Natural rights

January 19, 2016

Eric S. Raymond, What Amending the Constitution Cannot Do

An underappreciated fact about U.S. Constitutional law is that it recognizes sources of authority prior to the U.S. Constitution itself. It is settled law that the Bill of Rights, in particular, does not confer rights, it only recognizes “natural rights” which pre-exist the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and which – this is the key point – cannot be abolished by amending the Constitution.

He goes on to show how that’s still true even if you don’t believe in God (as he doesn’t) which I guess is important to point out in this day and age. But I totally agree with his main point, which is that the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are prior to the Constitution and cannot be legitimately taken away.

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