Bill of Rights Status Report

by Eric Postpischil (email

6 October 1990

I would like to thank the numerous people who entered reports on Usenet and the dozens who provided me with information. Without their efforts, I would not have had the volume of information that made this article possible. Permission is granted to copy this article unaltered as an individually selected file. (Permission is not granted for automatic copying or inclusion in a repository.)


How many rights do you have? You should check, because it might not be as many today as it was a few years ago, or even a few months ago. Some people are not concerned that police will execute a search warrant without knocking or that they set up roadblocks to stop and interrogate innocent citizens. They do not regard these as great infringements on their rights. But when you put current events together, there is information that may be surprising to people who have not yet been concerned: The amount of the Bill of Rights that is under attack is alarming.

15 December 1991 will be the two-hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. How has it stood up over two hundred years? Let's take a look at the Bill of Rights and see which aspects are being pushed on or threatened. The point here is not the degree of each attack or its rightness or wrongness, but the sheer number of rights that are under attack.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Establishing religion: While campaigning for his first term, George Bush said "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots."1 Bush has not retracted, commented on, or clarified this statement, in spite of requests to do so. According to Bush, this is one nation under God. And apparently if you are not within Bush's religious beliefs, you are not a citizen. Federal, state, and local governments promote a particular religion (or, occasionally, religions) by spending public money on religious displays. Governments also establish religion via blue laws, which set Sunday as a special day on which business is prohibited or limited.

Free exercise of religion: Robert Newmeyer and Glenn Braunstein were jailed in 1988 for refusing to stand in respect for a judge.2 Braunstein says the tradition of rising in court started decades ago when judges entered carrying Bibles. Since judges no longer carry Bibles, Braunstein says there is no reason to stand—and his Bible tells him to honor no other God. For this religious practice, Newmeyer and Braunstein were jailed and are now suing.

Free exercise of religion: On 17 April 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that Native Americans do not have a Constitutional right to use peyote during their religious ceremonies. Peyote is a mild hallucinogen derived from cactus plants. It is also, to members of the Native American Church, an essential sacrament, the physical embodiment of the Great Spirit. During the Prohibition, the Federal government permitted the Roman Catholic Church to use sacramental wine at masses, but Native Americans are not receiving equal treatment now. In the majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia admitted the decision would place minority religious practices at a disadvantage. The Supreme Court decision is so generally opposed that three weeks after the decision, a petition for rehearing was filed jointly by American Jewish Congress, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, National Council of Churches, National Association of Evangelicals, People for the American Way, Presbyterian Church USA, American Civil Liberties Union, Christian Legal Society, American Jewish Committee, Unitarian-Universalist Association, General Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Worldwide Church of God, Missouri Synod of Lutheran Church, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.3,4

Free speech: Technology has given the government an excuse to interfere with free speech. Claiming that radio frequencies are a limited resource, the government tells broadcasters what to say (such as news and public and local service programming) and what not to say. This includes prohibitions on obscenity, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is investigating Boston PBS station WGBH-TV for broadcasting photographs from the Mapplethorpe exhibit. Also, a broadcaster that supported legalization of drugs would be in danger of violating FCC rules.

Free speech: There are also laws to limit political statements and contributions to political activities. In 1985, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce wanted to take out an advertisement supporting a candidate in the state house of representatives. But a 1976 Michigan law prohibits a corporation from using its general treasury funds to make independent expenditures in a political campaign. In March 1990, the Supreme Court upheld that law. According to dissenting Justice Anthony Kennedy, it is now a felony in Michigan for the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union, or the Chamber of Commerce to advise the public how a candidate voted on issues of urgent concern to their members.5

Free press: In an apparently unprecedented order, New York Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Dontzin issued an order for prior restraint against the publication of a book by a former member of Mossad, an Israeli intelligence service. Further, Dontzin issued this order with only scant information about the alleged menace represented by the book. The justice made the ruling based upon lawyers' descriptions of material in a sealed affidavit in Ontario, Canada—material the justice had not seen.6

