Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Constitutional Rights

So, I'm sure some of you have heard that Supreme Cournt nominee Samuel Alito has said in the past that the Constitution does not protect the right to abortion. And, I'm sure you have heard people say that the Consitution does not protect sodomy, gay marriage, and a myriad of other things that are currently in the crosshairs of American politics.

I'm not writing this to debate the morality or even constitutional legality of abortion. But, I wanted to write this post to make a point.

Saying the Constitution does not protect a specific thing like abortion, sex, marriage, or most other specific rights, is just absurd. Surely people realize the Constitution is a general document and that the framers were using it to outline general guidelines, not a copmosite list of every possible scenario or right that would ever enter into this world.

Here's the deal. The Constitution and the Bill or Rights do not protect lots of things. It doesn't give me a right to use the Internet. It doesn't give me a right to chew gum. It really doesn't even give me a right to own most of the material things that I own. But, it does give me the right to be treated equally, it gives me (vaguely) the right to privacy, the right to due process, yadda yadda. And, if a local government came in and said that women couldn't play online, they'd be wrong, Constitutionally, even though the Constitution doesn't say anything about Internet usage. To say that I don't have specific rights because they aren't explicitly put in the Constitution is absurd, to say the least, and I am surprised how often this innane argument gets used.

While we are at it, when our founding fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment, they wrote it as a right to bear arms. Arms, these days, include a whole lot of things more than just guns. That doesn't mean that we all have the Constitutional right to have nuclear weapons, and it doesn't mean we should have the right to have fully automatic machine guns that could kill hundreds of people in seconds. I'm not all about gun control, but really, let's try to be realistic here instead of throwing up these second grade straw men.


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