Last week the Illinois Senate soundly defeated a proposal to ban trans fats in foods.  The bill failed by a vote of 40-13, due in part to the hard work of the doughnut caucus.

Senator Mike Jacobs lamented the loss of his old trans fat filled Oreos, which taste better than Nabisco’s, current, ostensibly more healthy version.

Not lost amid all the funny remarks was the main point- Americans should be free to choose what they want to eat.  Jacobs didn’t want Illinois to become a “nanny state.”

It seems a little late for that argument. With Americans already being told by their government what they can and cannot smoke, drink, drive, snort, wear, teach, say, watch, grow, and buy, what difference can a little trans fat ban really make?

In fact, New York City banned trans fats back in 2006.  The advocacy web site has been so overwhelmed with new information that the owners have stopped updating the site.

There are those (a phrase I have borrowed from our president) who are calling for a new constitutional amendment stating that “the Right of the People to ingest shall not be infringed.”

Good luck with that one.

Our hundred mile wide borders are a constitution free zone. At least according to the ACLU. I recently re-read their 2008  Fact Sheet on what it describes as the U.S. “Constitution Free Zone.”

The United States government defines our border as  “within 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States or any shorter distance..”  according to this statute, which was amended to include this distance after the 9/11 terror attacks. The purpose of the statute was to ensure the security of United States borders. However, the government has been expanding its searches to include U.S. citizens not seeking to cross the border with the blessings of the Supreme Court.  In 1975, The U.S. Supreme Court held that Border Patrol agents at checkpoints have legal authority that agents do not have when patrolling areas away from the border. Border Patrol agents may stop a vehicle at fixed checkpoints for brief questioning of its occupants even if there is no reason to believe that the particular vehicle contains illegal aliens.  The Court relaxed (revoked?) the Fourth Amendment when dealing with these fixed checkpoints.

While it is unclear how much these checkpoints are succeeding in protecting our borders, they sure have been resulting in some large pot seizures from U.S. citizens, who may have mistakenly believed they were protected by the U.S. Constitution. Granted, some searches and seizures are more invasive than others, but each U.S. citizen should have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Some citizens have decided not to meekly accept what they perceive as a violation of their constitutional rights.  I thoroughly enjoyed the following video. Clear some time in your schedule, though, since it goes on for a while.

States Challenge TSA Pat Downs

May 23, 2011

States throughout the nation are beginning to challenge TSA pat down searches in the wake of some controversial incidents. The Texas legislature has proposed legislation that would ban Transportation Security Administration agents from performing searches on certain parts of a person’s body. The bill, known as the Anti-Groping Bill, has already passed the Texas house, […]

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The Privacy of Your Own Home? Think Again

May 18, 2011

The Supreme Court has eroded a citizen’s right to privacy in his or her own home with its decision in Kentucky v. King. The court ruled that police who smell marijuana at your door may kick your door down if they think you might be destroying those drugs. And by the way, no, they don’t need […]

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Sexting And The First Amendment

May 16, 2011

Is there a first amendment right to engage in sexting with your friends?  For purposes of this post, sexting is defined as “the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones.”
There is no issue about the legality of sexting between consenting adults. Bret Favre may be embarrassed, but he is not […]

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Killing Bin Laden Was Constitutional, And The Right Thing To Do

May 9, 2011

Barack Obama’s decision to kill Osama Bin Laden was constitutional. There is no doubt about it.  As Attorney General Jeffrey Holder stated on Wednesday,  Bin Laden “was the head of al Qaeda, an organization that had conducted the attacks of September the 11th,” Holder said. “It’s lawful to target an enemy commander in the field.”
Viewing […]

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Mosque Files Religious Freedom Lawsuit In New Jersey

May 4, 2011

The Al Falah Center has filed a lawsuit in Federal District court accusing Bridgewater Township, New Jersey of denying its constitutionally guaranteed rights to religious freedom.
According to a press release issued by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund(AALDEF), the Al Falah Center is alleging that the Township Zoning Board suddenly altered its zoning […]

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Probation Officer Guilty Of Sexual Abuse

May 2, 2011

U.S. Probation Officer Mark John Walker has pleaded guilty to violating the constitutional rights of female offenders under his direct supervision by engaging in sexual contact and aggravated sexual abuse. Details of the case were the subject of an FBI press release dated April 28, 2011.
According to the release, Walker admitted to violating the probationer’s rights […]

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Supreme Court Justice Thomas Johnson

April 28, 2011

Supreme Court Justice Thomas Johnson was appointed to the Court by George Washington in 1791 to fill the seat left vacant when Justice John Rutledge resigned. He reluctantly accepted this appointment from Washington, who was a close friend and colleague.
Johnson was born on November 4, 1732, in Calvert County, Maryland. Thomas and his brothers and […]

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How Private Are Our Cell Phones?

April 25, 2011

How private are our cell phones?
The short answer: not very.
It’s no secret that using wireless devices of any kind, including cell phones, compromises your privacy.  The Enhanced 911 Act was passed way back in 1999.  Hackers, internet marketeers, and the government were looking for ways to get at our personal information long before that, too. […]

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