Free press: The equipment Craig Neidorf used to publish Phrack, a worldwide electronic magazine about phones and hacking, was confiscated after Neidorf published a three-page document copied from a Bell South computer and entitled "A Bell South Standard Practice (BSP) 660-225-104SV Control Office Administration of Enhanced 911 Services for Special Services and Major Account Centers, March, 1988."7 All of the information in this document was publicly available in other documents and could be ordered by calling a toll-free 800 number.8 The government has not alleged that Neidorf was involved with or participated in the copying of the document, only that he published it.9 The person who copied this document from telephone company computers also placed a copy on a bulletin board run by Rich Andrews. Andrews notified AT&T officials and cooperated with authorities fully. In return, the Secret Service (SS) confiscated Andrews' computer along with all the mail and data that were on it. Andrews was not charged with any crime.10

Free press: On 1 March 1990 the SS ransacked the offices of Steve Jackson Games (SJG); irreparably damaged property; and confiscated three computers, two laser printers, several hard disks, and many boxes of paper and floppy disks. The target of the SS operation was to seize all copies of a game of fiction called GURPS Cyberpunk. The Cyberpunk game contains fictitious break-ins in a futuristic world, with no technical information of actual use with real computers, nor is it played on computers. The SS never filed any charges against SJG but still refused to return confiscated property.11

Peaceable assembly: The right to assemble peaceably is no longer free—you have to get a permit. Even that is not enough; some officials have to be sued before they realize their reasons for denying a permit are not Constitutional.

Peaceable assembly: In Alexandria, Virginia, there is a law that prohibits people from loitering for more than seven minutes and exchanging small objects. Punishment is two years in jail. Consider the scene in jail: "What'd you do?" "I was waiting at a bus stop and gave a guy a cigarette." This is not an impossible occurrence: In Pittsburgh, Eugene Tyler, 15, has been ordered away from bus stops by police officers.12 Sherman Jones, also 15, was accosted with a police officer's hands around his neck after putting the last bit of pizza crust into his mouth. The police suspected him of hiding drugs.13

Petition for redress of grievances: Rounding out the attacks on the first amendment, there is a sword hanging over the right to petition for redress of grievances. House Resolution 4079, the National Drug and Crime Emergency Act, tries to modify the right to habeas corpus. It sets time limits on the right of people in custody to petition for redress and also limits the courts in which such an appeal may be heard.14 And on 5 March 1990, the Supreme Court limited the ability of state prison inmates to obtain Federal court review of their convictions and sentences. By ruling that prisoners cannot make appeals based on favorable court rulings issued in other cases since their own convictions, the Supreme Court permitted states to execute people even though their death sentences would not be permitted today in light of subsequent rulings.15 If a state imposed a death sentence in "good faith," but it turns out the state was mistaken, the Supreme Court has given the okay to refusing to hear the prisoner's petition for redress of grievances. The defendant will be killed even though the state made a mistake.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Right to bear arms: This amendment is so commonly challenged that the movement has its own name: gun control. Legislation banning various types of weapons is supported with the claim that the weapons are not for "legitimate" sporting purposes. This is a perversion of the right to bear arms for two reasons. First, the basis of freedom is not that permission to do legitimate things is granted to the people, but rather that the government is empowered to do a limited number of legitimate things—everything else people are free to do; they do not need to justify their choices. Second, the purpose of the second amendment is not to provide arms for sporting purposes. The right to bear arms is the last line of defense of our rights. In case there is an emergency, in case the people running the government get out of control, guns in the hands of the people—all the people—are the last chance to defend our freedom. Some people contend the second amendment forbids Congress to prohibit the maintenance of a state militia. If so, this amendment is threatened by an incident described below, at the tenth amendment, in which the Federal government took control of the state militias.

Firearms regulations also empower local officials, such as police chiefs, to grant or deny permits. This gives local officials power to grant permits only to friends of people in the right places or to deny permits on sexist or racist bases—such as denying women the right to carry a weapon needed for self-defense.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Quartering soldiers: This amendment is fairly clean so far, but it is not entirely safe. In July and August of 1990, 200 troops in camouflage dress with M-16s and helicopters swept through King Range National Conservation Area in Humboldt County, California, in a militarized attack involving the California National Guard, the Army, and seven other federal agencies.16 In the process of searching for marijuana plants, soldiers assaulted people with M-16s, trespassed on private land, and destroyed private property, including a fire-protection spring box and watering system the day before a major fire (they thought it might be used to irrigate marijuana plants).17,18,19 This is not a direct hit on the third amendment, but the disregard for private property is threateningly close.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Right to be secure in persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures: The RICO law is making a mockery of the right to be secure from seizure. Entire stores of books or videotapes have been confiscated based upon the presence of some sexually explicit items. Bars, restaurants, or houses are taken from the owners because employees or tenants sold drugs. In Volusia County, Florida, Sheriff Robert Vogel and his officers stop automobiles for contrived violations. If large amounts of cash are found, the police confiscate it on the presumption that it is drug money—even if there are no drugs or other evidence of a crime and no charges are filed against the car's occupants.20,21 The victims can get their money back only if they prove the money was obtained legally. One couple got their money back by proving it was an insurance settlement. Two other men who tried to get their two thousand dollars back were denied by the Florida courts.

