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Thread: Constitutional Protection - Six Levels of Checks and Balances

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    On another forum, a wile LEO wrote:


    "Most people I know personally hold to the belief that the right to self-defense, as well as the defense of one's family, community, state and ultimately nation is one of the inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator and is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment of USC. It isn't specified as such, but I believe it is nevertheless implied as the Court opined in the Heller decision."
    Excellent point!

    Our right to keep and bear arms has a much deeper meaning than mere self-defence, which many of you have touched on.

    I'd like to take you through a short journey of discovery:

    The oath I took upon commissioning as a military officer was:

    I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.


    Given the nature of the military, and that we are prohibited from being used as a force against domestic criminals, domestic riots, or for that matter, any other domestic issues, just what do you suppose that phrase means? Does it mean to protect the piece of paper upon which our Constitution was printed? I seriously doubt that as copies were made when it was signed, and were distributed to the states, and a couple were held back for the national archives. Since then many highly detailed photographs have been made of each. Good luck getting it all! Furthermore, even on the virtually impossible task of that happening, many copies exist throughout the countries of our allies.

    Our Constitution is in no danger of disappearing.

    So what does that mean, "all enemies, ... and domestic?" What is a "domestic enemy" of the Constitution, anyway?

    They can be broken down into several different categories, but it's easilly summed by: Those who, either through ignorance, indifference, or malice, seek to interpret and/or enforce the Constitution against the original intent of its authors. Naturally, determing "original intent" is the tricky part. However, when any individual or groups approaches the task of interpretation while carrying any agenda, either hidden or open, other than merely, actually, and factually discern the original intent of its authors, I'd say the motives of that invidual or group becomes highly suspect. The same goes for anyone who attempts to supress a non-tained version of that original intent.

    I, for one, am thankful for the SOTUS opinion on Heller. Their near-even splits on many decisions, however, clearly evidences that no one, including Congress, SCOTUS, or the President, is immune from either temptation or bias. Our Founding Fathers knew this, and that's one of the reasons we do have three branches of the government, with several hundred members in all, instead of a "wise, ruling monarch."

    I also believe it's one of the reasons why the principle difference between the military's officer and enlisted oaths is the exclusion in the officer oath to obey orders. We were under the UCMJ to obey all lawful orders, but we were free to disobey unlawful ones. Naturally, that can be very tricky, and one must know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, what's lawful, and what's not. On several occasions throughout my career I exercised that responsibility, usually by simply seeking clarification from a higher authority who would either intervene or would deliver to me some education! (not fun, but not a career-ender).

    Later in my career, however, there were a couple of instances where I had to turn to base legal. It's sort of weird - they work for the command, but also have the responsibility to ensure the command minds its legal p's and q's. Needless to say, when that happens, the command isn't happy, as the command knows what they want to do and why. They're not happy when legal says why doing that would be against the law, particularly when, if command went ahead and did it, legal would start running the issue up through the chain until they found a higher commander who was willing to prefer charges.

    That's how it works, a "behind the scenes" view of what you read about in the papers when an officer gets into hot water because they're doing something "illegal, immoral (usually illegal), or unethical (judgement call)."

    Thus, in the military, all military members are watch dogs of one another. We're self-policing. Officers, however, bear the additional privalage, and responsibility, of disobeying unlawful orders if the situation warrents.

    Getting back to the Constitution, each of our branchs of our governement watches one another, and each has the power, and the authority, to override the other, within limits. President appoints members of SCOTUS and can veto Congressional bills. Congress can override a Presidental veto, confirms members of SCOTUS, can pass bills undermining SCOTUS decisions, or if it's a Constitutional issue, can amend the Constitution.

    Of these, I believe SCOTUS holds the least power, as their sole duty is to interpret the law. They're under a huge spotlight, not only from the people, but from the other branches, and particularly the judiciary system. Whenever they've pulled a royal goof, rarely does much time pass before The People, their elected Representatives in Congress, and the President swing into action to reestablish the legal boundaries (law) against which SCOTUS must act.

