by Walter Brasch
Sarah Palin stood before an audience of 600 at the first Tea Party convention and in her twinkly home-spun rhetoric, declared we don't need a professor of law but a commander-in-chief. As expected, she received roaring applause. And, as expected, she was wrong.
After Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, aided by a compliant Congress and a nation largely afraid to stand up for their rights, abused the Constitution for almost eight years, what the United States needs is a leader who understands constitutional law and who is unafraid of making sure all Americans understand that the fabric that became America should not be torn apart for political convenience.
Dick Cheney and George W. Bush established policies which violated:
- The First Amendment (freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances)
- The Fourth Amendment (freedom from unreasonable searches)
- The Fifth Amendment (right of due process and to protect against self-incrimination)
- The Sixth Amendment (due process, the right to counsel, a speedy trial, and the right to a fair and public trial by an impartial jury)
- The Eighth Amendment (reasonable bail and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment), and
- The Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection guarantee for both citizens and non-citizens)
BushCheney Administration actions also violated provisions of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitutionwhich guarantees the right to petition the courts to issue a writ of habeas corpusto require the government to produce a prisoner or suspect in order to determine the legality of the detention. Only Congressmay order a suspension of habeas corpus, and then only in "Cases of Rebellion or Invasion." Congressdid not suspend this right; nothing during or subsequent to the 9/11attack indicated either a rebellion or invasion under terms of the Constitution.