Support the Guide on Patron!

Be sure to share your comments in the Class Participation section below -- that's the best part! Also, you can use the arrows on your keyboard to flip through pages quickly.

Use this link to buy the books, and a portion of the proceeds goes to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Join the conversation!
There are now 55 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. Raen says

    There’s a fine line between “quick study” and “trained parrot.”

  2. Jeff says

    Hee hee, “Richard Head”.

    … I’m not 9 myself, I swear.

  3. Gregory Bogosian says

    If all Congress wanted was the documents then why is Richard Head even here? Couldn’t they have just sent the subpoena to Gagster’s legal department and then sent federal agents to Gagster’s corporate headquarters and obtained the documents there? Why do the need the CEO to personally appear before Congress if they don’t need him to testify?

    • Because that’s not how a subpoena works. Subpoena in this case is short for subpoena duces tecum, which is latin for “BRING with you under penalty of punishment”. A subpoena duces tecum is just an order for someone to physically produce certain documents or other physical evidence at a hearing, court proceeding, deposition, etc. If the subpoenaed party was cooperative and no oral testimony about the documents was needed, then they could have arranged for the feds or someone to come pick them up, I suppose. But if they are want to contest the subpoena or be uncooperative, someone is going to have to physically produce the documents in court. Note: a subpoena does NOT give the government the right to forcefully seize documents, evidence, etc. That requires a warrant.

      • Having them picked up might actually be better; you don’t have to worry about being held in contempt due to being stuck in traffic or whatever.

  4. I wouldn’t mind hearing from where cases like this actually happened.

    From what I hear, even Mr. Rogers was the subject of a hearing at one point.

    • Mr Rogers was part of a senate hearing, yes… but the senate hearing was to hear arguments about whether or not funding for PBS should be cut. Mr. Rogers, in his beautiful eloquence, was able to convince the senate that they should not, in fact, cut funding.

      • Yes! That’s what I heard. I saw that video on the internet too.

        I wonder if we could all take a hint from him next time the witch hunt is on one of us :/

  5. David says

    Since the courts have been seemingly granting more rights to corporations; I was wondering where are they at with granting corporations the right to silence? Although if your going to answer that in the future don’t respond.

      • …For now. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years, they get that too. What’s next, the right to bear arms?

        • As I understand, at the moment there are some companies in the state attempting to assert their companies religious rights. The argument being they do not want to pay for government health care that in turn provides abortions. (Lets not get into how wrong that all is.)

          However they are being opposed by Fortune 500 companies who do not want their companies to have too many rights. As nice as it would be to have your company plea the 5th, if your company was a person like a human it would have serious repercussions on the legal culpability of its executive. Someone could even argue that some corporate practices (ie flipping profitable businesses, reducing headcount) could count as ‘neglectful’ or ‘harmful’ to the company-person which would in theory mean a crime was being committed.

          I think it is too much of a legal headache to give too many rights to a company.

          • That’s an interesting point of view, which I must admit hadn’t occurred to me.

            The simple rule-of-thumb is that a company has the powers of a person only when it enables the company to do its business. It lets that group of people act as a single unit, without all of the inefficiencies you’d get if they were all acting as individuals.

            So we protect their rights of free speech because that lets them do business. Ditto for intellectual property rights, contract powers, free association, the right to sue, etc.

            And with rights come obligations, such as taxes, the risk of being sued, contract liabilities, the risk of criminal liability for breaking the laws, etc.

            Freedom of speech has been interpreted to include donating money to political campaigns (essentially including “enabling someone to speak” within the definition of “speaking”). Political speech is important to corporations, because government policies completely affect how they do business. Corporations are a creation of the state, after all. Even so, the risk of corruption (or the appearance of corruption) is such that corporations are not allowed to make direct campaign donations. They are, however, allowed to publish their own speech independently, whether it be a newspaper editorial or an advertisement or what have you.

            I don’t think that could ever be extended to giving corporations the right to vote, as some people sometimes wonder when this comes up. Because the corporation is still just the association of its members, and this would give each of them more than their one vote. You can’t give someone more than one vote, so this couldn’t happen.

