Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Citizens Have Same Rights

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article IV, Section 2, and Clause 1:  “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”  This means that the Rights of each citizen of the United States of America – no matter where they live within the nation - are the same in other states as in their home state.

                “Numerous cases have arisen under this clause wherein states have attempted to favor their own citizens to the prejudice of the citizens of other states.  Nevertheless, the courts have held that it is not prejudicial to require nonresidents to pay a fee for attending state schools or to pay a higher hunting and fishing license fee, since these resources are maintained at considerable expense by the taxpayers of the host state and thus nonresidents are not put in a prejudicial position by being required to pay their fair share….
                “[Alexander] Hamilton stated that it was this provision of universal citizenship that `may be esteemed the basis of the Union.’”  (See W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 631-632.)

                David F. Forte and Ronald Rotunda of The Heritage Foundation stated:  “‘Privileges and immunities’ constituted a summary of ancient rights of Englishmen that the colonists fought to maintain during the struggle against the mother country.  Founding documents … championed these rights.  In Philadelphia, when the Committee of Detail proposed the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Framers approved it with no debate….

                 “Along the path to independence, `Privileges and Immunities’ began to be set alongside ideas of natural rights as mutual supports for the patriot cause.  Yet the notion of privileges and immunities still referred to a set of historically obtained rights and not to general natural rights, though the two categories were seen to be in utter harmony.”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 269-270.)

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