NJ Assembly to the Bill of Rights: RIP
Due process, the rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, and the Bill of Rights was slapped down today by the New Jersey Assembly. And it wasn’t only the Democrats who did it.
A-3687 strips American citizens who have not been charged with any crime of their constitutional right. This legislation negates the Bill of Rights.
Unfortunately, the drafters of this bill used a very simple device to ensure its passage: The word “terrorist”. Twelve years and untold billions into an undeclared “War on Terror” and that is still all it takes to ensure passage of anything in many of the legislative bodies in these United States.
A-3687 takes away the Second Amendment rights of any poor soul who by mistake happens to end up on the federal government’s so-called “Terrorist Watchlist”. And it does so extra-judicially, without the adherence to due process.
The so-called “Terrorist Watch List” was cobbled together during by the last Bush administration from lists of so-called “subversives” going back to the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela was on the list because he had been placed on an earlier list by the racist regime of Apartheid South Africa. Democrat Congressman John Lewis was on from an earlier list composed of Civil Rights campaigners. Republicans Senator Ted Stevens was on the list because his name “resembled” that of singer Cat Stevens, who was also on the list.
The fact that A-3687 ’s use of a secret, extra-judicial list strips free people of their constitutional rights and without due process meant little to the spineless worms who sit in the New Jersey Legislature. Only three managed to have the balls to vote NO. A few abstained (better than nothing). The overwhelming majority voted to kill the Bill of Rights.
One Republican amendment attempted to add some due process to correct this bad bill. It read:
“In the case of a person who is denied a permit or identification card pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection d. of this section, the chief of police or superintendant is required to petition the appropriate federal court for a determination of whether there is evidence sufficient to warrant the person’s inclusion on the list. If the federal court holds that there is insufficient evidence, the permit or identification card shall be issued to the person and the State shall assume the application fee, criminal history record background check fee, and legal fees incurred by the person.”
But this amendment was replaced by another amendment because another Republican, Assemblyman Sean Kean, asked to offer it. Assemblyman Kean’s read:
“In the case of a person who was denied a permit or identification card pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection c. of this section, the person shall be authorized to present evidence during the hearing that the person is not the same person named on the Terrorist Watchlist. The chief of police or superintendant shall establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the person who applied for the permit or identification card is the same person named on the Terrorist Watchlist.”
Assemblyman Kean, a Republican, is a particularly spineless prick. Kean had voted against A-3687 in the Law & Public Safety Committee last week. The next day, he told a Star-Ledger reporter - the infamous “house psychiatrist” of that institution, “Doctor” Julie O’Connor - that he was having second thoughts. His amendment was allowed to go forward in the hope that he would vote against A-3687 if his amendment failed.
The amendment failed, but instead of voting against A-3687, this spineless prick Kean rose to apologize for his committee vote in defense of the Bill of Rights and to say that he would now join the Democrat Party majority in trashing due process, the rule of law, and the apparently quaint idea that a “suspect” isn’t guilty until it is proven so. Maybe Kean, a lawyer, thinks we live in France?
A-3687 abrogates our protections under the Bill of Rights, which is the birthright of every American and the gift to every immigrant who comes to America seeking a better life.
In the interest of freedom and liberty and to preserve our Bill of Rights, every decent member of the New Jersey Senate must step up to either (1) amend this neo-fascist piece of legislation to ensure that the Bill of Rights still matter, or (2) vote it down. Please do not turn into a bunch of pussies over the word “terrorist”. The list sucks and everybody - Right and Left - knows it.
This is about something larger than politics, larger than bullshit designations like “Democrat” or “Republican”, this is about the Bill of Rights. Have some balls and stand up for the Constitution that you swore to uphold.
You can follow Rob Eichmann on Twitter: Follow @RobEichmannNJ