Obama’s people are getting away with violating the Fifth Amendment. Lois Learner told Congress that her lawyer had advised that she in essence “take the fifth.” She was allowed to make a statement in which she claimed to have done nothing wrong and walked out without answering a single question.
The Fifth Amendment prevents anyone in authority from forcing a confession out of someone. Our Founding Fathers wanted to have courts and not the police extract information from people accused of crimes. The Fifth Amendment states: NO PERSON SHALL BE HELD TO ANSWER FOR A CAPITAL, OR OTHERWISE INFAMOUS CRIME, UNLESS ON A PRESENTMENT OR INDICTMENT OF A GRAND JURY, EXCEPT IN CASES ARISING IN THE LAND OR NAVAL FORCES, OR THE MILITIA, WHEN IN ACTUAL SERVICE IN TIME OF WAR OR PUBLIC DANGER; NOR SHALL ANY PERSON BE SUBJECT FOR THE SAME OFFENSE TO BE TWICE PUT IN JEOPARDY OF LIFE OR LIMB, NOR SHALL BE COMPELLED IN ANY CRIMINAL CASE TO BE A WITNESS AGAINST HIMSELF, NOR BE DEPRIVED OF LIFE, LIBERTY, OR PROPERTY, WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW; NOR SHALL PRIVATE PROPERTY BE TAKEN FOR PUBLIC USE WITHOUT JUST COMPENSATION.
This nation went to war because of the way the Fifth Amendment was applied to slavery. The 13th Amendment which was ratified on December 6, 1865 after the Civil War abolished slavery.
The Fifth Amendment should be divided into three sections. The first section pertains to criminals and the military. A person couldn’t be executed for a crime without being convicted by a jury. The only exception was if the person was a soldier and it was time of war. During war, innocent people are killed. Soldiers shouldn’t have the thought that they could be accused of murder weigh heavily on their minds. They might be hesitant to fire upon someone, and the hesitation might cost them their life. But if a soldier were to commit a heinous crime in another country (like what happened in Okinawa years ago when a soldier raped a citizen), since it was not during a time of war, the civilian courts had the right to try the soldier.
The third section of the Fifth Amendment has been violated often. When the Supreme Court decided that a city or municipality could take a person’s property without paying them the true value of the property if it was to be used for the public good, the Justices clearly violated the confiscation of property without just compensation clause of the amendment. If I had a million acres of property in Alaska and discovered $3 billion worth of oil and gas, gold, and diamonds, yet there was an endangered species on the property, the government might order the confiscation of my land to prevent the extinction of the species. I would have to be paid at least $3 billion, plus the price of the land itself. This probably wouldn’t happen. But the third section of the Fifth Amendment would demand this.
The second section of the Fifth Amendment is violated the most. Everyone likes not being forced to testify against themselves. But the qualifier is WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW. This is not a protected right. It qualifies the preceding rights. If courts can confiscate property and execute someone if there is a court trial, it can also force a person to testify against themselves since due process of law is present. That is why I question the legitimacy of refusing to testify before a Congressional committee. If it is considered due process of law, according to laws of grammar and how the Fifth Amendment should be read, the person can be forced to answer nearly any question asked.
If I drove my car to the gas station and filled up the tank and afterwards started crying because I couldn’t drive my car, people would think I was crazy. If I used the same logic as those who consider due process of law part of a list of rights, I could say I couldn’t drive my car to church or use it as a taxi without gas in the tank. I would in essence be saying I can’t be without gas in the tank. If I drive far enough, I will need to fill the tank (and it certainly won’t be for free.) But if there is gas in the tank, I can go to church and use my car as a taxi. The same should apply to due process of law. As long as there is due process of law like a trial or governmental hearing, a person can be forced to testify, even if it is against themselves. If a person is guilty, they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with a crime because a court doesn’t believe the Fifth Amendment allows compulsion to testify.
If the Obama administration has a warehouse full of skeletons to hide, we’ll see more of his people “take the Fifth.” But I believe the Constitution doesn’t allow witnesses before a Congressional committee to remain silent if a hearing is considered due process of law. The Constitution and its amendments protects the citizens and secures their rights. It isn’t a fortress built to protect criminals from justice.