Modern Amendments of the Constitution
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Modern Amendments of the Constitution
Articles on 4 of 27 of the amendments of the constitution. Amendment I, Amendment IV, Amendment XVII, Amendment II
Curated by Bryan Oswin
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5th amendment

Rick Scott Took 5th Amendment 75 Times

 

Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott is not a happy camper this weekend.

A court deposition given by Scott in a civil case relating to Columbia/HCA, a company he founded and once ran as CEO, has surfaced.

The Orlando Sentinel details the latest developments:

"The lawsuit was Nevada Communications Corp. vs. Columbia/HCA Healthcare. The venue was Manatee County Circuit Court. The year was 2000.

"And an otherwise less-than-enthralling, 33-page deposition in that case of former Columbia CEO Rick Scott is now surfacing in Florida’s hotly contested Republican gubernatorial primary with less than four days before Scott squares off against Attorney General Bill McCollum.

"Scott has taken flak for two weeks from McCollum supporters for not releasing a deposition he gave six days before getting in the governor’s race, in a lawsuit against a current health-care company he founded called Solantic. But Scott did apparently get put under oath before about his past company’s behaviour."

In the 2000 deposition obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, when Scott is asked whether he is employed, his lawyer, Steven Steinbach, interjects to state that 'unfortunately because of the pendency of a number of criminal investigations relating to Columbia around the country, he’s going to follow my advice, out of prudence, assert his constitutional privilege against giving testimony against himself. … that privilege is not an indication of any guilt.'

Scott was asked numerous pointed questions under oath if he was aware of Columbia's criminal activities. After an FBI probe, the company pled guilty to defrauding Medicare and paid a $1.7 billion fine, the largest in history.

According to press reports Scott took the Fifth Amendment 75 times in this 2000 deposition.

Scott has yet to release a deposition he gave this year relating to another company he currently owns, Solantic, that has come under fire from former employees who have alleged the company engaged in misconduct.

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Analysis

I believe that Rick Scott is wrong in pleading the 5th amendment. He has used it 75 times which is kind of indicating he is guilty. The government does have strong evidence against him as well. With his backround of being investigated before, he should not be able to plead the 5th amendment on this occasion.

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NH 4th amendment

Fourth Amendment Rights Regarding Home Inspections
by webmaster — last modified 2011-10-02 10:45 AM
A NH state law (RSA) is being used to intimidate homeowners into allowing interior inspections of their homes by tax assessors, even though the right to refuse a warrantless search without penalty is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Update

Knock knock

"Who's there?"

"The tax assessor. I'm here to inspect the inside of your house. Of course, the fourth amendment says you don't have to let me in, but if you don't, you'll lose your right to appeal an inaccurate assessment, and oh, by the way, I can get a warrant and come back and then you can't say no. So, what's it gonna be--let me in now or let me in later?"

Sound far-fetched? Sadly, this scene is playing out now in New Hampshire, the "live free or die" state.

Open a US history book, and chances are you'll find some directly relevant history regarding the search of private homes for tax purposes. Before the American Revolution, King George issued Writs of Assistance that allowed his tax collectors to search the ships, warehouses and homes of the colonists, looking for contraband. This so terrorized and infuriated the colonists that, when the Bill of Rights was later added to the US Constitution, two amendments (the 4th and 5th) were specifically created to restrict the power of the new government to perform these acts.

A statewide property revaluation was underway in New Hampshire in 2002, precipitated by court decisions regarding state funding for education. As part of this process, many municipalities elected to perform full revaluations, including inspections of all properties. The town of Hollis contracted with Vision Appraisal to perform these inspections.

Objections to the manner in which these inspections were being carried out were first voiced in a Letter to the Editor printed in the Hollis Brookline Journal in March 2002. Hollis residents observed disturbing behavior by some inspectors in the course of the inspection process. As noted, in one case the inspector started to look into the windows when the owner would not let them inside. In another, the inspector told the homeowner that he would lose his right to appeal his assessment if he refused entry. And in yet another instance, the inspector told the owner that the town had the authority to obtain a warrant to enter his home if he refused to consent to an interior inspection. (Note that in the case of a policeman asking for consent to enter, threatening to obtain a search warrant would render the search nonconsensual, since consent must be given freely, without coercion).

A few weeks later, a short article appeared in the Journal, quoting the Chairman of the Selectmen as saying that homeowners did indeed have the right to refuse entry to the assessors, but anyone so doing would "forfeit their right to appeal the assessor's decision on what the home is worth" (a flawed concept--that exercising one's Fourth Amendment rights should result in the loss of other rights). At the time, a similar statement could be found at the Hollis Town web site under a Q&A document regarding revaluation (the document was later revised in August 2002).