Right to be secure in persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures: A new law goes into effect in Oklahoma on 1 January 1991. All property, real and personal, is taxable, and citizens are required to list all their personal property for tax assessors, including household furniture, gold and silver plate, musical instruments, watches, jewelry, and personal, private, or professional libraries. If a citizen refuses to list their property or is suspected of not listing something, the law directs the assessor to visit and enter the premises, getting a search warrant if necessary.22 Being required to tell the state everything you own is not being secure in one's home and effects.

No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation: As a supporting oath or affirmation, reports of anonymous informants are accepted. This practice has been condoned by the Supreme Court.

Particularly describing the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized: Today's warrants do not particularly describe the things to be seized—they list things that might be present. For example, if police are making a drug raid, they will list weapons as things to be searched for and seized. This is done not because the police know of any weapons and can particularly describe them, but because they allege people with drugs often have weapons.

The two items immediately above both apply to the warrant the Hudson, New Hampshire, police used when they broke down Bruce Lavoie's door at 5 a.m. with guns drawn and shot and killed him. The warrant claimed information from an anonymous informant, and it said, among other things, that any guns found were to be seized.23 Although Bruce Lavoie had no guns and there was no reason to suspect he did, the mention of guns in the warrant was used as reason to enter with guns drawn. Bruce Lavoie was not secure from unreasonable search and seizure.

Other infringements on the fourth amendment include roadblocks and the Boston Police detention and deliberate harassment of known gang members.24 Gang membership is known by such things as skin color and clothing color. And in Pittsburgh again, Eugene Tyler was once searched because he was wearing sweat pants and a plaid shirt—police told him they heard many drug dealers at that time were wearing sweat pants and plaid shirts.25

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject to the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Indictment of a grand jury: Kevin Bjornson has been proprietor of Hydro-Tech for nearly a decade and is a leading authority on hydroponic technology and cultivation. On 26 October 1989, both locations of Hydro-Tech were raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration. National Drug Control Policy Director William Bennett has declared that some indoor lighting and hydroponic equipment is purchased by marijuana growers, so retailers and wholesalers of such equipment are drug profiteers and co-conspirators. Bjornson was not charged with any crime, nor subpoenaed, issued a warrant, or arrested. No illegal substances were found on his premises. Federal officials were unable to convince grand juries to indict Bjornson. By February, they had called scores of witnesses and recalled many two or three times, but none of the grand juries they convened decided there was reason to criminally prosecute Bjornson. In spite of that, as of March 1990, his bank accounts were still frozen and none of the inventories or records had been returned.26 Grand juries refused to indict Bjornson, but the government is still penalizing him.

Twice put in jeopardy of life or limb: Raymond Buckey was put on trial a second time for child molesting in the McMartin Preschool case, after a first trial lasting three years acquitted him of 40 charges but deadlocked on 13 other counts.27 Anthony Barnaby was tried for the same murder three times before New Hampshire released him,28 even though there was virtually no physical evidence linking him to the scene of the crime.29 These were mistrials rather than not-guilty verdicts, but they were not mistrials caused by accident (such as a juror falling ill) or incorrect procedure (such as misconduct by a prosecutor). The facts here are that the prosecutors did not convince the juries that the defendants were guilty, yet the defendants were tried over and over again, sapping them in finances and in years from their lives. The trying and retrying of a person becomes an abuse that threatens the right to continue with one's life after having withstood the jeopardy to life or limb.

