Posts Tagged ‘King John’

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

However, as the First Amendment Center states:

The right to petition, however, requires only that the state receive complaints and grievances, not that it respond to them. Historical practice aside, as the Court explained in Minnesota Board for Community Colleges v. Knight (1984): “[N]othing in the First Amendment or in this Court’s case law interpreting it suggests that the rights to speak, associate, and petition require government policymakers to listen or respond to individuals’ communications on public issues.”

Compare that to the Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215, that allowed for a group of 25 barons to seize the king’s property to redress their grievances, if redress wasn’t provided within 40 days. In the words of King John:

And if we, or in our absence abroad the chief justice, have not corrected the transgression within forty days, reckoned from the day on which the offence was declared to us (or to the chief justice if we are out of the realm), the four barons mentioned before shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons. Together with the community of the whole land, they shall then distrain and distress us in every way possible, namely by seizing castles, lands, possessions and in any other they can (saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children), until redress has been obtain in their opinion. And when amends have been made, they shall obey us as before.

Why is it that 794 years later, in 2009, 303 million American people (the sovereign) can’t even expect a response to their petitions from their servant government of, by, and for the people, whereas 25 barons could seize any and all property from their sovereign, that they deemed proper to redress their grievances?

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