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PETITION for REDRESS of GRIEVANCES is ABRIDGED
The petitioning right is distinct from other First Amendment rights. This is the right of the individual to enforce his rights against Government and its agents. Government has no power to punish a citizen for petitioning. Bribery and extortion notwithstanding, the right to petition bestows unqualified freedom to influence public policy.
Our ancestors lived under regimes that at one time actually prosecuted the petitioning of a sovereign. It was a time when authoritarians were above the law. Except for revolt, appeals were the only method to obtain redress for illegal action by rulers. Despite the Magna Carta of 1215, the English Bill of Rights of 1689, and the American Bill of Rights of 1791, courts have repeatedly reasserted "sovereign immunity" to the point where Government can only be sued according to its consent. This happened early in our republic. Judges realized that if the courts ordered Government to compensate individuals for its constitutional wrongs, the Government could refuse and enfeeble the judiciary.
The right to petition Government for redress, and Governmental immunity from redress, are incongruous. Clearly, Government does not want the people to enforce their rights effectively. As immunity jurisprudence grows, the Constitution becomes unenforceable by the people against their Government. Purposefully complicated laws ensure only the powerful can afford the attorneys necessary to protect their rights by suing their rights violators. When only the elite can obtain justice, the right of revolt is all that remains for the rest of us.
Our Founding Generation