damnum absque injuria

November 10, 2004

Bill of Rights, Pre-Outsourced Edition

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:11 am

Patterico is calling on his readers to update the Bill of Rights to show what rights we really have today. I actually did that myself 10 years ago, so I’ve reproduced the text below. Caution: while nothing that appears on my blog should be construed as legal advice, this entry really shouldn’t be, as I wasn’t even a law student, let alone a lawyer, in 1994. I think most of these are about right, though, unfortunately.

Amendment the First

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, unless the religion is definable as a “cult.” Neither shall it usurp the duty of universities to abridge the freedom of speech, nor prohibit the freedom of the press unless it is used in a manner which any Citizen shall find offensive, nor prohibit the right of the lobbyists to assemble, and to bribe the government for the redress any and all grievances, real or imagined.

Amendment the Second

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms…. ha ha, just kidding.

Amendment the Third

No soldier shall, in times of peace be quartered in any house, as he would be AWOL if he were.

Amendment the Fourth

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, affirmation, or anonymous tips by paid informants, and particularly describing the place to be searched and a realistic appraisal of the value of the property should the police choose to seize and auction it.

Amendment the Fifth

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, public danger, or drug hysteria, nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb unless he shall be a Caucasian policeman who really should have been convicted the first time; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life without appeals far in excess of anyone’s idea of “due process,” liberty without due process, or property without an anonymous tip, nor shall private property be taken for private use unless the new establishment can be expected to pay high enough property taxes to offset the cost of just compensation.

Amendment the Sixth

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 unless feminists object; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense and/or plea bargain.

Amendment the Seventh

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed the 1791 value of 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 unless a death sentence shall have been recommended, than according to the rules of the common law. Fortunately for the IRS, tax code has nothing to do with common law.

Amendment the Eighth

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel*** and unusual*** punishments inflicted.

Amendment the Ninth

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. That is Congress’s job.

Amendment the Tenth

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are up for grabs.

* For the purposes of this document, “speedy” shall be defined as “commencing within ten (10) years of the defendant’s arrest or accusation, whichever comes later.”

**For the purposes of this document, “impartial” shall be defined as “able to convince both lawyers that he is partial to their respective cause, and also able to convince a judge of his intention to waive his right to nullification of laws deemed to be unjust or inappropriately applied.”

*** The definitions of “excessive,” “cruel,” and “unusual” shall be subject to the interpretation of the legislative body which shall pass the law mandating the bail, fine, or punishment in question. Thus Congress shall legislate no punishments which the same Congress considers to be excessive, cruel, or unusual.

UPDATE: Moxie has a modern rewrite (h/t: Dean Esmay).

4 Responses to “Bill of Rights, Pre-Outsourced Edition”

  1. SayUncle : Rerighting Says:

    […] Jeff’s The Bill of a Few Remaining Rights from a while back. XRLQ chimed in with his rendition, which I think pretty much nails it. I would add: […]

  2. Patterico's Pontifications Says:

    Outsourcing an Idea: A Modern Bill of Rights
    For years I have had a great idea that I haven’t had the energy to execute: a new version of the Bill of Rights, rewritten to show in plain English what rights we actually hold today — now that the…

  3. William Teach Says:

    Man, those were great. How about “a well regulated militia, being necessary to force liberals into canada….” :)

  4. SayUncle Says:

    Patterico called on readers to create (well, I’ll let him say it) a new version of the Bill of Rights, rewritten to show in plain English what rights we actually hold today — now that the courts have reinterpreted the various amendments beyond all re…


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