            But this raises a fascinating discussion about corporations multiplying the rights and obligations of individuals. Should corporations be allowed to magnify the political speech of their owners? Should the government be allowed to tax those owners twice, once at the corporate level and then again personally, for the same dollar of income? These are not so much fundamental systemic tenets as they are political questions, more readily subject to change as social attitudes change. What do you guys think?

            • For what it’s worth, Kennedy’s opinion in “Citizens United” said that human beings don’t lose their first amendment rights when they act through an association.

              That, IMHO, is very importantly philosophically different than the way a certain segment of the populace likes to spin the CU decision.

              • I saw a lengthy video on YouTube that just BLASTED the Citizens United decision, arguing that corporate entities had NO rights (based purely on moral and public policy grounds rather than anything in the Constitution). The credits noted in passing that the video was “produced by [corporate entity]”. (I don’t remember the name of this entity, but I imagine it was But It’s Different Because We’re The Good Guys, LLC.)

            • Personally I think if the corporations are to have their own voice it should be a separate voice, expressed in its own channel away from common political discourse. The Special Interest method works well for satisfying interested parties, but undermines government’s role as a representative of the people.
              For the same reason the US has a geographic and population based representation, you can argue for economic based representation being split out as well.
              If it was done correctly it could alleviate the money problem. (Being in power makes it easy to make money. Money makes it easy to stay in political power.) If you wanted to be really weird about it you could actually take away the corporations ability to donate to campaign funds and instead let them represent themselves by a balance of their Gross Product and number of employees as those are the two factors usually brought up. Individuals could be given the option to go the same way. Forfeit your vote in exchange for being measured by your dollar value to society.

              You should also see link on the City of London. As has corporations that vote.


              It is the second of a two-part series, but it describes their voting method, which is built on the idea that there are more workers than residents in the city, so they vote through their corporation.

            • For the sake of argument…

              Consider a corporation run by Christian Scientists (for example, a church) being forced to offer and pay for health care, which they officially don’t believe in. Why do I bring in religion? Because religion is a set of beliefs.

              What if the Church of PETA is forced to offer meat in lunches; does that make any difference? It shouldn’t, because that is arguably the intent of the Third Amendment, to ensure that ALL beliefs are handled fairly, not just those which are unionized (I.e., formal churches).

              The various parts of the Third Amendment could be considered different sides of the same coin: where possible, do not restrict what people believe, or say they believe, or say, or do.

              A friend of mine used to say that if employees have to form a union to be treated right, then you’re not running your business right.

              Disclaimer: I’m pretty much agnostic. Why should I have to join a religion to believe what I believe?

              • I think that you mean the first amendment. The third amendment is the one that prohibits the government from making people quarter soldiers in their homes.

          • @Kevin: Suppose the government decided to require all organizations provide to their employees a nutritious lunch, which includes meat. That would apply to PETA and other organizations that promote vegetarianism. Would it also be wrong for them to try to get themselves exempted from the law?

            A privately owned company founded by someone who has religious objections to abortion should have an even better case than the vegetarians because freedom of religion is explicitly in the constitution. Forcing someone to use their property (meaning a company they own) to support a practice they deeply oppose should not be taken lightly. I would rather err on the side of giving people too much freedom, but I know that the people who write the laws do not often take that view.

            • Here you run into an issue. The right of the employee to be provided for vs the right of the company not to provide. If there was a religion that had an admonition against Straps, and there was a car company founded in the name of that religion and they argued for an exemption against mandatory seatbelts in their automobiles. The market might just shut them down, however I don’t think that it would be wise to exempt them from a duty which provides a benefit to society.

              The same applies to providing healthcare which funds contraception, certainly, and abortion, almost certainly. At some point you have to just say “You are entitled to believe what you want and you are entitled to speak on those believes how you want and you are act upon those beliefs right up to the point where it does societal damage”

              • Jawhol!
                “The market might just shut them down, however I don’t think that it would be wise to exempt them from a duty which provides a benefit to society.”

