Monday, January 3, 2011

The Penumbra

In case you missed this the first time I posted it... I wrote it one afternoon using books from the San Francisco Public Library. You can also listen to two-thirds of it.

The Penumbra

A Manifesto of Basic Human Rights
As Guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America

Gender Equality

Squid B. Varilekova

“Where a person’s good name, reputation, honor, or integrity is at stake because of what the government is doing to him, notice and an opportunity to be heard are essential.”

-- Justice William Douglas
Wisconsin v. Constantineau
400 U.S. 433, 437 (1971)

Gender Equality

We all as American citizens were bestowed by our forefathers the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All people considered equals in the eyes of the law are given the right to vote and to choose our own representatives in the government. Therefore, according the First Amendment, with “no law respecting an establishment of religion,” the right to vote and the resulting government representation is not denied to us based on our religion. Furthermore, “[t]he right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude[,]” according to the Fifteenth Amendment.

Clearly, then, when we arrive at the Nineteenth Amendment which flat tells us that the right “to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex[,]” it is safe to conclude that the government of the United States of America considers all sexes as equal as it considers all races and all religions and that all rights concerning the pursuit of happiness are as equally distributed among all registered voters despite any religion, race, or sex. And, as if the point needed to be made more clear, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment confirms that for “citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, [the right] to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”

Even reducing the number of people considered equals in the eyes of the law only to those registered to vote, we can still conclude that all sexes of those considered equal, no matter what gender they may be interpreted as, are decidedly equal in the eyes of the U.S. government. Thusly, if a man and woman can marry in a State, then a man and man, a woman and woman, and a human and human, should, in the eyes of the U.S. government be free to marry in that State, assuming, of course, that they are registered voters. Any law expressly forbidding same-sex marriage among registered voters, then, should be considered unconstitutional according to Amendments One, Fifteen, Nineteen, and of course, Twenty-Six.


We all as legal residents and citizens have a right, as guaranteed under the penumbra of rights formed by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America, to personal privacy.

The acknowledgement of the U.S. government of this particular constitutional right began with the dissenting comments of Justice Louis Brandeis in Olmstead v. United States (277 U.S. 438 (1928)) in which he said that the Constitution confers, “as against the government, the right to be let alone—the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” Privacy became an officially recognized liberty with Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479, 484 (1965)) when Justice William Douglas told us “… specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. Various guarantees create zones of privacy.” And the right to privacy has been with us ever since.

This right and liberty as guaranteed to us under the penumbra that emanates from our already existing rights, liberties, and Amendments has guaranteed our privacy ever since. For example, in Carey v. Brown (447 U.S. 4555, 471 (1980)), Justice William Brennan assured, “The State’s interest in protecting the well-being, tranquility, and privacy of the home is certainly of the highest order in a free and civilized society.”

As one final note on privacy…

“…the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.”

-- Justice Potter Stewart
Katz v. United States
389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)


As I shall prove in this section, we as legal residents and citizens are also guaranteed a right to knowledge that is necessary to protect ourselves, our minds, and our bodies under the penumbra of rights created by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America.

In the Second Amendment, we are told of the necessity for the “security of the free State.” Surely, keeping our country safe begins with keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. The Fourth Amendment acknowledges “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects[.]” Well, how could this be possible if we do not know when we are in danger?

Most importantly, according to the Fifth Amendment, we cannot be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It is only the governing body that may distribute a legal, harmful punishment. Also, if we are levied criminal charges, the Sixth Amendment guarantees that we get “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” and “to be confronted with the witnesses against [us.]” Clearly, in a case where harm may come from the government by methods of due process, we are guaranteed the known information necessary to protect ourselves. And in these occurrences, the Eighth Amendment makes sure that we do not receive any “cruel or unusual punishments[.]”

Finally, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments open the door for the existence of the already established overlying penumbra by stating that we have rights as a people that have not yet been enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Hence, between needing to protect ourselves, having the right to protect ourselves, being guaranteed due process, and being assured full knowledge of all harmful agents in times of due process, it is safe to conclude it is also then the responsibility of the governing authorities to dispense necessary knowledge of when we are in danger of harm to ourselves, our minds, and our bodies if the governing authority is in possession of knowledge that could prevent that harm.

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