Public Officials and Accountability – No More Qualified Immunity

What would happen if we would require our government employees to be able to pass a written tests where they had to show proof that they understood the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, as well as other matters pertaining to citizenship within this country? Then after these people became employees of the government they would be held accountable both civilly and criminally for actions that violated other people’s constitutional protected rights. No more immunity for people in the government, I believe at that point in time we would start seeing all our government officials doing a better job of protecting all our constitutional rights.

Of course after this opening statement, the first question that comes to my mind is how many legislators and their staff could pass one of these tests? Lets say one not only that included the US citizenship test that must be passed by new citizens immigrating to this country, but also a test that has specific questions about the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States. One that would not put together by politics or politicians but by independent law professors and historians. These questions would be designed to find out if people working in government actually understand that these documents were designed to protect INDIVIDUAL freedoms. Failure to pass these tests would result in a person being unemployable by the government.

Today, many lawmakers or public officials have no idea about the rights that our Constitution protects. Lawmakers pass laws, rules, and regulations that that are outright or clearly in the gray area of being unconstitutional. Their comments are “let the courts decide“. Quite obviously they do not know their jobs. Simply put if a law has any possibility of being unconstitutional it should never be considered, let alone passed. Legislators that propose and push laws that are in this gray area are nothing more than political terrorists attempting to destroy the fabric of this country. Isn’t it time that this type of terrorism brought on by the looters of society against American citizens rights were punished?

When the craftsman sets out to learn their trade, for example, woodworking, they spend a great deal of time learning about their craft. They must learn not only the tools to use, but also the proper types of wood to work with. They must be totally versed in all aspects of woodworking if they want to be considered a master of their trade. This is true of any field of endeavor, except one, our public officials. For some reason many of our politicians feel that they will gain more popularity by pushing through more laws through. They do this without any consideration to the constitutional requirements of the laws they propose, and some people working in our government enforcing those laws, feel that they are above the laws themselves. Isn’t it about time the government employees such as law enforcement were held accountable for their actions?

The job of a politician is to uphold the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of both the state they represent, and our federal government. They take an oath to do this, but how many of these politicians today realize that the primary reason for our Constitution is to protect INDIVIDUAL rights, not the majority’s rights, and not the government’s rights to exist? Our founding fathers recognized the possibility of the government growing in power to such a point that individual freedoms would be lost.

That is why on March 4th of 1789, they added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution guaranteeing individual freedoms to the people in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of the government’s powers. Today the people holding government offices, whether elected or employed, have shown a total disregard for those individual rights.

How many laws have been passed in the last 100 years that have been found by our court systems to violate the principles of our Federal and State Constitutions? Examples might be the Jim Crow laws, or laws passed in the McCarthy era, as well as laws requiring businesses to implement unneeded measures, that increase the cost of goods and drive many companies out of business. Consider the cost of implementing those unconstitutional laws, and the costs of defending them in court, only to have them proven to be unconstitutional. Now, add in the cost of removing the laws and the mechanisms that they created and you soon realize that these mistakes have cost us, the taxpayers, billions of dollars. Also consider the cost in taxpayers dollars and the pain brought upon individuals because public employees have stepped outside the boundaries of the laws designed to protect the rights of individuals.

How well do public officials really uphold their sworn oath to protect the state and federal constitutions that require them to protect citizens’ individual rights? When public officials are faced with pressure from special interest groups that are attempting to strip the rights from small disfavored groups of American citizens,  the public officials that do stand their ground to protect small disfavored groups and prove they are true American patriots? They realize that even though they may be fired from their job or not reelected in coming elections because of their actions, of honor, integrity and their oath before God to uphold the Constitution is more important than their personal gain.

“The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

How many organizations, businesses, and individuals have had to spend their time and resources fighting those unconstitutional laws or actions by public officials? If the public officials would have just done their jobs upholding the Constitutional principles of this country these laws would have never been proposed, let alone passed in the first place.

Public officials need to learn their jobs and not rely on special interest groups that lobby and feed the officials false or skewed information. They need to look at all sides of the issue and obtain accurate information before ever presenting a law for consideration. Most importantly the officials need to remember their primary job is to protect individual rights from the power of the majority, as well as the overwhelming power of government.

It is time that we the people start holding our government representatives responsible for their overzealous actions. We need to stop legislators from trying to put forth, knee-jerk legislation that Is not well thought out, and while it may satisfy some people, it is in fact unconstitutional because it infringes upon the individual rights that have a guaranteed protection by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Public employees who use their government positions for self gratification and financial gain should be held responsible as well. Those public officials should be held to a higher accountability than ordinary citizens instead of the way it is now where they have less accountability.

If a person who is in the military violates the military code of conduct they can be given a dishonorable discharge, losing all of their benefits, pensions and denying them positions in many government agencies. Corporate managers have been held responsible and imprisoned for allowing dangerous products to reach the marketplace. Why shouldn’t politicians and other public officials be held to that same accountability when they have placed on others in unconstitutional rules, laws and regulations that they have passed and enforced?

We firmly believe that our government’s representatives should be held accountable for proposing unconstitutional laws and if any bill is later found to be unconstitutional both the sponsor and cosponsors of it should be punished. They should be immediately barred from any type of public service, from serving in the Congress to working as a clerk in some DMV office somewhere. We also believe that because of the cost of fighting these unconstitutional laws, these lawmakers should lose their pensions and any benefits that they might have received while being in office. The same should also be true for any public employee who steps outside the lines of their authority, they too should be banned from any further public employment.

