Basics of the Law
"The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of
the principles on which it was founded."
C.L. De Montesquieu
The Spirit of the Laws, VIII
Let me say from the start, I am not a Lawyer, or an Attorney. Nothing here is to be construed as "practicing Law". What, you say, a lawyer IS an Attorney?
Not necessarily!! Lawyers deal with "Law" and Attorneys deal with "Equity".... So what's this Law and Equity stuff, anyway?
The Constitution mentions three distinct "types" of action the Courts have jurisdiction over. In Art VII it talks about "in suits at common law...". In Art III, Sec 2.1, it talks of the Judicial power extending to all cases in Law, Equity, and Admiralty.
Simply put, these are the three basic areas of "Law". In actual fact, the first, "Common Law", is the basis for the Constitution, as derived from the Magna Carta, the Law of the Land, many of it's principles are enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Under "Common Law", there is no crime, per se, unless someone can swear out a complaint that you have harmed them. So, under common law, you are absolutely free to do whatever you choose until you harm someone in some way. (Hit them on the head with a baseball bat, set their house on fire, steal their pig, trespass on their property). This type of law in particular is the reason why the Constitution guarantees you the right to be faced in court by your accuser, someone who can point at you and say "He did it!"
The second type of law is "Equity". This is the type of "Law" that Attorneys specialize in. Equity, in fact, is not so much law, per se. EQUITY IS CONTRACT LAW!! If you enter an agreement, (contract), you may be taken to court if you do not hold up your end of the bargain. Here is one of the MOST IMPORTANT facts about equity proceedings: The Constitution and Bill of Rights have nothing to do with it ! When a court adjudicates a ruling of equity, the only thing that matters is whether the contract was obeyed or not. (We are assuming here that it is a Lawful contract, not a contract to murder someone). So in equity, free speech rights don't exist, neither do any of the other rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights; they are, in effect irrelevant.
The final type of Law mentioned is "Admiralty". Admiralty has to do with the laws of the sea, International law regarding, say, for instance, if a ship is in port in New York city, what laws apply to crewmembers of the ship while they are on the ship? Answer, the Laws of the Country whose flag is flying on the ship.
For example, lets ask a question about a "Law".
If you are stopped by an officer and he writes you a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, is this Law, Equity, or Admiralty?
Well, assuming you are driving on a road, and not in the Atlantic ocean, it would not be Admiralty. And since the officer cannot stand up in court and claim you harmed him in any way, it's not law either. The correct answer is Equity. What??, you say, I don't have any "Contract" having to do with seat belts!!
You sure as heck do. Look in your wallet for a piece of plastic called a "Driver's License" A driver's license is a Contract with the state, and when you got one, you agreed to abide by ALL the rules the state makes.
This issue brings up the question of what exactly is a "License"? If I give you "license" to do something, that means I give you PERMISSION. That's what "License" means. So, if you get a "License" from the state to do something, you MUST follow their rules, even if that "something" is something you have rights to do without a License! A number of court decisions have held, for example, that the RIGHTS of liberty mean you have an ABSOLUTE RIGHT to use the roads for personal travel, without permission (license) from the state.
The law is a fascinating subject. It has always bothered me to no end when I hear someone say "It's the Law, even if we don't like it". Something being "Legal" or "Illegal" does not mean that same thing is "Lawful" or "Unlawful". "LEGal" only means it was LEGislated. It may or may not be "Law"
The state is severely limited in how much actual control it has over you, so learn the law and demand your rights.
For more excellent info about the subject, read George Mercier's "Invisible Contracts". Also, Mr. Howard Freeman has written many wonderful articles about law and equity.
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