Friday, October 2, 2009

Why We Have The Right to Petition & Free Speech in the First Amendment

The founding Fathers understood the danger of a government empowered to shut down dissent and the expression of "treasonous" ideas -- Hence, the First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Yet a Petition now pending before the United States Supreme Court demonstrates that the First Amendment has been lost by an easily led Congress and an asleep Judiciary. . .

The case is entitled William Benson vs. United States. Mr. Benson claims that he had documentary proof that less than three-fourths of the states voted to ratify the Sixteen Amendment which states: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." If he is right, then the IRS has a lot of explaining to do. But that is not the issue.

The issue is 26 U.S.C. Section 6700 which putatively empowers the IRS to prosecute people who promote abusive tax shelters. It is that section that the IRS has used to go after Mr. Benson and his customers who bought his information packet on the infirmities in the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment.

Now Mr. Benson may be a kook, or maybe he is on to something. But the idea that he cannot espouse his claim without being sanctioned by the government crosses the First Amendment line in my mind.


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