    Only a little off tangent, here...

    "as well as the defense of ... community, state and ultimately nation."

    While it's highly unlikely in this day and age, what would happen if our government's system of checks and balances ever failed, if, for whatever reason, they, en mass, decided to depart from the Constitution in (a) significant way(s)? What then?

    A military officer is bound by oath to support and defend the Constitution. Our allegience is to this document alone (and of course to the laws stemming from it). So long as all officers hold true to their oath, at some point the issue will come to the point where the military will respond, "Mr. President, I deeply regret I cannot follow such an order, as it violates my oath of office."

    The reason I say this scenario is "it's highly unlikely in this day and age" is because our government knows this. It's a fourth level of checks and balances.

    I'm not sure what your (LEO)oaths say, but from what I gather, the Constitution is mentioned in nearly all of them in one form or another. So the law enforcement community is the fifth level of checks and balances.

    The last level of checks and balances with respect to our Constitution is The People. Madison knew this when he penned the preamble of our 2nd Amendment, "being necessary to the security of a free State," as opposed to an oppressive state, an absolute monarchy, totalitarian regime, etc.

    However, the not-so-free State also includes conditions not directed by a government, including riots, anarchy, or an unacceptably high rate of crime, and I believe it's that portion of Heller cited by the Supreme Court in it's decision.

    Well, that was a round-a-bout way of getting to the foundation behind the Surpreme Court's decision in Heller, but there you have it. I think I've clearly shown, however, that on the remote chance our government depart en-mass from it's foundation, our foundation, the Constitution, there remain insurmountable hurdles against any permanent departure.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

  2. #2
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    In my last job (I am now retired), I worked for one of our nation's largest defense contractors, although I was not involved in a project related to our national defense. Our location was frequently host to client meetings and training sessions and more often than not, those clients were military personnel. So over the past two years, I decided to approach some of these peoplel and ask them a question which went something like this.

    If you received an order which had been issued from the Commander in Chief (the president's office) to begin the process of aiding state and local police in the confiscation of privately owned firearms, would you carry out that order?

    Not one of the military people to whom I had posed this question answered in the affirmative. Several indicated that they could not carry out such an order as it would be in violation of several laws and statutes as well as their military oath. This pleased me greatly.

    And by the way, such an order from the president would not only be an illegal order, but would also be of sufficient grounds for his immediate removal from office and a charge of high treason.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    In my last job (I am now retired), I worked for one of our nation's largest defense contractors, although I was not involved in a project related to our national defense. Our location was frequently host to client meetings and training sessions and more often than not, those clients were military personnel. So over the past two years, I decided to approach some of these peopel and ask them a question which went something like this.

    If you received an order which had been issued from the Commander in Chief (the president's office) to begin the process of aiding state and local police in the confiscation of privately owned firearms, would you carry out that order?

    Not one of the military people to whom I had posed this question answered in the affirmative. Several indicated that they could not carry out such an order as it would be in violation of several laws and statutes as well as their military oath. This pleased me greatly.

    And by the way, such an order from the president would not only be an illegal order, but would also be of sufficient grounds for his immediate removal from office and a charge of high treason.
    Maybe you are old enough to remember the old "Firesign Theater" comedy group and their LP album "Everything You Know Is Wrong". There is a scene where during an outdoor breakfast with his wife, a Major and a Colonel, a General announced that "Two flying saucers have landed on my plate!" - referring to his fried eggs. When the major asks. "general....are you nuts?" the General replies, "AH, ha ha that is precisely what they want you to believe".

    Then the voiceover says: "They think he is insane! YET he out ranks them! His option? COMMAND!"

    I never thought I would see anything like that play out in my lifetime for real, yet here we are.

    Anyhow happy Sausage Day, and don't forget to groan when you realize the horrible pun I have just crypto-made.



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    This is going to pain me to admit, but although I believe the vast majority of Enlisted personnel would align themselves with the concepts in the OP, many of them are perhaps not educated as to the content of the USC.

