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Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Bill of Rights

Michael Wilson wrote:

MW) the LP doesn't seem interested in doing much about the Bill of Rights. (MW

The LP takes a pretty clear stand at

The Platform Committee is proposing to restore this language to the Platform:

We affirm the right to keep and bear arms. [...]  We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied.  We support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property.  [...]  The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Bill of Rights provides no exceptions for a time of war.

Keep in mind that while the Bill of Rights has been the best-implemented document of its kind, it is not perfect.  Some LP radicals question the Sixth Amendment right to subpoena innocent third-party witnesses.  During this platform cycle I compiled an annotated Bills of Rights Archive - from the Codex Hammurabi (1760 BCE) to the EU Charter (2006).  Codex Hammurabi gets much better after Law 2, which says the accused is exonerated (and the accuser convicted) if the accused can survive being thrown in the river. :-)   Articles 1-21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are the best of breed here -- much better than the Bill of Rights, but marred by association with nanny-statist articles 22-29 ("social security", free education, etc.).  A ten-point libertarian bill of rights is the first part of the EcoLibertarian Manifesto I've been working on.