                Don’t forget, turning in runaway slaves and informing on Jews and other terrorists is a stately duty…
                It provides a benefit to society…

            • Here is the trick with the meat sandwich argument. The Employee can refuse the sandwich, and even request a vegetarian option. And I think we can all agree that because the employer worships the eating of meat he does not get to demand that his employee must. Just as the employee can chose to have an abortion or not for themselves regardless of his employers religion.

              It is about responsibility and choice. Once must fulfill one’s responsibilities, one must not take away freedom of choice (except where strictly necessary for the protection of the people which is the Law’s Job).

              • I think you misunderstood my point. The question is about whether PETA and other vegetarian groups could be forced to provide meat to an employee. I take it from your response that they could and it would be wrong for PETA to complain about it. I admit that it would be entertaining, though.

              • “Just as the employee can chose to have an abortion or not for themselves regardless of his employers religion.”

                The employer is NOT blocking the choice of the employee.
                Rather, the Employer DOES NOT WANT TO PAY for said abortion, which they view as murder.

                Maybe the employee should take some responsibility herself? Best cure for unwanted pregnancy: An aspirin tablet. Held firmly between the knees….

                The employee can choose to have the abortion, but must pay for it.
                Abortion is NOT birth control. Nor are abortificants, aka “plan b” and “morning after pill”.

                You might as well accede to my demand that you pay for [racial slur deleted] illegitimate child to go to school… No, not PUBLIC school, he should be in a CHARTER school… Free tuition, all direct from your paycheck.

                Or maybe you should be forced to pay for fertility treatments for the unemployed mother of 6 by 5 different fathers…? She’s perhaps 30, hasn’t worked in the last 10 years… No reason she shouldn’t get another child for more benefits, right? At your cost, though – not her own. “You can’t expect her to pay for those treatments, they’re too expensive!” Uhhh…. Your point is? It’s legal to make ME pay for it, but is it JUST?

    • How exactly would granting corporations the right not to self-incriminate even work? Is it even possible for a corporation to take the stand?

  6. To continue our “record” discussion from the previous page, this may be a better way to promote positive change in our legal system, as opposed to ignoring current statutes:

    • It’s not about ignoring Statutes, it’s about working around them straight to their roots to prove the illegitimacy they already have. No one is obligated to obey an unconstitutional law, or an unlawful order. Moreso, as the true sovereign power, it is a citizen’s imperative moral obligation, political duty, and sacred responsibility to oppose such things and eliminate them.

      Repealing an unconstitutional law is redundant and futile, because unconstitutional laws are null and void from their inception, having no existence in law owing to their unconstitutionality from the very beginning.

      The best way to change the political system is to educate the citizens of the truth and their power, and then convince them to stop mucking around like zombies, or powerless slaves, and actually put some effort into exercising their rights in spite of the initial backlash that will inevitably occur whenever a previously unlimited powerhungry mogul starts having it’s power limited.

      • Unconstitutional laws aren’t null and void – they are only unconstitutional *after* having been ruled as such. Laws that are passed by Congress (or any other legislative body) are presumed to be Constitutional – even by the Supreme Court – unless they can be proven otherwise.

        You seem to have a very prescriptive attitude toward the law, when it is, in truth, a descriptive system. The law is legal whenever it is, and not legal whenever it isn’t. There is no exterior “Truth” which determines the law, no universal rules by which we can simply enter in a law and have it spit out the answer. Unlike physics, the law isn’t discovered – it’s created. It is more like language, constantly evolving and changing. And just like language, there is no “right” or “wrong” except within the current framework. Like the word “access”. I can say that I accessed my work computer from home via a VPN. Not that long ago “access” was only a noun, there was no understanding of it as a verb. So to use it 100 years ago as a verb would be wrong. It would also be wrong to say now that it is incorrect to use it as a verb. It changed, it evolved, and it is not beholden to the past.

        The law changes. Understanding of how the law is applied changes. The very idea of why we have laws changes (we used to think they came from God. Now we don’t).

        • In all seriousness, I think Librarian has a logically valid, but misguided approach to human rights. Because while he talks at length about the law, that’s what he’s really trying to talk about.

