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Denver court of appeals upholds gun ruling
Enid News & Eagle ^ | February 15, 2006 | Staff and wire reports

Posted on 02/20/2006 11:38:25 AM PST by neverdem

A federal appeals court in Denver ruled it was legal for an Oklahoma company to fire workers who violated company policy by having guns in their vehicle on the plant parking lot.

Eight former Weyerhaeuser workers sued the company after they were fired in 2002 from the company’s paper mill in Valliant in southeastern Oklahoma.

Their firings prompted legislators in 2004 to enact a law that would make it much harder for property owners and employers to ban guns from their property.

State law in effect at the time of the firings permitted property owners and employers to control the possession of weapons on their property.

Monday’s ruling upheld a decision last March by U.S. Magistrate Kimberly West in Muskogee.

The company “did not unlawfully infringe upon any right of plaintiffs in enforcing its no-firearms policy,” the judges of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in Monday’s 20-page decision.

The workers contended, among other things, plant security officers violated their federal constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures by telling them they would be fired if they did not permit a search of their vehicles. The former employees also contended the law violated their right under the Oklahoma Constitution to keep guns.

The appellate judges disagreed, quoting the state Constitution: “Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.”

The law was “an example of the kind of reasonable regulation of firearms” that was permitted by the state Constitution, the Legislature and the Oklahoma courts, the judges wrote.

“Employers have an interest in controlling their property as well as in the safety of the workplace and citizens have the right to bear arms subject to lawful regulation of that right,” Garfield County District Attorney Cathy Stocker said.

She said those two interests can sometimes conflict.

“They did in 2002 when the workers ... were fired for violating what was found to be a lawful policy of their employer under the law at the time that allowed property owners and employers to control possession of weapons on their property,” Stocker said.

“Now the law has been changed and those conflicting interests have prompted a challenge to the new statute, this time by employers asserting their interests.”

Brian Hayden, vice president of Advance Food Co., said his company has a gun policy similar to Weyerhaeuser’s.

“We do have a policy that prevents that,” Hayden said of employees having guns on company property. “We’ve had that policy at least 10 years, and we have not had any problems with it.”

Hayden said we’ve all heard stories about violence in the workplace and “that’s why we have policies about guns.”

Enid News & Eagle reporter Cass Rains contributed to this story.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Colorado; US: District of Columbia; US: Oklahoma
KEYWORDS: 2a; bang; banglist; firearm; gun; pistol; revolver; rkba; secondamendment; sidearm; waittilyouroxisgored
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1 posted on 02/20/2006 11:38:26 AM PST by neverdem
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To: TYVets
BANG! You might find this interesting.
2 posted on 02/20/2006 11:41:35 AM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
Hayden said we’ve all heard stories about violence in the workplace and “that’s why we have policies about guns.”

I guess he's never heard of people hurt or killed because they couldn't defend themselves.

3 posted on 02/20/2006 11:45:00 AM PST by RJL
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To: neverdem
The court had to come to this conclusion. Just imagine the Pandora's box it would open if the entire Bill of Rights became fully enforceable against private property owners. It would mean you couldn't "discriminate" against those whose views you find absolutely repugnant.
4 posted on 02/20/2006 11:45:20 AM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: neverdem

Yes very interesting since the "car" is not the property of the company but of the worker.

So its safe to say that a company will have no problem being sued by the family of an employee killed by someone on the company's property who could have defended him/her self from such attack?


5 posted on 02/20/2006 11:48:02 AM PST by MaDeuce (Do it to them, before they do it to you!)
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To: neverdem
Hayden said we’ve all heard stories about violence in the workplace and “that’s why we have policies about guns.”

How many such policies have actually prevented violence?

6 posted on 02/20/2006 11:48:44 AM PST by shekkian
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To: shekkian

ZERO.

This is all about creating a stigma.


7 posted on 02/20/2006 11:59:05 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: neverdem
I understand that in some localities, your car is considered the same as your home as to having a firearm within. If that is the law in Oklahoma, then why would it change when one enters a parking lot?

The issue should be whether one can remove it from the car while on another's property.

8 posted on 02/20/2006 12:01:58 PM PST by RAY
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To: Dead Corpse; glock rocks; King Prout; RKBA Democrat; Southack
Ping.
9 posted on 02/20/2006 12:04:06 PM PST by Do not dub me shapka broham ("The moment that someone wants to forbid caricatures, that is the moment we publish them.")
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To: neverdem; Joe Brower
An Armed Citizen, Is A Safe Citizen!

