If our founding fathers could see the kind of abuses of our privacy, our property rights, our gun rights, and our other ‘constitutionally guaranteed’ rights Americans tolerate today, they would shake their heads in disbelief.
They would likely wonder why they risked their lives, their livelihoods, and their freedom to bequeath to their descendants a nation allegedly designed to be immune from the authoritarian trappings seen in their day, only to see it slowly return to precisely the form of government they opposed.
In a recent column, libertarian and former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts analyzes this from the perspective of the 2020 Census. Specifically, Roberts wonders how it is that the Judicial Branch permits regular, serial abuses of our constitutionally guaranteed rights but refuses to allow the government to find out how many people in our country are actually citizens.
We can have our bodies X-rayed at airports, and soon we’ll be forced to accept a government-mandated identification (Real ID — or a passport, same thing) before we can board a plane.
It’s permissible for certain jurisdictions around the country to take away our right to keep and bear certain kinds of arms, or bear them publicly, and in a manner we choose.
Our property rights exists insofar as we continue to pay taxes year after year after year, lest it be foreclosed upon and taken from us by force and threat of jail.
The NSA is free to listen to our phone calls, read our text messages, and intercept our emails at will — in the name of “national security.”
And federal courts have upheld all of these abuses — and more — in ‘deference’ to the Executive and Legislative Branches. (Related: Would the Founding Fathers be banned from social media?)
Unless the government — well, Donald Trump — wants to know how many actual citizens America has. Then, suddenly, that’s a bridge too far for the Judicial Branch, somehow.
Why aren’t federal courts protecting our rights?
The U.S. Supreme Court has done next to nothing to enforce the Constitution and stop the government’s spying on the population.
Phone calls, text messages, emails, credit card purchases, state driver’s license databases, literally everything about our lives is collected as privacy-violating information.
Yet the Supreme Court — based on speculation about the government’s motives — has blocked the 2020 Census from finding out how many people living in the U.S. are citizens. Apparently, the jurists on the court regard whether one is or is not a citizen as the only piece of private information that can’t be collected.
Don’t get us wrong. We are max attentive of the need for our government to protect our country. But spying — er, scooping up every bit of data — on citizens simply is not permissible under our Constitution, period.
Neither is banning, limiting access to, or requiring government permission to buy any firearms. And yet, federal courts and the Supreme Court uphold these kinds of statutes all the time.
Roberts says that the high court appears to be “responding to the organizers of Hispanices, such as the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund,” who are claiming that collecting citizenship data is now, suddenly, in the Trump era, racist and bigoted.
That’s the standard go-to excuse for opposing anything this administration is attempting to do.
Not everything is racism because if that’s true, then nothing is racism.
The fact is, Roberts has made a great case for not only plowing ahead with asking about citizenship on the 2020 Census, but in demanding that federal courts begin acting as defenders of our rights against an encroaching, all-powerful federal leviathan that has grown accustomed to violating our rights to the point where the violations are frequent, brazen, and widely accepted by far too many Americans.