The town's position was based, no doubt, on a NH state law (RSA 74:17) in effect since 1994 that states that any person refusing to let an assessor into their home "shall lose their right to appeal any matter pertaining to the property tax" and that assessing officials refused admittance "may obtain an administrative inspection warrant."

Many NH towns have used the law to "persuade" homeowners to allow interior inspections. See, for example, Common Revaluation Questions on the Claremont, NH web site. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Since the filing of the lawsuit challenging the inspection law, many NH towns have become more cautious about the material they post on their web sites, obviously fearing litigation).

This law appears to be in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore unconstitutional, in two regards. First, the courts have held that residents (homeowners and renters) have the right to refuse a warrantless search without penalty.

 

Analysis

This is wrong what the government is doing to these people in New Hampshire. Tricking them into letting them search their home, when they clearly dont know what the 4th amendment truly is. I think the government should know their laws and abide by it just like most citizens do. What is the point of the 4th amendment in NH if people are just walking right around it. 

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The 2nd amendment

By Emilie Ritter


HELENA, Montana | Fri Mar 4, 2011 9:59pm EST


(Reuters) - About two dozen gun-toting Tea Party activists staged a rally at the Montana statehouse on Friday to support the Second Amendment right to bear arms and limiting the reach of the federal government.

Outnumbered by the media and politicians in attendance, the protesters spoke in favor of conservative-backed bills to nullify various U.S. laws, such as the Endangered Species Act or the newly enacted reform of the nation's healthcare system.

The demonstrators had received special permission in advance to bring their weapons, unloaded and secured, to the state Capitol grounds for the rally.

"What a beautiful March day to gather on the steps of the Montana Capitol and let freedom ring," said Tim Ravndal, head of the Lewis and Clark Conservative Tea Party. "Let's have a hand for all us patriots out here making a statement."

Their firearms included handguns and a semi-automatic rifle. But their broad sentiment was in favor of numerous bills introduced in the Montana legislature backing states rights.

Known as "nullification" measures, they seek to void various federal laws on grounds that the 10th Amendment of the Constitution reserves for states any powers not delegated to the federal government nor prohibited to the states.

"A lot of people say nullification will lead to anarchy or civil war or destruction of the union, and that couldn't be further from the truth," said Republican state lawmaker Derek Skees. "It's actually the opposite. It allows for a pressure valve, a release for the people to get their voices heard."

But Democratic Representative Tim Furey disagreed.

"For us to be bringing up nullification bills while our troops are fighting for our state and country, I just think it's terrible," he said.

Jamee Greer of the Montana Human Rights Network said the image of armed political activists rallying at the state Capitol may intimidate those with dissenting views.

"A democracy needs to be a safe space where ideas can be nurtured and spoken without the fear or threat of violence," Greer said.

 

Analysis

This article shows a group of people exercising the 2nd amendment by holding guns to limit the federal governments power. I believe these people are not understanding the amendment correctly. The amendment is to keep a weapon in your house for safety not necessarily walk around with it in your hand.

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Exercising the 1st amendment right wrong?

Exercising First Amendment rights in the Inner Harbor

 

 


June 01, 2011

 


To most visitors, Baltimore's Inner Harbor looks like an appealing mix of shops and waterfront attractions. But to anyone trying to exercise their rights of free speech, it can be a hostile maze governed by a patchwork of rules. If you demonstrate or distribute leaflets at the "wrong" spot, you could be ordered to leave and threatened with jail.

That is what happened recently to Bruce Friedrich. He and fellow members of an animal rights group handed out leaflets one recent Sunday on a pedestrian bridge between the power plant and the National Aquarium — what looks to all the world like a public sidewalk on public property — only to be threatened with arrest by a city police officer and ordered to leave the harbor. Mr. Friedrich and his colleagues contend that rules governing that particular patch of the Inner Harbor allow people to hand out noncommercial material. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, the group that maintains the harbor promenade, and the National Aquarium disagreed, saying leafleting on this patch of city-owned land leased to the aquarium was prohibited.This Inner Harbor incident brought to mind another, from September 2009, when police officers wrongly ordered peace protesters to leave McKeldin Square, the plaza on the Southeast corner of Pratt and Light streets that is the Inner Harbor's designated protest zone. City officials later admitted their error and apologized to the demonstrators.