The Second Amendment...
America's Only Homeland Security!

Be Ever Vigilant!


10 posted on 02/20/2006 12:04:29 PM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: neverdem

How is a hunter to go hunting after work?


11 posted on 02/20/2006 12:09:59 PM PST by mountainlyons (Hard core conservative)
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To: MaDuce
"So its safe to say that a company will have no problem being sued by the family of an employee killed by someone on the company's property who could have defended him/her self from such attack?"

That happens already. People have been assaulted in store parking lots and have sued the store for inadequate security.

Are you saying that if the person was carrying a weapon and was assaulted before they could use it, they couldn't sue because the store/employer gave them the opportunity to defend themselves? Interesting.

12 posted on 02/20/2006 12:20:13 PM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: neverdem

SC case law has previously said an RV can be considered an abode. maybe they should all drive RV's full of guns to the company lot.


13 posted on 02/20/2006 12:20:25 PM PST by Rakkasan1 (Muslims pray to Allah, Allah prays to Chuck Norris.)
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To: mountainlyons
How is a hunter to go hunting after work?

Why should the owners care when they just fear the cost of insurance and potential liabilty?

14 posted on 02/20/2006 12:23:27 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
The workers contended, among other things, plant security officers violated their federal constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures by telling them they would be fired if they did not permit a search of their vehicles. The former employees also contended the law violated their right under the Oklahoma Constitution to keep guns.

When are people going to learn that the Constitution controls the actions of the government with respect to the citizens, not the actions of an employer with respect to its employees?

15 posted on 02/20/2006 12:25:57 PM PST by TChris ("Unless you act, you're going to lose your world." - Mark Steyn)
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To: neverdem

The federal government does not let much on their facilities either.


16 posted on 02/20/2006 12:30:51 PM PST by mountainlyons (Hard core conservative)
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To: mountainlyons

"The federal government does not let much on their facilities either."

I have worked at numerous Federal facilities. At none of those was I allowed to bring fire-arms on the premisis. As a matter of fact, I am betting that employers who DO allow firearms on the premisis are in the significant minority.

He who own the land, calls the shots.


17 posted on 02/20/2006 1:04:06 PM PST by L98Fiero
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To: L98Fiero; Jeff Head; joanie-f

Yes, the land is *owned* by the company owner just the same as the land around my house is *owned* by my wife and I. I want my property rights protected to the point where I have control over who shall come onto my property and I want control over what that person may or may not be permitted to bring onto my property.

I do believe all property owners should have the authority to control their private property.

The reason why I placed *'s before and after the word "owned" is that I don't want anyone to think I am ignorant about non payment of taxes and foreclosure laws which can result in the sale of private property. That is another issue entirely.

If your employer doesn't want to permit you to bring your personal weapons onto their private property then quit and find another job somewhere else. That is what I would do. The other option is to carry concealed and deal with the results of being discovered later.


18 posted on 02/20/2006 1:51:26 PM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: B4Ranch

"If your employer doesn't want to permit you to bring your personal weapons onto their private property then quit and find another job somewhere else. That is what I would do. The other option is to carry concealed and deal with the results of being discovered later."

In a nutshell.


19 posted on 02/20/2006 2:04:55 PM PST by L98Fiero
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To: neverdem
So what happened here? Employees employed by the same firm over a long period of time were threatened with the loss of their jobs if they didn't consent to a search of their vehicle?

Is there any reason those same employees shouldn't have presumed that their contract to work for that company included what had become precedent? If they had come to work every day for the last year or more, and if they had had firearms in their vehicles before, why would they be in the wrong for presuming they couldn't continue to follow that policy?

And then there's the privacy issue. More or less related to the above, and to the presumption that we have a natural right to privacy, why should their jobs be subject to loss simply because a company decided that morning to change what had been the norm?

20 posted on 02/20/2006 3:42:48 PM PST by Simo Hayha (An eduction is incomplete without instruction in the use of arms to defend against harm.)
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To: neverdem
The appellate judges disagreed, quoting the state Constitution: “Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.”

Idiots. The fired employees were not CARRYING weapons. The weapons were stored in their vehicles.

If a judge can't figure this out, he's a lying liar and needs to be removed now.

