A post HERE yesterday mocking Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz for his weird interpretations of the U.S. Constitution didn’t sit well with some of our right-wing readers.
So, just for the sport of it, let’s rub it in a little more with THIS STUFF from Greg Sargent:
The now-infamous Senate hearing exchange between Senators Cruz and Dianne Feinstein over guns is attracting a lot of attention for her stern dressing down of the Texas Republican. But since Cruz is emerging as a national spokesman for the Tea Party and the far right wing of the GOP — the exchange has drawn widespread attention on the right — the views he expressed about our founding document are worth a look.
The truly wrongheaded aspects of his remarks concern his assertions about the First and Fourth Amendments — which embody a simplistic view of the Bill of Rights.
Cruz asks whether it would be Constitutional for Congress to deem certain books outside the protection of the Bill of Rights. But the Supreme Court has upheld bans on certain forms of speech. Susan Low Bloch, also a Georgetown University constitutional law professor, points me to New York v. Ferber, in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a state law banning child pornography. There’s also Miller v. California, which held that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment.
In a sense, Cruz’s questions seem to presuppose that the Bill of Rights is absolute, and that any laws regulating any behavior relating to them inherently violate those rights. “Rights are all subject to some restrictions and are applied differently,” [constitutional law professor David] Cole says. “The same with the Fourth Amendment. The courts have held that with respect to people out on parole or probation, the state doesn’t have to have either probable cause or reasonable suspicion. It can search those people at will. The courts have said some kinds of investigations don’t count as searches and are not restricted by the Fourth Amendment.”
In other words, the courts have held that the First, Second, and Fourth Amendment don’t preclude regulation in these areas. Or, as Cole puts it: “Rights are not absolute.”