Compelled to be a witness against himself: Oliver North was forced to testify against himself. Congress granted him immunity from having anything he said to them being used as evidence against him, and then they required him to talk. After he did so, what he said was used to develop other evidence which was used against him.30

Compelled to be a witness against himself: In the New York Central Park assault case, three people were found guilty of assault. But there was no physical evidence linking them to the crime; hair, clothing, and semen did not match any of the defendants.31,32 The only evidence the state had was confessions. To obtain these confessions, the police questioned 15-year-old Yusef Salaam without a parent present—which is illegal under New York state law.33 Police also refused to let the subject's Big Brother, an assistant United States attorney, see him during questioning. Police screamed "You better tell us what we want to hear and cooperate or you are going to jail," at 14-year-old Antron McCray, according to Bobby McCray, his father.34 Antron McCray "confessed" after his father told him to, because the police said they would release him if he confessed.35 These people were coerced into bearing witness against themselves, and those confessions were used to convict them.

[In 2002, years after this article was published, all five original defendants were found to be innocent, and their wrongful convictions were vacated.]

Compelled to be a witness against himself: Your answers to Census questions are required by law, with a $100 penalty for each question not answered. But people have been evicted for giving honest Census answers. According to the General Accounting Office, one of the most frequent ways city governments use census information is to detect illegal two-family dwellings. This has happened in Montgomery County, Maryland; Pullman, Washington; and Long Island, New York. In this and other ways, Census answers are used against the answerers.36

Compelled to be a witness against himself: The government is requiring drug tests from more and more people, even when there is no probable cause, no accident, and no suspicion of drug use. Requiring people to take drug tests compels them to provide evidence against themselves.

Deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law: This clause is violated on each of the items life, liberty, and property. Incidents including such violations are described elsewhere in this article. Here are two more: On 26 March 1987, in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, Jeffrey Miles was killed by police officer John Rucker, who was looking for a suspected drug dealer. Rucker had been sent to the wrong house; Miles was not wanted by police.37 He received no due process. In Detroit, $4,834 was seized from a grocery store after dogs detected traces of cocaine on three one-dollar bills in a cash register.38

Private property taken for public use without just compensation: RICO is shredding this aspect of the Bill of Rights. The money confiscated by Sheriff Vogel goes directly into Vogel's budget. Federal and local governments seize and auction cars and boats. Vehicles are seized even if the owners are not present or responsible for the presence of drugs (as in the case of chartered vehicles). One car was seized because an inspector believed the smell of marijuana was in it.39 Under RICO, the government is seizing property without due process. The victims are required to prove not only that they are not guilty of a crime, but that they are entitled to their property. Otherwise, the government auctions off the property and keeps the proceeds.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining Witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

The right to a speedy and public trial: Surprisingly, the right to a public trial is under attack. When Marion Barry was being tried, the prosecution attempted to bar Louis Farrakhan and George Stallings from the gallery. This request was based on an allegation that they would send silent and "impermissible messages" to the jurors.40 The judge initially granted this request.41 One might argue that the whole point of a public trial is to send a message to all the participants: The message is that the public is watching; the trial had better be fair.

By an impartial jury: The government does not even honor the right to trial by an impartial jury. US District Judge Edward Rafeedie is investigating improper influence on jurors by US marshals in the Enrique Camarena case. US marshals apparently illegally communicated with jurors during deliberations.42

Of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed: Manuel Noriega is being tried so far away from the place where he is alleged to have committed crimes that the United States had to invade another country and overturn a government to get him. Nor is this a unique occurrence; in a matter separate from the jury tampering, Judge Rafeedie had to dismiss charges against Mexican gynecologist Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain on the grounds that the doctor was illegally abducted from his Guadalajara office in April 1990 and turned over to US authorities.43

To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation: Steve Jackson Games, nearly put out of business by the raid described previously, has been stonewalled by the SS. "For the past month or so these guys have been insisting the book wasn't the target of the raid, but they don't say what the target was, or why they were critical of the book, or why they won't give it back," Steve Jackson says. "They have repeatedly denied we're targets but don't explain why we've been made victims."44 Attorneys for SJG tried to find out the basis for the search warrant that led to the raid on SJG. But the application for that warrant was sealed by order of the court and remained sealed at last report, in July 1990.45 Not only has the SS taken property and nearly destroyed a publisher, it will not even explain the nature and cause of the accusations that led to the raid.

To be confronted with the witnesses against him: The courts are beginning to play fast and loose with the right to confront witnesses. Testimony via videotape or one-way television is being used for former Presidents and children. Such procedures reduce the information a jury receives. First, the lack of the physical presence of the witness makes it more difficult for the jury to judge the witness' veracity and get an accurate impression of what the witness is saying. Second, the cumbersome procedures involved reduce the ability for either prosecution or defense to cross-examine the witness—a step which is essential to bringing out the truth in difficult situations.