21 posted on 02/20/2006 4:22:25 PM PST by nonsporting
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To: neverdem

This is a property rights issue according to the courts. And property rights seem to trump personal liberty in this case.

Interesting how that works. The property rights of the property owner are sacrosanct when the issue is banning guns. Now I wonder if those property rights would be quite as sacrosanct were the local government trying to condemn the real estate in question?

I think we all know the answer.


22 posted on 02/20/2006 4:42:38 PM PST by RKBA Democrat (Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.)
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To: RJL

Many companies will hire security personnel, who are charged with protecting company property and employees' and still refuse to allow security to carry a weapon.
Did some security work after retiring and anyone who would take the job under those rules have to be nuts.


23 posted on 02/20/2006 4:48:16 PM PST by jerry639
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To: TChris

Try hiring only white Christians at your company. Or try paying 50¢ an hour for sewing socks. See how fast the government swoops down on you to enforce the favored government policy.

Government picks and chooses which rights it decides to enforce on private property. It's all quite arbitrary, depending on the PC flavor of the month.

I would have told my attorney to pursue the angle that armed employees contribute to public safety.


24 posted on 02/20/2006 5:25:54 PM PST by sergeantdave (And on the second day The Lord created February - the slowest month of the year.)
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To: jerry639
anyone who would take the job under those rules have to be nuts.

Knew a bank security guard once, company made him wear a fake revolver. First robbery, thugs shot him five times as they came through the door, took his "gun", robbed bank, threw the gun back through the front window when they found it was fake. He lived about ten minutes.

25 posted on 02/20/2006 5:47:04 PM PST by Navy Patriot
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To: RKBA Democrat
I think we all know the answer

Yep, this is a political agenda decision and has nothing to do with the Constitution. If it did, employers would be firing young women who would not submit to strip searches to find any small handguns. (Except in San Fransicko, where it would be young men)

26 posted on 02/20/2006 5:53:25 PM PST by Navy Patriot
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To: Navy Patriot
Yep, this is a political agenda decision and has nothing to do with the Constitution. If it did, employers would be firing young women who would not submit to strip searches to find any small handguns. (Except in San Fransicko, where it would be young men)

That wouldn't be against the Constitution either. Against various statutes, maybe, but not against the Constitution.

27 posted on 02/20/2006 6:12:18 PM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: inquest
has nothing to do with the Constitution

but not against the Constitution

Didn't say "against".

28 posted on 02/20/2006 6:34:24 PM PST by Navy Patriot
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To: B4Ranch
If your employer doesn't want to permit you to bring your personal weapons onto their private property then quit and find another job somewhere else. That is what I would do. The other option is to carry concealed and deal with the results of being discovered later.

Beautifully said, B4R!

It’s strangely providential that you would ping this to me today.

One of my dearest friends here in town is an older fellow who used to serve as our township’s zoning officer. When he worked in the municipal building with me, we would often drop into each other’s office and discuss the (generally sorry) state of the world. Bob is a genuine conservative, extremely well informed, and loves his country. He walks with a decided limp, having been badly injured in the Battle of the Bulge. And, at eighty years old, he is still an avid hunter, physically active, and continues to have a magnificent mind.

Since he retired a few years ago, he will call me maybe once a month and we’ll go out to lunch, or he’ll just stop in at my office to ‘compare notes.’ This afternoon he stopped by my office to discuss just this case.

Long story short, Bob does not agree with me (or you) on this issue. That fact became apparent shortly after we began discussing the Oklahoma case.

When I found myself (for the very first time in our long friendship) becoming frustrated with his inability to see my point of view, I called up a couple of posts (1 and 2) that I wrote here on FR a week or so ago. He read them both, expressed appreciation for my point of view, but could not bring himself to agree with it. His allegiance to his Second Amendment RKBA appears to trump his belief in the sanctity of personal property rights.

After respectfully but strenuously arguing our points, we almost simultaneously realized that we were not going to enjoy a meeting of the minds … for the very first time … and we sat there in complete silence for what must have been a good thirty seconds. After which he sort of hung his head and said (precisely what I said to someone on the FR thread last week), ‘Joanie, it looks like we’re going to have to agree to disagree.’

I’ve been glum ever since. I enjoy (sometimes even relish) locking horns with friends and neighbors of the liberal bent. But it is actually painful to disagree with someone who understands, and reveres, every bit as much as I the seeds from which our republic emerged.

