Sunday, February 13, 2011

Now I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Attorneys for Bradley County, Tenn., and several of its officials have submitted a brief to the state Supreme Court arguing that the constitutional idea of "liberty" doesn't actually mean "physical liberty."

That's the way a brief filed by Thomas E. LeQuire of Spicer Rudstrom, PLLC, states it anyway:

"Liberty does not mean physical liberty," explains point DII in the pleading that encourages the high court to reject a request from Jeremy Paul Hopkins for a hearing.

"It is a sad and scary day in America when lawyers actually argue that the liberty protected in the Constitution does not mean physical liberty," Hopkins told WND. "The county's position is stunning. Americans should be very concerned with court opinions declaring the Constitution no longer protects persons from being unlawfully jailed.

"In this case, the county not only jailed me without authority and in violation of law, but they also jailed me in the face of a court order specifically instructing them to release me. Even more disconcerting is the fact that the state attorney general, who took an oath to uphold the Constitution and to defend the citizens, has not intervened to stop this outrageous conduct. If physical liberty is not a fundamental right, it is difficult to think of anything that would be," Hopkins said.

So if I lock these lawyers in a cage in my back yard for twelve hours, that's not an infringement of their liberty, because constitutional liberty isn't physical freedom. Makes sense to me.

Of course, this means that not one single inmate in a state or federal prison may be considered unfree due solely to the fact that he's being kept behind bars. Just because he can't leave the prison for months or even years doesn't mean that he's lacking in liberty.

Physical liberty is one of the most basic forms of freedom. It serves as a constitutional bare minimum.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . . " If the county's detention of Hopkins violated state law, then in turn it violated his Fifth Amendment-recognized rights, by definition. How can due process entail illegal activity by the county? That's both logical nonsense and authoritarian shredding of the Constitution.

What we have here is a group of people who spit on the rule of law, while claiming that they uphold it.

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