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Monday, March 3, 2008

RE: [cal-libs] Re: Ron Paul critics again confusing jurisprudential fact with libertarian theory

Craig Thomas wrote:

CT) When did Ron Paul ever say that the Bill of Rights did not apply to the States? (CT

Paul indeed calls the Incorporation Doctrine "phony" in saying that the First Amendment applies only to Congress:  However, that's the only one of the first Ten Amendments with such specific language (except perhaps for the Seventh).  I tried to find a quote from Paul opposing the application to the states of any of the rest of the Bill of Rights, but couldn't find one.  The closest I could get was at

RP) The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights – rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas. (RP

Note that Paul is wrong to claim that "states' rights" are covered by the Ninth Amendment; they're only covered by the Tenth.  Note also that the Fourth Amendment is clearly related to privacy: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated".  The above suggests that Paul doesn't believe the Fourth Amendment applies to the states, though it's possible that he just thinks that 1) the 14th Amendment isn't what makes the 4th apply to the states, and 2) the 4th amendment is only about criminal procedure, not generic privacy.

I did find an interesting essay by Paul endorsing various aspects of the 2004 Texas Republican Platform.  All of the aspects he mentions are things that libertarians would almost universally agree with, except for one sentence.  The only hint that Paul might agree with the most unlibertarian parts of that Platform (e.g. p. 10 re: "homosexuality" and pornography) is when he says: "On dozens of other issues, from abortion to activist judges to religious freedom, the Texas Republican party promotes true conservative values and strict adherence to the Constitution."  However, there are indeed dozens of issues in that 24-page platform for which libertarians can agree with the Texas GOP position.