          Perhaps his conception is based on some notion that the U.S. Constitution somehow magically embodies all human rights. Perhaps it’s a cognitive dissonance between a deeply held theory of legal positivism put against the obviously unjust present state of affairs, a sort of “constitution in exile” theory. I truly neither know nor care.

          I, for one, consider myself a legal pragmatist. The law is what the state as a whole forbids and permits. That is reflected in colloquial usage of the word. “Law enforcement”, “fought the law”, “running from the law”, “law and order”, “above the law”, “long arm of the law”, etc. What they all have in common is that they treat the law not as written statutes, but as its real, almost palpable manifestation. If you don’t think the law is palpable, try throwing a rock at a police station. I can assure you, getting tackled by a 200+ lb police officer is quite a tactile experience.

          If you want to argue the law is in contravention of fundamental human rights and hence shouldn’t be in effect, then be my guest. Just understand that you’re arguing on very different ground here. Determining whether an action is in accordance with statutes simply requires a careful, logical comparison of the action and the statutes. Of course, knowing where to look in the enormous volume of these statutes and how to understand them is what three years of law school on top of four years of pre-law is for :-)

          Talking about human rights however, is quite different. It’s difficult to learn, impossible to teach, and is based more on personal moral principles than written or carved documents. Debates about it are usually emotional discussions, with bits of logical appeals thrown in.

          Conceptions of human rights are typically based on what we think our own rights are, or rather ought to be. To resist the law in the name of what we think are our human rights is to, in the words of David Graeber, “defiantly act as if one is already free.”

          Doing so is not a trivial undertaking. The number of people who have died doing that is so great, it can only be counted by God Himself. To succeed requires, more often than not, getting entire societies to make the same choice. As goes the lyrics to a song of a popular musical, “Will you give all you can give
          so that our banner may advance? Some will fall and some will live! Will you stand up, and take your chance?”

          Librarian, if you feel you must take that chance, consider carefully the consequences that will entail. Your odds of success are slim, to say the least. Even if you do succeed, you will likely not see any of the rewards yourself. The founders of this nation often ended up aged, destitute, wounded, ill, exhausted, indebted, if they survived at all. If you stand alone, you will certainly be cut down like a tree before the chainsaws.

          I cannot make up your mind for you, I can only try to convey to you the hard facts of reality.

          • Wait, the founders ended up destitute? I know Jefferson died in debt, but that was because he was terrible at managing his money.

            I thought most of the founders turned out quite alright for themselves because they happened to be successful in their coordination of violence and finance to keep the power structures they built bobbing along until they grew sturdier.

            • The traditional description can be found here, along with a rebuttal of its exaggerations. Nevertheless, none made it rich off of independence. These people furthermore, were only the tip of the revolutionary leadership. Many more suffered even the exaggerated fates described, but were not important enough to be signatories to the Declaration.

          • Robert, I agree but disagree with what you have said.

            My view is this:
            Truth is self-evident, and that a reasonable study of man shows that in truth, he is a free and intelligent creature with equal standing among his fellow men, and by virtue of his freedom and intelligence, it can be shown that, in a state of nature, he has certain powers and abilities wherewith he may effect his environment to the benefit or detriment of other men. These powers and abilities being outside and beyond the powers and abilities of a government or other fictional and non-physical entity to prevent or restrict, except through the inequal application and use of those same powers as physically performed through other men.
            The study of man, through this self-evidence, reveals the nature of these powers and abilities, and the similarly self-evident inability of a fictional non-physical entity to restrict or restrain the same thus distinguishes these powers and abilities, which may also be termed as “rights,” as being unalienable. Unalienable meaning untransferable – a man can not, of himself, give up his ability to think or to act according to his desires. He may restrain from doing so for a time, but so long as he lives, he can not with absolution, give up the physical capacity thereto.

            Being then, unalienable rights, they are exempted entirely from the powers of government to control, save so far as the individual may consent to abstain from doing so.
            This consent being the physical capacity of man to contract with his fellows, to do or abstain from doing, or to permit a performance thereof by another.
            This consent is known as law, and binds upon a man only for so long as he may choose to permit it do so.
            Men who live under a form of this consensual restriction of certain rights, termed liberties, create a society. Society being then a group of these men, being people, holds to them the consents which they have made as law, being among the consents given, consent to the pains and penalties in case of a breach on the terms thereof.
            These self-restrictions on liberties however, are only offered for exchange of certain benefits, being generally, promises of protection against the inequal application of force and coercion on the behalf of another man, being a crime, or on that of another society, being a war.