What I managed to re-learn today is something that we conservatives need to keep close to our hearts: There are some (even vital) issues about which we may disagree, but our ‘big picture’ mutual allegiance must remain uncompromised. Reagan’s ‘eleventh commandment’ becomes more relevant with the passage of time … and the coincidental increase in self-serving treason and pathological duplicity of our ideological enemies.

~ joanie

29 posted on 02/20/2006 7:41:37 PM PST by joanie-f (If you believe God is your co-pilot, it might be time to switch seats ...)
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To: Simo Hayha

Because society changes as do business conditions. A private business has the right to change its business practices, does it not? Union contracts do not go on forever without changes.


30 posted on 02/20/2006 8:24:28 PM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: joanie-f

I would be interested to know what parts of your FR posts he took issue with. That's not to say that he doesn't probably have strong opinions of his own, but I read yours and Jeff Heads posts on that thread and even though I wasn't sure where I stood before then, both of your arguments brought me over to the employer's side.

Good post, Joanie.


31 posted on 02/20/2006 8:28:20 PM PST by Minuteman23
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I just wonder how many FReepers will condemn this who have been supportive of the firings of workers for being smokers.

Hmmmm.
32 posted on 02/20/2006 8:30:07 PM PST by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
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To: neverdem
Why should the owners care when they just fear the cost of insurance and potential liabilty?

As I've posted before, the key to changing policies would be to make it so that anti-gun policies increase liability exposure.

33 posted on 02/20/2006 9:02:56 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: Navy Patriot

That is really tragic. In that particular case it probably wouldn't have saved him even if he had a real weapon instead of the fake he was made to wear.
My observation during the time I spent doing security work is that most guards don't take their job serious enough or are improperly trained. Being a security guard anywhere is or can become deadly in a moment. It is a mentally exhausting job because one must never let themselves be distracted or unaware of everything that is going on around them. To do so can get you killed.
I worked as a private contractor when doing security work. Would not take a job where I was not permitted to carry a weapon. Most of the time I was hired because some disgruntled employee had threatened to blow place up or kill a bunch of people. Would never work for any company who had complete control over how I did my job. One manager tried that on me and I told him to fire me and I would recommend where he could purchase a weapon and provide his own security.


34 posted on 02/20/2006 11:48:14 PM PST by jerry639
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To: neverdem
“Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.”

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

So, state constitutions now out weight the US Constitution?

35 posted on 02/21/2006 12:04:49 AM PST by DakotaRed
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To: B4Ranch
I do believe all property owners should have the authority to control their private property.

Not trying to change the subject here, but that right was done away with as states imposed smoking bans. Once they can regulate what you may allow others, or yourself to do on your property, you no longer have any "private property rights."

36 posted on 02/21/2006 12:09:13 AM PST by DakotaRed
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To: B4Ranch
Sure. If we knew everything there is to know about this case, I'm sure there would be a lot of grist for the mill. And it doesn't really matter if the shop is union or not, I suspect there is written in contract law wording that would support employees wrongfully let go, if that had been the case. I do think there is merit to the argument that if the company for the first time decided to search vehicles, their decision to terminate employees with guns in their vehicles was unethical. Did they serve them with notice that this was going to happen? Assuming their policy dictated no guns in vehicles, had it ever been enforced in the past? If someone worked there for most of their adult life, is that person now culpable because this morning policy is enforced...with a vengeance?

And the privacy issue hasn't been addressed much in this thread. Are the employees' vehicles used for company business? Aren't they collectively parked in a lot for the day and then used to leave? Assuming we do have a right to keep and bear arms, and assuming we have a modicum of privacy, it is unbelievable to me that this company would pursue this policy. How many vehicles were searched? Do they owe it to their shareholders to engage in this kind of police activity--given that the vehicles aren't used for company business, that the vehicles are only held in a pen while the workers work, and given the location of this employer, do they really want the people who work for them, who have worked for them for years, faithfully and honestly, to they want to be perceived in this light?

I hope we haven't heard the last of it.

37 posted on 02/21/2006 4:38:55 AM PST by Simo Hayha (An eduction is incomplete without instruction in the use of arms to defend against harm.)
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To: TChris
"When are people going to learn that the Constitution controls the actions of the government with respect to the citizens, not the actions of an employer with respect to its employees?"

When are people going to learn that the Constitution doesn't grant any rights, it simply enumerates some of them that where given to men (and women) by God.
38 posted on 02/21/2006 5:29:17 AM PST by THEUPMAN
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To: DakotaRed

Actally that right was done away with as states imposed property taxes.


