Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating our Independence

By John DiMotto
I have been super busy the past two weeks with a complicated civil jury trial and have not had time to tend to this blog. The trial will go for at least one more week so my time to blog will be limited. I hope my posts have been interesting and thought provoking. I intend to keep them up.
Today, I want to deviate from my "legal" blogging to briefly reflect, as a judge, on the significance of the Fourth of July.
We celebrate our freedom and independence.
1) We have the right to say what is on our mind, regardless of how brilliant or stupid the thought may be (freedom of speech). This means that people have the right to rant and rave as much as they want regardless of whether they have a legitimate point to make or not.
2) We have the right to practice our religious faith unfettered by government intrusion (freedom of religion). This means that we can believe or not believe as we choose without fear of recrimination by our government.
3) We have the right to associate with whomever you want - with some limitations - (freedom of association).
4) We have the right to write and convey our thoughts without censorship (freedom of the press).
5) We have the right to petition our government for redress of wrongs.
6) We have the right to bear arms.
7) We have the right to be free from unauthorized governmental intrusions - searches and seizures.
8) We have the right not to incriminate ourselves.
9) We have the right to due process.
10) We have the right to equal protection under the law.
11) and the list goes on and on and on. And what is that list - it is our Constitution.
Just why was this document enacted? I cannot say it any better than in its own Preamble:
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We ALL have the obligation to WORK to make this happen. As a judge, I work to achieve justice for every party, witness and person who comes before me. Every single one of us must do our part bring about domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. As we reflect on "freedom" and "independence" we must remember that the Constitution is not a one way street. Our Constitution confers upon all of us many rights. we must never forget that if we want to maintain them we need to live up to and embrace the responsibilities that come with those rights. Some people have forgotten that our Constitution is this two way street. It is time for all of us to recommit to the original intent of our founding fathers/mothers.
Happy Fourth of July.

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