            In an honorable society, each man performs his duty to the other according to the consents they have made, one with another, and for the enforcement thereof, consent to the existence and powers of a government, which by itself could hold no power, but by the mutual consent of the governed, holds the monopoly on the inequal application of force and coercion against those members in society who transgress their terms without withdrawing their membership.

            So, in this system we have man, who has given his consent to other men that he will refrain from performing certain of his liberties, and further consenting to their use of the same against himself and others, and assist in the proper exercise thereof, and in return, he shall receive the benefits thereof as protection in the exercise of certain other liberties, which he had not, nor ever, intended to refrain from exercising.

            The specifics of his compact are clear. What he has not explicitly consented to refrain from, are rights retained to himself, and in no uncertain terms explicitly withholds consent to an abridgement of the same.

            The matter is absolute, where the men in government are not given societal consent, neither is the Compact changed according to that consent, as it was established at the time of it’s conception, no honorable power or authority exists, neither can that society hold upon any man his consent to the pains and penalties for performing upon a liberty his share of the compact never bound his honor to refrain therefrom. For a society to do such, would change it from an honorable one, to a devilish tyranny of coercive force, where all right and justice permits the abolishment thereof.

            So, it’s not about “human rights,” so much as an abuse of power, and breach of trust by other men in the name of governing, where no substance nor authority exists for the basis and justice of such an act.

          • “The law is what the state as a whole forbids and permits.” That is the one thing that you said that I have actual philosophical objections too. The state is nothing but a series of relationships between human beings. Only individuals make decisions, have wills or have preferences. The State as a whole can never forbid or permit anything in the strictest sense because as a whole the state is only a legal fiction used as shorthand for whoever happens to have the ability to lawfully coerce others in the case in question.

        • Indeed I do have a prescriptive option of law.
          That is because the powers of law are explicitly prescribed within the several Constitutions of the States and the United States.
          The first legal document of this American Union is the Declaration of Independence, wherein it is prescribed that Men have rights(or powers) which come from no government, neither can any government lawfully infringe. This being the reasoning behind the lawfulness of our Revolution, framing precedent in our legal system for the recognition of a Natural Law, in contradistinction to Municipal Law. As such, being a founding legal document upon which our very legal system is based, one may reasonably infer that the principles therein contained are Immutable Principles of Law in our system and body of law, and necessary to infer the proper legal construction of each and every subsequent document which may be made in the Several States under it.
          After the Declaration, came the Articles of Confederation, but before I go further please understand that both of these documents were drafted under the English Common Law system, and according to it’s precepts and principles as they stood at the time. Likewise there were drafted by representation of 13 presumed Sovereign Bodies of People (which defines a State), making both documents a Compact between the several sovereign parties. Under the English Common Law as it stood at the time, a “Compact” is a form of “Contract,” and thereby subject to all the rules thereof, both of interpretation, and construction.

          Then came the Constitution of the United States, which, again, was drafted according to and within the already present legal system of the English Common Law, now the American Common Law, which comprised now also the principles of law as stated within the Declaration of Independence, and amended the Articles of Confederation.
          This new Constitution however, though signed in Convention under the Articles, still required ratification by the Sovereign bodies in order to take legal effect, which was done, according to the legal principle of Popular Sovereignty, as framed in the Declaration, not solely by the State legislatures, but by the very People of the Several Colonies/States as separate bodies as represented in those legislatures. These people then, by ratification, made compact one with another to establish that Constitution For the United States of America. Making the People individually together, parties to that Contract and Trust, and the beneficiaries thereof.
          Remember, this was all done under the English/American Common law which included all rules and procedures, duties and obligations, rules of interpretation and principles of law, that were held therein, including those enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, as they may pertain to interpreting a legal document and a Contract between parties. All Contracts are as Law and Binding upon the parties, according to the common law.