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty”. Thomas Jefferson

To some these penalties might seem harsh, but these people chose to become politicians or public employees and in doing so took an oath before God to uphold the Constitution and protect our individual rights. If they are unwilling to do this then they should face the consequences of their actions and should not have run for a political office or applied for a government position in the first place. Their job, right from the start, is to represent the rights of each individual person of this country.

We believe that when a person chooses to work for the government they should be held not to just the same but to even a higher accountability than ordinary citizens, This accountability should include the highest possible penalties when the public employees disregard others’ individual rights.

Holding people accountable for their actions has long been viewed as the best way to have a stabilized society, to create the best products and services and to create a moral conscience. Why should our public officials be exempt from that accountability?

It is time that a petition was started requiring all lawmaking officials and their staff to have to take a citizenship and a Constitutional test and to pass both of them before they and their staff can take office. This test needs to be given every two years for lawmakers and their staff, and this testing needs to be overseen by a civilian watchdog group, with no political ties.

This needs to be a requirement across this country for any public official that makes laws, rules, or has regulatory authority. There also needs to be as part of that petition the fact that all public officials will be held accountable for their actions and that there will be no qualified immunity for any public official that attempts to limit, remove, or ignore an individual’s Constitutional protected rights.

At the present time some individuals and actions, though they appear to have qualified immunity and thereby commit acts with impunity, can be held accountable for their actions. In a US Supreme Court case the court basically said that any official of the government, who steps outside his legal boundaries, can bring about a suit against the organization that he represents. In other words, if a judge or parole officer steps outside his boundaries in ordering restrictions that is unrelated to the crime then they can be held accountable for decisions outside their legal boundaries.

The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled unanimously Wednesday March 27, 2013 in Millbrook v. US [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) [28 USC § 1346] and exceptions [28 USC § 2680(h)] to it, waive the immunity of prison guards who commit intentional torts that are within the scope of their authority. The text of 28 USC § 2680 lists exceptions for which the FTCA will not compel immunity, and (h) includes: “Any claim arising out of assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights … ‘investigative or law enforcement officer’ means any officer of the United States who is empowered by law to execute searches, to seize evidence, or to make arrests for violations of Federal law.” The court held that this includes correctional officers, and they do not have to be in the process of of executing a search, seizing evidence, or making an arrest to be liable for an intentional tort. Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the opinion of the court:

The FTCA’s only reference to “searches,” “seizures of evidence,” and “arrests” is found in the statutory definition of “investigative or law enforcement officer.” By its terms, this provision focuses on the status of persons whose conduct may be actionable, not the types of activities that may give rise to a tort claim against the United States. The proviso thus distinguishes between the acts for which immunity is waived (e.g., assault and battery), and the class of persons whose acts may give rise to an actionable FTCA claim. The plain text confirms that Congress intended immunity determinations to depend on a federal officer’s legal authority, not on a particular exercise of that authority. Consequently, there is no basis for concluding that a law enforcement officer’s intentional tort must occur in the course of executing a search, seizing evidence, or making an arrest in order to subject the United States to liability.

A trial court is given wide discretion in establishing conditions of probation, and the order of the district judge providing for probation will be overturned only if it is abuse of discretion. (United States v. Kahl, 583 F2d 1351 (CA5 Tex 1978). )  While the court can adopt terms and conditions of probation recommended to it by an administrative agency of government, the court cannot delegate its power to fix terms and conditions of probation While the court can adopt terms and conditions of probation recommended to it by an administrative agency of government, the court cannot delegate its power to fix terms and conditions of probation ( Whitehead v. United States, 155 F2d 460 (CA6 Tenn 1946). ) or to determine the parties aggrieved, the amounts to be paid, and the time and manner of payment.United States v. Mancuso, 444 F2d 691 (CA5 La 1971). ) (  United States v. Shelby, 573 F2d 971 (CA7 Wis 1978).    ) The court must orally give the conditions of probation,  ( Buhler v. Pescor, 63 F Supp 632 (DC Mo 1945). ) and when there is a discrepancy between conditions given orally and conditions given in writing, the oral statements control (except in situations in which the conditions in question are standard conditions). (  United States v. Mesfin Haile Tulloch, 380 F3d 8 (CA1 Mass 2004).  ) If one condition of probation is void, it does not invalidate the sentence. (Watkins v. Merry, 106 F2d 360 (CA10 Okla 1939).)

The other thing that hasn’t been brought up yet is the fact that not only can they be sued, but they can be charged with a federal crime under Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241 Conspiracy Against Rights, and  Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.

Under section 242 it lays out quite plainly who can be held accountable for the attempt to deprive a citizen of their rights. This would include individual legislators and city Council members, etc., who pass laws with the intent to deprive a citizen of their constitutionally protected rights.

This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to willfully deprive, or cause to be deprived, from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.

This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than  those prescribed for punishment of citizens.

“Acts under “color of any law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority,  but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority;  provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under  “color of any law,” the unlawful acts must be done while such official is  purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official  duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials,  individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home  Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.”

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