Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Original Intent

The Constitution was originally biased towards older, wealthy white male land owners.It seems a few conservatives yearn for the good old days before women's sufferage and child labor laws.

ThinkProgress reports that Senator Mike Lee claims that federal child labor laws are


Mike Lee Suggests FEMA, Federal Poverty And Food Safety Programs Are All Unconstitutional

One constitutional issue I've enjoyed arguing with a conservative friend is the interpretation of the second amendment. The activist Supreme Court delighted my friend and many other NRA members with its overturning previous decisons and making gun ownership unconnected to service in a militia a few years ago. Still my friend and I each read the same sentence:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

and we each have a different interpretation of what the sentence should mean. I place more emphasis on the first half, and he sees the second half as being more important. If one believes the original intent of the founding fathers is the deciding factor, there is still room for both interpretations. If one strictly construes what our 18th Century forefathers meant, consider the following quote from the

Militia Act of 1792

Second Congress, Session I. Chapter XXVIII

Passed May 2, 1792,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia...That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball...

There's nothing about various kinds of armor piercing bullets or assault rifles. Just white males, muskets and compulsory service in a well regulated militia.

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