For 8 years I have been pulling my hair out trying to explain to people who were afraid of losing their 2nd amendment rights, exactly why that couldn’t happen – and why no one was taking away their guns.

 

Guess what? No one is taking away your Freedom of Speech either.

You know why? Our Constitution has quite a few safe guards, intentionally placed there by the framers, to ensure its’ laws aren’t taken lightly, or easily changed, without quite a bit of thought going into the process.

First of all, before taking office, a President Elect has to swear to protect, preserve and defend the United States Constitution. A similar version of this oath is also taken by all new members of the House of Representatives, Senate, and each military branch. It’s a pretty hefty oath – violation of which is considered a federal crime – treason.

Second,  you can not repeal an amendment without actually having something to replace it which has to go through the same process of ratification as a new amendment would. In other words, it wouldn’t be a ‘replacement’ so much as an addition that would nullify the other amendment. The other amendment will always be a part of the overall document.

For example: The 18th Amendment prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcohol in the United States – the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, but the 18th Amendment is still a part of the Constitution as a repealed amendment.

Next, a proposed amendment (whether new, or intended to replace an existing one) must be approved by a 2/3 majority of both legislative bodies of the US Congress (so Senate AND House of Representatives each have to come up with a 2/3 majority willing to give up Freedom of Speech).

After that, the Proposed Amendment must be sent to every individual State’s legislature for consideration. Each state then votes either yes or no on the Proposed Amendment.

 

For the Proposed Amendment to become a Constitutional Amendment, 3/4 of the individual American States must ratify the amendment. That means 38 states would have to agree to whatever amendment that was being proposed to repeal and replace the First Amendment before the Amendment becomes a part of the Constitution.

 

So, let’s be realistic here, do you think 38 states will ratify an amendment to curtail freedom of speech? And before that, do you really think 3/4 of the Senate and 3/4 of the House of the Representatives would even vote for the Amendment?

Let’s just put it this way – Since 1789, there have been over 11,000 proposed amendments introduced – of those, 33 have been approved by Congress – 27 have been ratified by the states. Those 27 make up our Constitution.

 And while I agree there is much to be wary of with our President Elect, one thing is clear, for all his bluster, he himself clearly doesn’t know of what he speaks when he claims he can ‘amend the First Amendment’ or ‘open up the Libel Laws.’ (I’d love to get in to Libel laws now, but, this is getting way too long for most folks’ attention spans, including mine. Next time, perhaps.)

 In other words, being the President of the United States is vastly different than being the President of your own company.

 I certainly hope that while President Obama assists President-Elect Trump during this transition period, that he also imparts some Constitutional wisdom on our future President.  Mr. Trump  will be taking an oath to protect and preserve the Constitution – it would be a shame if he didn’t actually have a basic understanding of what was in it when he took that oath.

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