin, that was a proposed substitute that wasn’t adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    What the Committee approved and sent to the Senate for consideration was the language I posted above.

    See the link under “III Matters” HERE

  13. robtbrown says:

    J Hayes,

    Given the fact that the chance of this passage are nil, the political strategy of giving a more liberal earlier draft wide circulation seems a strong possibility

    This is what happened with the American bishops War and Peace pastoral letter. A more liberal draft was printed and circulated. Then the final version was blamed on Vatican interference, when in fact it was the German bishops who insisted on changes.

    BTW, the final version still wasn’t very good.

  14. Mike says:

    It is hard to try to fathom how voting for any Democrat, or at least for any of the co-authors of this legislation, would not constitute objective complicity in evil.

  15. Mike says:

    And as just retweeted by Fr. Z, the Party of Death is redoubling its efforts with S. 1696 (not deemed worthy of notice by the “mainstream” media), which would essentially nullify state limitations on abortion.

    The Democrats seem Hell-bent either on destroying themselves or the Union. My private thought had been that the nation’s seams might hold until 2020, but that seems a dim wish with these extremists running the country.