To have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses: When John M. Poindexter subpoenaed Ronald Reagan as a witness in Poindexter's trial, Reagan fought the subpoena.46 The White House and the Justice Department also opposed providing documents in response to subpoenas of Oliver North.47 Without the disputed papers, Federal District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell had to dismiss the main criminal charges against North.48 The government said the documents were being withheld for reasons of national security. Some of the documents had already been made public by release to a private institute in another court case. The prosecution knew this but still told the court the documents were secret.49

To have the assistance of counsel: Connecticut Judge Joseph Sylvester is refusing to assign public defenders to people accused of drug-related crimes, including drunk driving.50

To have the assistance of counsel: RICO is also affecting the right to have the assistance of counsel. The government confiscates the money of an accused person, which leaves them unable to hire attorneys. The IRS has served summonses nationwide to defense attorneys around the country, demanding the names of clients who paid cash for fees exceeding $10,000.51

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

Right of trial by jury in suits at common law: There are several ways this right can be taken from somebody. If a person is not careful about knowing when to ask for a jury trial, the government might refuse to grant the right. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, failure to demand a trial by jury in time constitutes a waiver of the right.52 The rules courts are using allow judges to direct a jury to return a particular verdict. Or a judge can decide a verdict is wrong according to the evidence, set aside the jury's verdict, and order a new trial.53 In Slocum v. New York Life Insurance Company, the Supreme Court decided that in a case where the judge allowed the jury to deliberate, the matter could not be changed by directing the verdict, because of the seventh amendment, but it was okay to declare a mistrial and order a new trial in which the judge could direct the jury verdict.54 This sidesteps the seventh amendment and removes the power to decide justice and facts from the people of a jury.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Excessive bail and fines: Tallahatchie County in Mississippi charges ten dollars a day to each person who spends time in the jail, regardless of the length of stay or the outcome of their trial. This means innocent people are forced to pay. Marvin Willis was stuck in jail for 90 days trying to raise $2,500 bail on an assault charge. But after he made that bail, he was kept imprisoned because he could not pay the $900 rent Tallahatchie demanded. Nine former inmates are suing the county for this practice.55

Cruel and unusual punishments: House Resolution 4079 threatens this right too: "... a Federal court shall not hold prison or jail crowding unconstitutional under the eighth amendment except to the extent that an individual plaintiff inmate proves that the crowding causes the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment of that inmate."56

Cruel and unusual punishments: A life sentence for selling a quarter of a gram of cocaine for $20—that is what Ricky Isom was sentenced to in February 1990 in Cobb County, Georgia. It was Isom's second conviction in two years, and state law imposes a mandatory sentence. Even the judge pronouncing the sentence thinks it is cruel; Judge Tom Cauthorn expressed grave reservations before sentencing Isom and Douglas Rucks (convicted of selling 3.5 grams of cocaine in a separate but similar case). Judge Cauthorn called the sentences "Draconian."57

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Other rights retained by the people: Other rights retained by the people include the right of a citizen to work in or for a political party and the right to marital privacy.58 Those are some of the rights the authors of the Constitution were trying to protect by telling us in this amendment that the other parts of the Constitution were not to be interpreted as a complete list, that people have fundamental rights other than those explicitly listed, and those rights should not be infringed. But still the government tries. The Hatch Act limits political activities of people who are employed by the government. Various states attempt to regulate marital relations. Another right considered fundamental is the right to travel, including travel abroad across borders in either direction and travel within the country.59 Yet the Federal government limits travel to Cuba and other countries, and states establish roadblocks to question and examine citizens. And aspects of our private lives are increasingly regulated. At home, recreation, and work, laws and regulations dictate what the government thinks is good for us.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Powers reserved to the states or the people: Until 1937, this amendment was used to keep Congress within limits in such things as regulation of commerce, enforcement of the fourteenth amendment, and laying and collecting taxes.60 Today, this protection has eroded. The Federal government exercises much power through purse strings, by taking money from the people and corporations within the states and refusing to return it unless states conform to Federal rules. By controlling money, the Federal government coerces obedience from the states in setting speed limits, defining crimes, and setting criminal sentences and penalties. In 1984, Reagan signed a law ordering millions of dollars withheld from states not raising their drinking age to 21.61 South Dakota objected to this and sued, with support from eight other states.62 On 23 June 1987, the Supreme Court ruled against the states.63 On the same day, the Supreme Court overturned an 1861 decision prohibiting Federal courts from ordering states to extradite criminal suspects to other states.64 That power of a state to refuse extradition saved a free black person from being extradited in 1861 from Ohio to Kentucky to face trial for the crime of helping a slave to escape, but the power is now gone.