          Now, imagine you had made a contract with someone, you both understood exactly what this contract meant, perhaps you would pay 10 Dollars every month for 10 years and in return, the other party would “cut your grass each month” – this meaning understood by both as “mowing your whole yard.”
          Now imagine just 3 years later, and you find that rather than “mowing your whole yard,” the one you have contracted with is taking scissors and cutting 5 blades of grass each month, yet still demands his whole 10 Dollars. You would be outraged, would you not?
          Both parties knew and understood that in spite of the wording, you would be getting your entire yard mowed. You had even written correspondence designating it as such.
          When you make argument in court however, the other party simply states, “the interpretation of language changed.”

          Your contract made no provisions to permit for a reinterpretation of terms, neither had it been amended to change the understanding therein. What can you do more but stand dumbfounded in the face of such audacious claims?

          Such is the same with Law, because the Constitutions of the United States and the Several States are Compacts between the sovereign people comprising those bodies politic, and have only the powers therein granted, none more. Any law made outside those powers has no legal or lawful force, being void from the beginning because no power was granted to legislate in that area in the first place.
          Only a Fool would obey a provision of contract he is not a party too, particularly to his own detriment.

          • “The first legal document of this American Union is the Declaration of Independence”

            Has any judge considered the Declaration of Independence a legal document? What does that mean? What parts of it are

            Does the finding that merciless Indian Savages operate by a rule of warfare characterized by an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions have any implications for our agreements with them?
            Or is the only actually operational part to declare the colonies Free and Independent States with the full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do?

            • The Declaration of Independence isn’t law, and doesn’t have legal effect. However, as a statement of the principles our law strives to live up to, it does have powerful moral effect.

              So you can’t really cite the Declaration as a statement of the law, but you could certainly use it for context in interpreting a constitutional provision.

              • Oh okay. That is what I thought. I will return to my previous belief that it was the combination of legislation of theretofore colonial legislatures, Treaty of Paris, and various grants of recognition by various foreign ministers that established the legal sovereignty of the States.

              • The Declaration of Independence is not a Statute, no, but there are more types of law than just municipal/civil and criminal/penal codes and statutes. Furthermore, regardless of being “Law” or not, it certainly is a Legal Document, and is recognized as the first legal document of this nation.

                In it’s most basic sense, the Declaration of Independence was a petition for redress of grievances caused by the King, which redress was obviously not granted.

                In another sense though, the Declaration of Independence could be understood as a compact contract – “We the states do hereby resolve and determine in the name and by the authority of the people of our states, to be absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, dissolving all political ties from Great Britain, and committing to act in the full legal capacity as the free and independent states we ought to be.”
                Arguably this would be a criminal contract according to the laws of Great Britain, thereby void, but a contract still the same.

                Another way to look at it would be as renouncing citizenship – “we the states and the people thereof do hereby renounce deny and absolve completely our citizenship, allegiance, and political ties with Great Britain, and resolve to act as free states and people holding citizenship within our own selves.”
                No law can deny a person the ability to absolve their citizenship with a particular state, provided they obtain a new citizenship elsewhere. Under this consideration the Revolution would have actually been a war over territory, owing as the British Crown owned the whole of the territories wherein the Colonies existed and now claimed for themselves.
                Such a declaration would still be a compact however, as it was several parties resolving together to do some act for their own benefit.

                However, regardless of how one interprets the legal effect of the Declaration, it still stands as a description of certain aspects in “Natural Law,” Which law is Immutable and outside control of any legislature or government.

                “LAW OF NATURE. The law of nature is that which God, the sovereign of the universe, has prescribed to all men, not by any formal promulgation, but by the internal dictate of reason alone. It is discovered by a just consideration of the agreeableness or disagreeableness of human actions to the nature of man; and it comprehends all the duties which we owe either to the Supreme Being, to ourselves, or to our neighbors; as reverence to God, self-defence, temperance, honor to our parents, benevolence to all, a strict adherence to our engagements, gratitude, and the like.”
                (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary 1856)

                Being a descriptive document, it has no legal or lawful effect in and of itself to bind or to cause to be done any action, however, to act with disregard to the principles therein described would still be a violation of the Natural Law. Which Justice and Equity could hold remedy under the Common Law.