    This gets kind of frustrating, sitting around a table at the mess hall, or out on a field exercise, and hearing some of the things come out of the younger guys.

    Thankfully, there are Officers and NCO's to which many place a great amount of faith in, and eventually would understand these concepts anyways.

    Regrettably, I think there would still be a small split of personnel who would deviate and follow an unlawful order, because of ignorance in the very oath they swore to defend.

    Please understand I mean only a small portion.
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    Personal responsibility is a facade created by religious people in particular...
    On "Personal Responsibility just after the previous, in the same exact thread.
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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    slowfiveoh wrote:
    This is going to pain me to admit, but although I believe the vast majority of Enlisted personnel would align themselves with the concepts in the OP, many of them are perhaps not educated as to the content of the USC.

    This gets kind of frustrating, sitting around a table at the mess hall, or out on a field exercise, and hearing some of the things come out of the younger guys.

    Thankfully, there are Officers and NCO's to which many place a great amount of faith in, and eventually would understand these concepts anyways.

    Regrettably, I think there would still be a small split of personnel who would deviate and follow an unlawful order, because of ignorance in the very oath they swore to defend.

    Please understand I mean only a small portion.
    I think you're right.

    The one thing that might turn them around is when they realize that there will also be military personnel in their own home towns, breaking and entering and confiscating private arms from family, neighbors, and friends. And some will get shot on both side for their efforts. Once they understand that mom and dad may get kill by people in uniform as they themselves are, then they might see things a bit differently and say, "No sir. We will NOT carry out this illegal order".

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    One thing I am both hopeful and fearing is that now that checks on the power of the statists are emerging, and I mean from recent elections most notably in Mass.; and from elections yet to come which are generating some backbone in the "Blue Dogs"; and from recent assertive legislation asserting the 10th Amendment by the States; the ability of Obama and the rest to pound anything down our throats is diminishing.

    I am not now so worried about Obama trying to disarm everyone as I am about what he would do in the face of an event of the magnitude of the Cuban Missile Crisis, or even a huge terror attack. IMO Obama would be about as effective in defending the USA as Fredo Corleone was in defending his father Don Vito. Obama might be a great organizer, he might be a great cheerleader. But as for Commander in Chief? He couldn't lead a pack of Webelos scouts in a campfire sing.

    If, say, Israel finally decided it was necessary to attack Iran, I am afraid that Obama's inability to deal with a war effectively might just result in a military coup de etat. I just hope we can stymei the radicals until we are able to remove them via ballot.

  7. #7
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Alexcabbie wrote:
    One thing I am both hopeful and fearing is that now that checks on the power of the statists are emerging, and I mean from recent elections most notably in Mass.; and from elections yet to come which are generating some backbone in the "Blue Dogs"; and from recent assertive legislation asserting the 10th Amendment by the States; the ability of Obama and the rest to pound anything down our throats is diminishing.

    I am not now so worried about Obama trying to disarm everyone as I am about what he would do in the face of an event of the magnitude of the Cuban Missile Crisis, or even a huge terror attack. IMO Obama would be about as effective in defending the USA as Fredo Corleone was in defending his father Don Vito. Obama might be a great organizer, he might be a great cheerleader. But as for Commander in Chief? He couldn't lead a pack of Webelos scouts in a campfire sing.

    If, say, Israel finally decided it was necessary to attack Iran, I am afraid that Obama's inability to deal with a war effectively might just result in a military coup de etat. I just hope we can stymei the radicals until we are able to remove them via ballot.
    I think you're dead on with this. I suspect Obamination would be worse than Carter was with the Iran hostage situation. Talk about a cluster f--k!

    One real fear with our Chicken in Chief is that of him declaring martial law because of major terrorist hits. I am not sure if such action is absolute at the state level - I would love to see the states rise up at that point and essentially tell the feds to pound sand.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    I would love to see the states rise up at that point and essentially tell the feds to pound sand.
    Yep instead of a 'war between' the states a 'war for the states'.
    We just need more states than the last time to tell the feds to stop their unconstitutional intrusions.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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