Powers reserved to the states or the people: Article I, section eight of the Constitution reserves to the states the authority of training the militia. In 1986, Minnesota and eleven other states refused permission for their National Guard units to be sent to Honduras for training missions. A Federal judge denied the states this authority.65


Out of ten amendments, all are under attack. All of the individual parts of each amendment are threatened. Many of them are under multiple attacks of different natures. If this much of the Bill of Rights is threatened, how can you be sure your rights are safe? A right has to be there when you need it. Like insurance, you cannot afford to wait until you need it and then set about procuring it or ensuring it is available. Assurance must be made in advance.

The bottom line here is that your rights are not safe. You do not know when one of your rights will be violated. A number of rights protect accused persons, and you may think it is not important to protect the rights of criminals. But if a right is not there for people accused of crimes, it will not be there when you need it. With the Bill of Rights in the sad condition described above, nobody can be confident they will be able to exercise the rights to which they are justly entitled. To preserve our rights for ourselves in the future, we must defend them for everybody today.


1 "Bush on Atheism," Free Inquiry 8, no. 4 (Fall 1988): 16.

2 Steve Green, "Courtroom Respect Case Goes to Trial," United Press International (UPI), circa 9 August 1990.

3 Rob Boston, "The Day 'Sherbert' Melted," Church and State 43, no. 6 (June 1990): 4-6.

4 Steve Moore, "Supreme Court Deals Devastating Blow to Native American Church," Native American Rights Fund Legal Review (Spring 1990).

5 Michael Gartner, "If Corporations Are Silenced in Political Debate, Who's Next?", Wall Street Journal, 5 April 1990, sec. A, 19.

6 Roger Cohen, "Judge Halts Publication of Book by Ex-Israeli Intelligence Agent," New York Times, 13 September 1990, sec. A, 1, and sec. C, 24.

7 John Perry Barlow, "Crime and Puzzlement," Whole Earth Review 68 (Fall 1990): 44-57.

8 Jef Poskanzer of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), electronic mail to author, 17 September 1990. EFF provided litigation support to Neidorf.

9 "Legal Case Summary," Electronic Frontier Foundation, 10 July 1990.

10 Barlow.

11 Ibid.

12 Dan Donovan and Ellen Perlmutter, "Teens Say Drug Tactics Hassle the Innocent," Pittsburgh Press, 10 July 1990.

13 Ibid.

14 House of Representatives, House Resolution 4079, 101st Congress, 2d session, 1990, 37-43.

15 Linda Greenhouse, "Justices Limit Path to US Courts for State Prisoners on Death Row," New York Times, 6 March 1990, sec. A, 1 and 20.

16 Eric Brazil, "Troops Raid Humboldt Pot Farms," San Francisco Examiner, 31 July 1990, sec. A, 1 and 16.

17 Rick DelVecchio, "US Marijuana Busters Find 'Good Quantities'," San Francisco Chronicle, 1 August 1990, sec. A, 1f.

18 DelVecchio, "Humboldt Man Talks About Close Encounters," San Francisco Chronicle, 2 August 1990, sec. A, 2.

19 Ronald M. Sinoway, "Nationwide Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Operation Green Sweep," Civil Liberties Monitoring Project, 9 August 1990.

20 Jacob Sullum, "Little Big Brothers," Trends, Reason 21, no. 10 (March 1990): 14.

21 20/20, American Broadcasting Companies, January 1990.

22 Don Bell, "Supreme Court Dictatorship in America," The CDL Report 129 (June 1990), quoting the text of the bill as printed in The Christian World Report, 16 May 1989.

23 Hudson Police Shooting, Investigation report case I-89-220, Concord: New Hampshire State Police, 13 August 1989, 243.

24 Jerry Thomas, "Police Sweep of Gangs Deemed a Success," Boston Globe, 21 May 1989, 40.

25 Donovan and Perlmutter.

26 Amy Swanson, "Libertarian Activist in Northwest Victim of Bennett's Drug War," Libertarian Party News 5, no. 3 (March 1990).

