Eye of Newt: The Revised Bill of Rights


From his published writings, speeches and interviews, WC has gleaned Republican Presidential Wannabe Newt Gingrich’s modified version of the Bill of Rights, published here for the first time. Insertions are underlined; deletions are in strike-through. Footnotes source The Newt’s changes.

First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion except regarding atheists[1], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof except in the case of Islam[2]; or abridging the freedom of speech unless I think they might be terrorists[3], or of the press unless they quote terrorists[4]; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble provided they have jobs and take baths[5], and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

[1] Gingrich fears “atheist country, dominated by Islams,” CNN Religion, March 28, 2011

[2] Gingrich: Use Government Power to Trample Property Rights of Muslims, Reason, September 3, 2010

[3] Gingrich: Free Speech Should Be Curtailed To Fight Terrorism, New York Sun. November 29, 2006

[4] The First Amendment Is Not a Suicide Pact, by Newt Gingrich, December 4, 2006

[3] Mediaite, November 20, 2011

That’s certainly different than the First Amendment WC learned in school, but The Newt is a history professor, so maybe he’s right. Or maybe he’s just a self-serving, hypocritical and pandering politician, whose only principle is to say whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear.

But just to be fair, let’s examine under Article from the Bill of Rights, and the changes The Newt wants to make to it.

Fifth Amendment
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger, and I’ll decide when there’s a War and if you are the Enemy[1]; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life unless I order your assassination[2], liberty, or property, without due process of law unless you are an American accused of being a terrorist[3]; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

[1] CBS News, Debate Transcript, November 13, 2011

[2] Reuters, Political Theater, November 13, 2011

[3] CBS News, Debate Transcript, November 13, 2011

WC is unfamiliar with this version of the Fifth Amendment as well. WC suspects that this is the political hack talking, though, and that The Newt would never have the nerve to stand in front of a room of tuition-paying students and mouth this kind of nonsense.

For a less theatrical critique of The Newt’s messing with the rest of the Bill of Rights, see Jacob Sullum’s Appalling Moments of NewtSpeak, which nicely summarizes the violence he’d do to the rest of our rights.

Crowds cheer this man? What has happened to this country?

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2 thoughts on “Eye of Newt: The Revised Bill of Rights

  1. WC
    As to the Fifth Amendment and concern about Newt as president, his reported comments above don’t seem too far afield from what is pending now, and which seems to be moving toward enactment.
    I wonder what, if anything, would be left of posse comitatus if this becomes law.
    See one news account at http://tinyurl.com/NDAA2011LevinCain
    Paul Eaglin
    Fairbanks

  2. One thing that interests me about Newt is how he can execute a smooth transition from one version of Newt to another. I’ve seen him lecture on American history (a slice of time around McKinley’s assassination and he was lucid, entertaining and very informative. But the number of versions of Newt on the campaign trail is astonishing. Pandering to the specific audience at hand and juggling other versions of himself simultaneously. But, sadly, he’s only interesting as a case study of personality disorders.

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