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Monday, August 12, 2013

A Proposed Twenty First Century Bill of Rights

After 220 years, Americans might consider updating the US Bill of Rights.  Although many amendments have been added to the Constitution since 1789, the Bill of Rights, the original 10, are nearly sacred to those who adhere to the literal intent of law. They're sort of like a revised Ten Commandments of the Old Testament.  So, since the original 10 were adopted in 1789, let's modernize this valuable document, to assure newly identified inalienable human rights are protected
....beginning with voting rights.

In fact, our nation's Founding Fathers and authors of the Bill of Rights even foresaw the need for revisions.  Upon reading the 10 amendments to the US Constitution, it occurs to me the 10th tenet opens the door to revisions and updates, as needed:  

Tenth Amendment

Here are the original 10, adopted in 1789. Following the original are some recommended updates, consistent with my interpretation of the intention of the last phrase of the tenth:

First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
 Second Amendment
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.

Third Amendment  (maybe this one could be eliminated in a proposed update?)

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
 Fifth Amendment
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.
 Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Seventh Amendment

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
 Eighth Amendment
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment

Second Amendment proposed modernization - 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. All right authorized by the right to bear arms shall be consistent with protecting public safety and shall not infringe on the right of law enforcement to protect the public from preventable harm caused by aggressive gun violence.

Eleventh Proposed Amendment- Every American citizens has the right to vote, when each can provide the least restrictive or onerous proof of such right. Americans shall have access to voting in an expedient environment or such place deemed publicly and safely accessible to support the freedom to vote.

Twelfth Proposed Amendment - Every American citizen is guaranteed the right to access health care including reproductive health care.

Thirteenth Proposed Amendment: - American citizens are provided freedom from discrimination for age, race, religion, gender, perceived or actual disabilities and social status, for the purposes of employment and to receive benefits consistent with quality of life and as beneficiaries of actuarial products.

Fourteenth Proposed Amendment:  All children living in the United States are guaranteed the right to access education consistent with the values put forth by the US Constitution and incorporating these principle amendments forthwith.

Fiftieth Proposed Amendment:  Americans must be assured the right to public safety through support of interventions to protect against preventable illnesses and violence from military assault weapons owned by civilians who are not employed by a militia.

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