Bill of Rights

Ted Cruz Slams Supreme Court Decision, Calls it “Big Brother”

Ted Cruz

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a startling decision upholding a Maryland law that allows law enforcement to collect DNA samples from someone merely accused of a felony. The Daily Caller notes that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed the decision in a statement issued through his office and explained its ramifications, calling it  a “significant step towards government as Big Brother”:

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz issued a strong rebuke of Monday’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding a Maryland law that allows law enforcement to collect DNA samples from arrested suspects without a warrant.

“Today’s unfortunate U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Maryland v. King, by a vote of 5-4, expands government power, invades our liberty, and undermines our constitutional rights,” Cruz said in a Monday evening statement. “The Court held that the police can forcibly take DNA samples from people who have been arrested — but have not been tried or convicted — of a serious offense. So now the government can capture, without a search warrant, the most personal information about an individual, and use it to search vast databases for unrelated offenses.”
[…]
“All of us should be alarmed by this significant step towards government as Big Brother. The excessive concentration of power in government is always inimical to liberty, and a national database of our DNA cannot be reconciled with the Fourth Amendment,” Cruz continued.

Bipartisan Push to Prevent Phone Record Seizure Without Court Order

Associated Press

The Department of Justice came under fire this past week for its subpoena of Associated Press phone records without any notice to the news agency or targeted reporters. While Attorney General Eric Holder claims that the action was a response to a national security threat, it was actually part of the Obama Administration’s continuing war on whistleblowers and, as many see it, a shot directly at the free press, which is protected by the First Amendment.

The controversy has brought new attention on the need to protect Americans from this sort of government overreach. on Thursday, Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Jared Polis (D-CO) joined together to introduce H.R. 2014, the Telephone Records Protection Act, which would protect all Americans from this sort of government overreach:

Tea Party Group Sent Copy of Constitution to IRS

Constitution

If you’ve been following the story, you know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave extra scrutiny to Tea Party groups, including asking them questions about donors, relationships with candidates and eleced officials, and youth outreach programs.

ABC News notes that American Patriots Against Government Excess, one of the groups singled out by the IRS. was asked for a synopsis of books they read. Instead of sending a synopsis, the group sent a copy of the Constitution:

When Marion Bower decided to start her tea party organization in 2010, she didn’t know that it would take nearly two years for the Internal Revenue Service to approve her request for tax-exempt status.

The Ohio woman also did not expect that providing information about the books her group read would be part of the application process.

“I was trying to be very cordial, but they wanted copies of unbelievable things,” Bower told ABC News today. “They wanted to know what materials we had discussed at any of our book studies.”

She ultimately sent one of the books, “The Five Thousand Year Leap,” promoted frequently by Glenn Beck, to the IRS official handling her tax-exempt request in Cincinnati. She also sent a paperback copy of the Constitution.

“They wanted a synopsis of all the books we read,” Bower said. “I thought, I don’t have time to write a book report. You can read them for yourselves.”

That is awesome.

IRS Report Brings More Bad News for the Obama Administration

While White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was hesistant to admit that the IRS did anything wrong during his daily press briefing on Tuesday, a report issued by the agency’s watchdog confirms that Tea Party groups were singled out for additional scrutiny and that the more needs to be done to reassure an already distrusting public:

Lax oversight at the Internal Revenue Service allowed for the singling out of some conservative groups, resulting in lengthy delays in the processing of their applications for federal tax-exempt status, according to a report by the agency’s inspector general released Tuesday.

The report found that for more than 18 months beginning in early 2010 the IRS developed and followed a faulty policy to determine whether the applicants were engaged in political activities, which would disqualify the groups from receiving tax-exempt status.

“The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention,” according to the report.

The list of words that IRS officials were using to flag groups for extra scrutiny is about as blatant as it can get. Obviously, “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” and “9/12” were among them, but they also flagged groups that wanted to “make America a better place to live” or educate about the Constitution and Bill of Rights — our nation’s founding documents.

Obama: Reject Voices Warning of Tyranny

Barack Obama at Ohio State University

During a commencement address at The Ohio State University, President Barack Obama praised government, played down the role of the individual, and urged students to reject the voices of tyranny.

“We, the people, chose to do these things together — because we know this country cannot accomplish great things if we pursue nothing greater than our own individual ambition,” President Obama told graduating students. “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works.”

“They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner,” he continued. “You should reject these voices.  Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”

The shot against “individual ambition” is ironic because President Obama himself is the defintion of that term. He was an Illinois state senator who gave a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Later that year, he was elected to the United States Senate. By 2007, he was campaigning full-time for his party’s presidential nomination, which he won in 2008, and would subsequently be elected president.