Both of these incidents point to a need for guidelines that clearly spell out what is and is not acceptable behavior in the Inner Harbor, and they need to be based on the presumption that free speech is a natural and desirable part of civic life. The powers that be seem to want to pretend that the Inner Harbor is like Disney World — a manufactured environment calibrated to avoid any possibility of discomfort or dissent. But it isn't. It is the heart of a major American city, an embodiment of Baltimore's best side and the face we show to the world. Peaceful political speech is not something we should hide but something we should embrace as a treasured element of our civic identity.

Unfortunately, it has taken a lawsuit to force the city to come up with a reasonable set of rules. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the city in federal court in 2003 over what it contends are restrictive free speech rules in the Inner Harbor, a space the ACLU regards as a public park. Currently, regulations regarding demonstrating and leafleting — as well as begging, vending and soliciting — can vary from location to location in the Inner Harbor. Negotiations between the ACLU and the city and the many stakeholders in the harbor have moved at a snail's pace, but representatives of both sides told The Sun's Peter Hermann last week that settlement is near. We hope so; eight years is too long to resolve this matter.

The current situation is untenable. Demonstrators can unwittingly wander into unmarked "forbidden" zones. Police officers threaten demonstrators with arrest for activities that are perfectly legal, only to apologize later. In some instances, neither the demonstrators nor authorities seem to know what geographical and legal boundaries apply.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is a civic gathering spot, our local soapbox. Candidates give speeches there. Sporting victories are celebrated there. It, like town squares around the nation, is a place where people can speak out on issues of concern. Some restrictions on the time, place and manner of demonstrations would be appropriate, but these rules have to be fair, easy to understand and able to be enforced without ambiguity. Above all, they must begin from the presumption that speech should be protected, not discouraged.

That is not the case now. It needs to change. Speaking out at the harbor should be a part of civic life, not a reason to be handcuffed.

 

 

Analysis

This is obviously a group of people exercising there 1st amendment by speaking out against something in which they feel is wrong. In the 1st amendment it states that you have the freedom of speech and clearly some law depatments dont acknowledge that.

 

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Exercising the 5th amendment

WASHINGTON — Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the couple accused of sneaking into President Obama’s first state dinner in November, declined to answer questions posed by lawmakers on Wednesday.

Subpoenaed by the House Homeland Security Committee, the panel that oversees the Secret Service, the couple invoked their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent as member after member pressed them for details about Nov. 24, the night of the state dinner.

“On advice of counsel, I respectfully invoke my right to remain silent and decline to answer your question,” Mr. and Mrs. Salahi recited more than two dozen times in their first hour or so before the committee.

In what amounted to an all-out public thrashing, lawmakers said the couple’s activities were “an abomination” and “made a mockery” of the country.

“To have engaged in conduct that undercut the seriousness of our role to protect the president as some sort of reality TV stunt is an extraordinary affront to the seriousness of the issues that are before us today,” said Representative Dan Lungren, Republican of California. “The Constitution protects fools. It protects stupidity. It protects errant thought.”

Still, the Salahis, who face possible criminal charges as to whether they lied to public officials or trespassed on federal property, remained calm. Outside the committee room, the couple’s lawyer, Stephen A. Best, called the lawmakers’ efforts a “charade,” and said the Salahis had committed no crime.

“They believed 100 percent in their hearts that they were invited” to the dinner, he said. He criticized the committee’s members and said that while there might have been a misunderstanding, it was a misunderstanding on the part of government officials overseeing the guests’ entry that night, not the Salahis.

A federal grand jury is investigating how the couple got past Secret Service checkpoints, without invitations or background checks, shook hands with Mr. Obama and posed for a photograph with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr..

 

 

Analysis

The Salahi couple unfortunately used the 5th amendment correctly even though they were mocking the counties constitution. I give these people props for sneaking behind the security, but it is still wrong. The 5th amendment protects you to a certain limit where if they have hard evidence you commited a crime you have to speak, but since these people made it in the white house without alarming anyone, they have the right to plead the 5th amendment.

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The 4th amendment

What 4th Amendment? Indiana Sheriff Says Random, Warrantless House To House Searches Are Okay


from the thanks-Indiana-supreme-court dept


We've been covering a large number of situations and legal rulings lately that appear to suggest that the 4th Amendment is pretty much null and void for much of the US. With the news of a bad Supreme Court ruling concerning the ability of police to invade a home without a warrant, so long as they create circumstances that make it seem urgent, we're pointed to an even more ridiculous ruling in the Indiana Supreme Court that effectively legalizes the ability of law enforcement to enter any home without a warrant. Why? The court basically says that it's "against public policy" to require a warrant:
"We believe however that a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence."
In other words, the gradual (and, at times, not so gradual) destruction of the 4th Amendment is used to destroy it even more.