27 "2d Trial Opens in Preschool Molestation Case," New York Times, 8 May 1990, sec. A, 13.

28 Pendleton Beach, "Barnaby 'Ecstatic' at Release," Nashua Telegraph, 11 July 1990, 1.

29 Carolyn Magnuson, "Caplin Shadows Barnaby Trial," Nashua Telegraph, 8 October 1989, sec. A, 1 and 4.

30 "Say Goodnight, Mr. Walsh," Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal, 10 September 1990, sec. A, 14.

31 Ronald Sullivan, "Scientific Link is Still Missing in Jogger Trial," New York Times, 20 July 1990, sec. B, 1 and 5.

32 Sullivan, "Defense Asks, Was Jogger Really Raped?", New York Times, 8 August 1990, sec. B, 1 and 3.

33 Sullivan, "Police Ignored Warnings on Age of Jogger Suspect, Witnesses Say," New York Times, 31 July 1990, sec. B, 3.

34 Peg Byron, "Father Says He Told Son to Lie After Police Lied to Him," UPI, circa 30 July 1990.

35 Sullivan, "Youth's Father Says He Urged Park-Rape Lie," New York Times, 28 July 1990, 23 and 26.

36 James Bovard, "Honesty May Not Be Your Best Census Policy," Wall Street Journal, 8 August 1989, sec. A, 10.

37 John Dentinger, "Narc, Narc," Playboy 37, no. 4 (April 1990): 49-50.

38 Sullum.

39 Jon Nordheimer, "Tighter Federal Drug Dragnet Yields Cars, Boats and Protests," New York Times, 22 May 1988, sec. A, 1 and 16.

40 Sandra Sardella, "ACLU Says Farrakhan, Stallings Can Attend Barry Trial," UPI, circa 5 July 1990.

41 B. Drummond Ayres, Jr., "Witness in Barry Trial Now Denies Exceeding Agents' Instructions," New York Times, 4 July 1990, 10.

42 Carol Baker, "Camarena Judge Vows to Get to 'Bottom' of Mistrial Motion," UPI, circa 9 August 1990.

43 "US Appeals Order to Return Suspect to Mexico," New York Times, 18 August 1990, 9.

44 "CyberPunk Could Prove End of Steve Jackson Games," UPI, 10 May 1990.

45 "Legal Case Summary," Electronic Frontier Foundation, 10 July 1990.

46 "Reagan Fighting a Subpoena," New York Times, 3 January 1990, sec. A, 16.

47 Philip Shenon, "North Subpoenas Face Fight by White House," New York Times, 1 January 1989, 12.

48 Michael Wines, "Key North Counts Dismissed by Court," New York Times, 14 January 1989, 1.

49 David Johnston, "Trial of North Stalled Again; Defense Moves for Dismissal," New York Times, 1 March 1989, sec. A, 1 and 20.

50 "Drug Suspects Barred From Public Defenders," New York Times, 12 July 1990, national edition, sec. B, 3.

51 "IRS Issues Summonses to Defense Lawyers," New York Times, 7 March 1990, sec. A, 17.

52 Library of Congress Legislative Reference Service, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, edited by Johnny H. Killian and Leland E. Beck, 99th Congress, 1st session, 1987, Senate document 99-16, 1376.

53 Ibid, 1382.

54 Ibid.

55 "Ex-inmates Take Issue with Jail Cell Fees," Insight (16 April 1990): 55.

56 House Resolution 4079, 8-9.

57 Mark Curriden, "Man Gets Life for $20 Sale of Cocaine," Atlanta Journal, 22 February 1990.

58 Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation, 1412-1413.

59 Milton R. Konvitz, Bill of Rights Reader: Leading Constitutional Cases, 5th ed. (New York: Cornell University Press, 1973): 518.

60 Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation, 1418.

61 Steven R. Weisman, "Reagan Signs Law Linking Federal Aid to Drinking Age," New York Times, 18 July 1984, sec. A, 15.

62 Dick Pawelek, "Resolve Two Federal-State Conflicts," Scholastic Update 119, no. 10 (26 January 1987): 21-22.

63 Stuart Taylor, Jr., "Justices Back Use of Aid to Get States to Raise Drinking Age," New York Times, 24 June 1987, sec. A, 20.

64 Ibid.

65 "States Lose Suit on the Guard's Latin Missions," New York Times, 5 August 1987, sec. A, 10.