                • In response to a lawyer telling you the Declaration of Independance isn’t part of the law:
                  “It isn’t a statute, no, blah-blah-blah, lots of words, so you see I’m right, it is part of the law!”

          • This is why we have the “Grandfather Clause”. It sees the most use in things like building codes. Buildings built before the change are generally exempt from the change (barring a clear and present danger).

            If definitions change and it impacts a civil agreement you re-negotiate. If you fail at re-negotiation you get an arbitrator.

            Remember, in almost every contract, both sides are getting something out of the deal, so both sides want the deal to continue happening.

            This is a bigger problem in criminal law, as there are no good mechanisms in place for informing citizens about changes in the law. And we can see why the government does not want to put that onus on itself, it would be devastating to prosecutors everywhere.

            • I think you seem to be missing my point.

              Yes, if definitions or language interpretation changed, one could renegotiate the contract to address such changes. However, until such a renegotiation, a contract stands as it was intended from the beginning, NOT as it may in the future be read.

              ” IMPAIRING THE OBLIGATION OF CONTRACTS. The Constitution of the United States, art. 1, s. 9, cl. 1, declares that no state shall “pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts.”

              2. Contracts, when considered in relation to their effects, are executed, that is, by transfer of the possession of the thing contracted for; or they are executory, which gives only a right of action for the subject of the contract. Contracts are also express or implied. The constitution makes no distinction between one class of contracts and the other. 6 Cranch, 135; 7 Cranch, 164. 3. The obligation of a contract here spoken of is a legal, not a mere moral obligation; it is the law which binds the party to perform his undertaking. The obligation does not inhere or subsist in the contract itself, proprio vigore, but in the law appli- cable to the contract. 4 Wheat. R. 197; 12 Wheat. R. 318; and. this law is not the universal law of nations, but it is the law of the state where the contract is made. 12 Wheat. R. 213. Any law which enlarges, abridges, or in any manner changes the intention of the parties, resulting from the stipulations in the contract, necessarily impairs it. ” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 1856)

              To alter the definition or interpretation of words would by necessity impair the contract by that change. Because the words would no longer describe the intent of the makers of that contract, thereby impairing it’s original intent.

          • The problem with conceiving of the constitution as a contract is that everyone who was actually party to drafting and ratifying it is long dead. So if it is a contract, then it does not apply to anyone alive today in any way shape or form. After all no one would ever agree to abide by a contract that they are categorically not a party too.

    • Seriously, I’d prefer if conversations don’t migrate from post to post. It gets hard to follow. Let’s keep the threads on this stuff back on the previous page.

      • Yea, I think if we want to do that we’d be better off with a forum. Heck, maybe we would for the purpose of playing FantasySCOTUS and writing fanfic in which Nathan represents Tryion Lannister in a common-law court of roughly operating as it did during the era of the Wars of the Roses.

      • Sorry. The only reason I did so, is that with the random numbering system for pages, the site is not the easiest to return to specific posts… I personally replace my bookmark with each new update.

  7. SomeGuy says

    Based on my work experience in the banking industry, I find it very surprising that corporations have de jure privacy rights. My company literally has more information available to government auditors than it’s for it’s own operations.
    I did a quick search and on the issue and almost everything that came up was relating to a supreme court decision to the contrary:

    • The personal privacy rights that have been read into the First Amendment are not the same thing as the “expectation of privacy” that gives you Fourth Amendment standing.

      • Huh? I didn’t know we had privacy rights under the first amendment
        I’m also entirely unclear on how we have any privacy from agencies that have free run of our premises and operational data.
        Not that I’m arguing corporations should have protection from regulatory search; we can operate just fine and many banks engage in unethical practices.

  8. WJS says

    That’s pretty funny. He seriously thinks that records from his company count as his personal testimony? That is all that the 5th protects, right? Even letters that he sent don’t count, since it’s things he’s already said, he’s not being compelled to say anything new.

Class Participation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support the Guide on Patron!