Yesterday, on ThisisCommonSense.com, the “Today in Freedom” feature related that 220 years ago — on December 15, 1791 — Virginia’s ratification of the Bill of Rights made those first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution the law of the land.
Hooray! That’s worth remembering and celebrating.
But something else happened yesterday, worth remembering but not celebrating: Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives [sic] had already passed the legislation. Yesterday, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate sent the bill to a President Obama, waiting ready to sign it, with a whopping 86 to 13 vote.
This law says the government can arrest you on U.S. soil, shackle you, pull a hood over your face and hustle you out of the country to Guantanamo if someone somewhere in the government theorizes that you might be a terrorist.
But wait: The Fifth Amendment guarantees that you cannot “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Sixth Amendment states quite clearly that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial . . .”
Agreed, those proven to be terrorists are terrible people. But in a video posted on our website, Senator Rand Paul, who voted against this bill, pointed out, “Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, then the terrorists have won.”
We can only triumph over terrorism with the Bill of Rights intact.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.