If that doesn’t define ambition, what does? That’s not a shot against him, by the way. President Obama’s personal story is one that should be admired. The problem with him, of course, is the policies he pushes, which leads us to the next point.

Ted Cruz Invites Joe Biden to Debate Gun Control

Ted Cruz

With Vice President Joe Biden making plans for another big push for new gun control measures, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is looking to challenge him to a debate on the issue.

During the National Rifle Association’s annual convention is past weekend in Houston, Texas, Cruz, who has been an outspoken advocate of civil liberties and conservative causes, poked some fun at Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and defended the Constitution before challenging Biden to a debate on gun control.

“The senior Senator from California explained to me that she is not a sixth-grader,” Cruz said to a humored crowd. “Well, you know, I’m not a sixth-grader either. And it seems to me that when the Constitution says the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” it means that right shall not be infringed.”

Cruz spoke about the disregard that the Left has for various civil liberties. He explained that the “Constitution matters — all of the Constitution.”

“It’s not pick and choose. It’s not take what part you like and get rid of the parts you don’t like. For some reason Obama liberals want to disregard the First Amendment and take away our right to speak and political speech,” said Cruz. “For some reason they want to disregard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. And, for some reason the Obama liberals want to disregard the Tenth Amendment and implement Obamacare and take away our liberties. Every word of the Constitution matters. It is our fundamental protection of our liberties against the government.”

Rand Paul Remains Consistent on Drones Strikes and Immediate Threats

Rand Paul

Last month, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made an impressive, 13-hour stand against the Obama Administration’s domestic drones policy. The Department of Justice had made a tepid legal case for drone strikes against American citizens who are merely suspected of being a terrorist. Attorney General Eric Holder later said that a president could conduct drone strikes on American citizens suspected of terrorist activities inside the United States.

Paul objected to the notion.  “I rise today for the principle,” Paul said during the filibuster. “The principle is one that as Americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the Bill of Rights, to give up on the Fifth Amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted.”

Holder eventually relented his comments, acknowledging that a president doesn’t have the authority to kill an American citizen on American soil, and the coverage of the filibuster boosted Paul’s profile and added to the speculation that he would seek the Republican nomination in 2016. He would go on to win the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll just days after giving a dynamic speech in which he essentially laid out a platform for the future of the Republican Party.

Michael Bloomberg’s Next Target: The Constitution

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, there are new calls from a host of politicians who want Americans to give up their liberties. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) were among the first to say that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged bomber who was apprehended on Friday night, should be held as an “enemy combatant” and thus denied his constitutional right to due process.

Michael Bloomberg agrees. During a press conference on Monday, the New York City Mayor said that Americans should be willing to sacrifice their liberties — including their privacy — on the alter of security:

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
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“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.

“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to,” he said.

Chilean in Chains: Net Neutrality Does Not Mean Internet Freedom

Free Press is holding its National Conference for Media Reform next week. The conference agenda describes the Internet as “central” to freedom of expression, which is how all mass media technologies have been described since the invention of the printing press ushered in the mass communications era. Despite recognizing that the Internet is a mass media technology, Free Press does not believe the Internet should be accorded the same constitutional protections as other mass media technologies. Like so many others, Free Press has forgotten that the dangers posed by government control of the Internet are similar to those posed by earlier mass media technologies. In a stunning reversal of the concepts embodied in the Bill of Rights, Free Press believes the executive and legislative branches of government are the source of protection for the freedom of expression. In their view, “Internet freedom means net neutrality.

Cruz, Lee, and Paul Threaten Filibuster on Gun Control Measures

Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz

The conservative trio who held up John Brennan’s confirmation to the CIA for 13 hours and exposed the White House’s drones policy could be at it again when the Senate takes up gun control measures next month. It may not be a “talking filibuster” like it was the earlier this month, but it could certainly throw a wrench in Senate Democrats’ plans.

According to Politico, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) will today deliver a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stating that they will oppose a procedural motion on any legislation aimed at tightening gun control regulations:

Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are threatening to filibuster gun-control legislation, according to a letter they plan to hand-deliver to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office on Tuesday.

“We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” the three conservatives wrote in a copy of the signed letter obtained by POLITICO.
[…]
Though they don’t use the word “filibuster” in the letter, the conservatives are leaving no doubt that they would filibuster on an initial procedural question — the motion to proceed.


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