It appears that law enforcement in Indiana is wasting no time in recognizing the power this gives them. Radley Balko points us to the news that one Indiana Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., from Newton County, has now stated that it's legal to conduct house-to-house warrantless searches (see update below). According to him, everyone should be fine with such an invasion of privacy, because it means they can catch criminals:
According to Newton County Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., random house to house searches are now possible and could be helpful following the Barnes v. STATE of INDIANA Supreme Court ruling issued on May 12th, 2011. When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks, adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal.
It's as if they don't care that they're making a total mockery of the 4th Amendment and its important history.

Update: The sheriff in question has put out a statement contradicting the original story:
On May 16, 2011, I was contacted by a reporter of an internet radio station. Her question concerned a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, allowing police officers to make random warrantless searches. I advised her that I was not clear on that particular ruling; she then asked how the Sheriff’s Office conducted searches of residences. I informed her that searches were only conducted with a warrant, probable cause or when an officer is in hot pursuit. When questioned about the Supreme Court ruling, I advised her that as police officers, we enforce those laws set forth by our legislative branch. This reporter then asked about the violation of Constitutional Rights. This State Supreme Court ruling in my opinion cannot override our U.S. Constitutional Rights and I’m sure this state ruling will be revisited.

When I was asked about my thoughts on random searches and how people would react, I gave her the scenario of looking for a criminal or escapee. I advised her that if people were aware of this situation, they would gladly let you search a detached garage, outbuilding, etc., if it meant keeping them safe, but this would only be after securing permission.

This court ruling is just open for lawsuits if a police officer would attempt a random search without due cause. Somewhere in this conversation things were definitely taken out of context. I'm now quoted as saying the Sheriff's Office will be conducting random house to house searches.

I want the citizens of Newton County to rest assured that no member of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office will enter the property of another person without first having a warrant or probable cause to do so. I strongly stand behind my oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, as well as that of the State of Indiana.
At this point it's the reporter's word against the sheriff's. It does seem odd that the reporter does not directly quote the sheriff, but does state that he "emphatically" said he would use such house-to-house searches...

 

Analysis

This sheriff clearly doesnt understnd not only the amendment, but the right of privacy. Its wrong to just randomly search somenes house with no suspicion, nor any evidence of a crime. This is by far my favorite amendment, because it gives you a seperation from the law and lets you know your safe for any random searches of the police.

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Exercising the Assembly in the 1st amendment

From noon to 3 p.m. every Thursday, Joanne Schrader uses her right to freely assemble by standing on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood on Providence Road to protest abortion and hand out information about alternatives.

Schrader, a *social services worker, has held her weekly vigil since February, along with a group of several friends who assemble from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays when women go into the clinic.

“We began standing out here because we all feel that human life deserves respect and protection starting from an early stage," Schrader said. "We feel it goes from conception all the way to old age. We want to reach people who are unsure of the issues surrounding abortion.”

Schrader and her friends are able to assemble because of Supreme Court cases such as the one in 1939 — Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization — that ruled it was unconstitutional to bar citizens from peaceably assembling on public property.

Christina Wells, an MU law professor, said courts may impose distance restrictions on groups with a history of disruptive behavior but that a court will never bar a group from being able to speak or freely express itself.

"The First Amendment protects peaceful, not violent, assembly," according to the First Amendment Center. "However, there must be a 'clear and present danger' or an 'imminent incitement of lawlessness' before government officials may restrict free-assembly rights."

— John Springli

 

 

 

Analysis

Joanne Schrader peacefully gets together with a group or assembly and abides by the amendment. I believe that this article perfectly represents the assembly part of the first amendment. Sometimes people dont understand that the 1st amendment only protects you as long as you are doing no harm to anything or anyone, or in other words it must be peaceful.

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My Constitutional Amendments Introduction

The Constitutional Amendments are the oldest document of our Nation including 27 Amendments explaining our rights as citizens. I have picked four of these Amendments to clarify them and provide a good example for them. I have chosen the 1st Amendment which states "Guarantees and protects freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. The 2nd Amendment states "Gives the people the right to bear arms or keep weapons, since a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free country." I have also chosen the 4th Amendment which states "Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires a warrant if there is a probable cause or reason to believe that a search will produce evidence of a crime." The final Amendment I chose is the 5th which states "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

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