^ Robert Parry’s constitutional scholarship


Author’s note: This article rejects the ‘incorporation’ legal doctrine that holds the first ten amendments were originally limited to persons in the federal jurisdiction. The reason is, this doctrine is patent bs which ignores the ‘supremacy clause’ of the USA constitution’s article six. To believe in the ‘incorporation’ doctrine is to hold a viewpoint constitution does not mean what it says. No less a personage than the great Justice Brennan believed the doctrine was patently false. The likely origin of the doctrine was with ‘federalist’ jurists who never accepted the the outcome of our constitutional convention and the deal crafted where a ‘bill of rights’ was required to be presented for ratification to get ‘anti-federalist’ support for our constitution’s adoption and making it out of the convention-

There is an urban legend circulated by faux historians on the progressive left, including Consortium News & journalist Robert Parry, promoting a revisionist history undermining our core civil liberties with a smear attacking the religious right’s historical revisionism with its own historical revisionism. This urban legend claims anti-federalist philosophy is rooted in setting out to protect slavery by weakening the provisions for an American central government. The argument on the left is as distorted as the Tea Party revisionism it attacks. Anyone approaching our foundational law should recall Oscar Wilde’s maxim “Truth is seldom pure and never simple” .. and such is the case with our nation’s founding law at the time of its creation.

The noted revisionism of the left holds, in short, that American anti-federalist sentiment at the time of the United States founding law’s enactment was primarily pro-slavery motivated. This patent bullshit distorts the anti-federalists every bit as much as the religious right distorts the constitution per se. In some of these variations of faux history coming from the left, the 2nd Amendment (right of the people to bear arms) is construed to be, or conflated with states rights in an ante-bellum, pro-southern slavery context. To this end, I will point out the 2nd amendment had/has little to do with states rights and propping up slavery. The word “state” in the 2nd Amendment “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state” is used (as it was meant to be used) in a singular, greater sense of ‘nation’ as the term ‘state’ is commonly known and used in international relations to this day. The 2nd Amendment’s “a free state”  in the collective sense of the greater nation contrasts to the plural states (or plural sense of states) in the context of individual American states as is specific in the 6th & the 10th amendments; with some behaviors enforced on all states, such as the 6th Amendment’s “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…”  (a plural sense of any state, effectively all states are to be bound by this) and also limited powers reserved to the states, per a clearly logical placement and context in the 10th Amendment after the constitutions ‘enumerated’ and ‘unenumerated’ rights had been secured to all citizens in the 9th Amendment’s “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”, the laws of individual states notwithstanding. The 10th Amendment language “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” in fact reinforces our constitution’s Article Six ‘supremacy clause’ language “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding” and puts the lie to anyone who would hold our ‘Bill of Rights’ was intended to undermine our constitution per se (also putting the lie anyone holding the so-called ‘Bill of Rights’ did not originally apply to states outside federal jurisdiction, i.e. the so-called ‘incorporation’ doctrine or people who think the language in Article Six does not mean what it plainly says.)

The reason the post Civil War 14th Amendment was necessary, had been to insure every southern state would be required to apply equal protection of the laws to Blacks as citizens, or those Blacks who were previously exempted by their status as slaves. In its original intent, the 14th Amendment was meant to extend the Bill of Rights protections to a targeted class (Blacks.)

Because of confusion of ‘state’ as a nation with ‘state’ as a state in these United States, in the American English dialect, ‘nation’ had come to replace ‘state’ in a sense of federal or national. However this was not yet the case at the time of our founding law being written; and the founding context of the language of the 2nd Amendment is a singular ‘people’ and refers to a ‘state’ in the sense of the United States as a nation, people of all the states inclusive. Attempts to conflate the greater ‘state’ in the 2nd Amendment with the individual ‘states’ comprising our nation is patently dishonest.

That gun violence has not been intelligently addressed in the USA is because this issue has never been honestly addressed. A ‘militia of the people’ as it exists in law and fact because of the 2nd Amendment, could be somewhat regulated in the philosophy of ‘balances’ by defining (from history) under what circumstance the people may ‘keep’ and ‘bear’ their arms. We’re not there yet.

