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Re: “Court upholds disclosure of petition signers

However, I do agree with the release of petitioners' names. I think strong parallels can be drawn to campaign finance, lobbying and other attempts to effect or influence legislative action, including the disclosure bill now being debated on The Hill.

Posted by logophile on 06/25/2010 at 8:08 AM

Re: “Court upholds disclosure of petition signers

I think the scary side of Antonin Scalia's remark concerning the Bill of Rights shows a fundamental misapplication of the Constitution.
First, there is no "Bill of Rights," only the first 10 amendments to the Constitution - "Bill of Rights" is a popular name and was not used in the actual document. Very important in understanding the direction of those amendments.
Second, it is the criminal and civil laws of the land where acceptable conduct of individuals is defined not the Constitution, and the case can be made for a basis in the 10 Commandments - and for their display in areas where individual conduct is judged .
Third, the Constitution defines the limits of government, not individuals - individuals may do whatever is not prohibited, the government may do only what it is given permission to do; there is a vast difference in the objectives.
Fourth, the First 10 Amendments specify particular rights only to clearly set out areas in which the government may not meddle - it does not grant those rights, all human rights pre-existed the Constitution.
Scalia's remark shows a belief that the Constitution grants rights to the people, and that is not the case. The Constitution defines the role of government, not individual conduct. The 10 Commandments v. Bill of Rights comparison is an apples to oranges argument.
The lawyers in this example should have argued Scalia's flawed reasoning. The fact that they did not does not make Scalia right, it makes the lawyers derelict.

Posted by logophile on 06/25/2010 at 7:54 AM
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