39 posted on 02/21/2006 6:10:30 AM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: B4Ranch
What was company policy on employee discharge? Assuming it wasn't an employment-at-will situation, since the discharged employees must have had grounds in court, was there a breach of implied covenant of good faith? The employees had guns in their vehicles, an apparent breach on their part, but did the company also breach the contract by denying them due process by not giving them a chance to correct the offense? Did the company act without notice by conducting a search of employee vehicles--an action that may or may not have happened in the past? Was it company policy to threaten employees with termination if they did not consent to what amounted to an invasion of their privacy, given the company's track record? Again, a violation of due process by denying them a chance to correct their wrong if there had been no searchs in the past, this was unannounced, and the employees were operating on past company enforcement of policy.

Was the search limited to guns? Does company policy forbid other articles in employee vehicles? Civil rights legislation doesn't recognize gun owners as a protected class, but I hazard that the 2nd A does protect them as a class. Were all vehicles searched? If not, then gun owners were singled out and they have legal standing as a protected class based on the SA and the company is guilty of intentional disparate-treatment discrimination. Assuming this was the first time a search was conducted, a search that violated employees' rights to due process by not giving them an opportunity to correct their offense was the search also conducted during a scheduled hunting season? If so, why?

40 posted on 02/21/2006 6:30:31 AM PST by Simo Hayha (An eduction is incomplete without instruction in the use of arms to defend against harm.)
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To: TChris
Interesting, try as an employer not hiring, or firing someone because they are female, or black or tall or fat and let me know how it goes.
My question is why is the 2nd amendment the only one the hasn't been applied to the states?
41 posted on 02/21/2006 6:40:02 AM PST by thinkthenpost
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To: thinkthenpost
Interesting, try as an employer not hiring, or firing someone because they are female, or black or tall or fat and let me know how it goes. My question is why is the 2nd amendment the only one the hasn't been applied to the states?

There have been laws enacted regulating this behavior for employers. The Constitution doesn't do it.

42 posted on 02/21/2006 6:53:36 AM PST by TChris ("Unless you act, you're going to lose your world." - Mark Steyn)
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To: THEUPMAN
When are people going to learn that the Constitution doesn't grant any rights, it simply enumerates some of them that where given to men (and women) by God.

Very true. But also irrelevant to this post. I never claimed that the Constitution grants rights.

43 posted on 02/21/2006 6:54:29 AM PST by TChris ("Unless you act, you're going to lose your world." - Mark Steyn)
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To: sergeantdave
Try hiring only white Christians at your company. Or try paying 50¢ an hour for sewing socks. See how fast the government swoops down on you to enforce the favored government policy.

This is completely off the point. None of those actions are covered by the Constitution either. They are governed by specific laws, enacted for that purpose.

Try suing an employer for paying below minimum wage based on a provision in the Constitution. See how far that gets you.

44 posted on 02/21/2006 6:57:04 AM PST by TChris ("Unless you act, you're going to lose your world." - Mark Steyn)
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To: Simo Hayha

If we knew everything there is to know about this case, you could stop asking me the questions, huh? Just maybe they need to rewrite or eliminate all the other laws that protect job rights.


45 posted on 02/21/2006 6:58:04 AM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: TChris
I strongly disagree, they may not be in the Bill of Rights, but look at the 13rd (stretching a bit maybe), 14th and 15th amendments.
46 posted on 02/21/2006 7:00:05 AM PST by thinkthenpost
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To: thinkthenpost

Sorry, 13th.


47 posted on 02/21/2006 7:01:05 AM PST by thinkthenpost
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To: B4Ranch

No argument there.


48 posted on 02/21/2006 7:11:56 AM PST by DakotaRed
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To: thinkthenpost
I strongly disagree, they may not be in the Bill of Rights, but look at the 13rd (stretching a bit maybe), 14th and 15th amendments.

Go look at them again, closely. The 14th and 15th say "The States shall...", etc.. The Constitution is to control and limit the State and Federal governments.

The 13th resulted in the States enacting laws (to govern the citizens) against slavery.

49 posted on 02/21/2006 7:12:07 AM PST by TChris ("Unless you act, you're going to lose your world." - Mark Steyn)
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To: RandallFlagg

Hmmmm.


50 posted on 02/21/2006 7:38:40 AM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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