None of the 1st through 8th amendments protection of the rights of individual citizens had much of anything to do with Blacks of the founding era, as they were not enfranchised citizens as a class, and the facts are at odds with left’s popular myth (urban legend) that somehow the anti-federalists got their way with undermining a federalist desire of an all powerful central government in the constitution on account of slavery. In the end, what the anti-federalists got were checks meant to result in balances, also known as the Bill of Rights.

I somehow doubt the anti-federalist 4th amendment concerning privacy in one’s papers had anything to do with propping up slavery, a given example of motivation in the anti-federalists’ actual intentions. Or other rights, for instance prohibition of a bill of attainder. Or the right to confront your accuser. To name but a few provisions of the first through eighth amendments authored by the anti-federalists.

If our “Bill of Rights” had been insisted upon by anti-federalists, and it most certainly was, the entire world, it would be implied by this specious and twisted revisionism coming from the left, is indebted to slaveholders for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights inspired by the American Bill of Rights and certain of its provisions. Parry’s argument is beyond irony, it is patent nonsense. The fact is, slaveholders were a minority of the Americans with anti-federalist sentiment, and a minority in the geographic south as well, and this is where the left’s ‘equating anti-federalists with slavery’ crotch slams into the bicycle bar:

Anti-federalism was by no means an exclusive southern phenomena related to a minority of slave owners but was a general angst of the new republic’s citizenry from Georgia to New Hampshire. This angst primarily (and majority ratified) concerns historic abuses of power by central governments traced in the American tradition to the Magna Charta particularly and the European powers’ abuses generally. The right of the ‘people’ (all inclusive) to bear arms was deemed necessary as a check of last resort on a central government and was intended to be just that, a check, and has nothing to do with states rights and little to do with individual states’ militias per se. However some slave owning, southern anti-federalists might have wished a different outcome, the 2nd Amendment is NOT about slavery outside of those minority ante-bellum slave owners who would misconstrue it as such, and please note anti-federalist authored ‘Bill of Rights” specifies core civil liberties of citizens under assault by today’s federal (central) government with XKeyScore. This is clear.

The anti-federalist amendments were passed (ratified) by northern states with populations opposed to slavery, not only a minority of southern slave owners among the southerners per se, a truly small minority opposed to federalism for personal pecuniary interests. The greater majority of the people, north and south, were of anti-federalist sentiment for reasons having little to with slavery and greatly to do with historic abuses of the larger citizenry by central governments.

Insofar as the insights held by our anti-federalist founders as enumerated in the Bill of Rights, Edward Snowden’s revelations are evidence prima facie of why strong central governments were mistrusted across the spectrum by the American people at the time of our founding. The founders were not stupid but well educated in history and forward looking for the most part. The anti-federalists were largely about looking forward to a Snowden circumstance (having to do with protecting us from out of control central government), the Bill of Rights was not about protecting slave owners.

In fact the anti-federalist founders across the board, north and south, were so certain their convictions would be upheld by the people, they put their money where their mouth is so to speak, and allowed the constitution out of convention while settling for a separate ratification of the first ten amendments, subsequently vindicated in result across the spectrum of American society, with adoption by the larger American people of our Bill of Rights. In fact, the prescience of our nation’s founding generation points directly to today’s central government having set out to undermine where they can, and flat out cancel, when possible, the checks our anti-federalist founders meant to secure us from the tyranny of a police state.

A veteran journalist catching and spreading this historical revisionism virus, undermining those clauses of our constitution checking abuses of power by central government, suggests to me (dis)information operations and questions whether Parry actually serves journalism or an altogether different ‘agency.’ Reading a Robert Parry article at Consortium News can be as disgusting as reading the patent lies of the neo-liberal New York Times.


Separately altogether from the progressive left’s distortions of history, for honest reporting on the religious right’s distortion of our history and constitution, I recommend ‘

Related Robert Parry disinformation:

Poison Fruit Supports the official 9/11 narrative (and more)

Poison Fruit Encore 1 Flight MH-17 disinformation

Poison Fruit Encore 2 Flight MH-17 disinformation (and more)

Poison Fruit Encore 3 On Robert Parry’s Iran-Contra reporting