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Reader Challenges Columnist On Historical Facts

May 31, 2002

As you may know, Blaine Young, a member of the Defenders of Citizens Rights, Inc. ("Defenders"), has taken it upon himself to attack me on a variety of fronts. See www.thetentacle.com/Articles_May/may24_article1.html for the latest barrage.

Like most Defenders, Mr. Young demonstrates ignorance of both history and the United States Constitution ("Constitution"). The "Royalists" were those who sided with King Charles I against Parliament during the English Civil War of the 1640s. See Goldwin Smith, A History of England (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2nd. ed 1957) p. 327.

Adoption of the First Amendment did not provide any right to petition one's state or local government. Until the Civil War Amendments, the Constitution imposed very few restraints on state and local governments. It was not until the 1920s and 30s that the United States Supreme Court applied First Amendment protections against the actions of state and local governments.

Our Constitutional right to petition and criticize our state and local governments comes from the 14th amendment, not the 1st. Thanks for this right goes to the framers of the Civil War Amendments, not the Founding Fathers.

Mr. Young's predictions as to what will happen if the people of Frederick County choose to adopt Code Home Rule are also inaccurate. Article I, 10(1) of the Constitution provides, in pertinent part, that "No State shall...grant any Title of Nobility." This would prevent me or anyone else from being "appointed emperor for life" of Frederick County, contrary to Mr. Young's assertions.

Article IV, 4 of the Constitution provides, in pertinent part, that "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government..." This would preclude the creation of a "non-benevolent dictatorship" in Frederick County, contrary to Mr. Young's assertions.

Mr. Young should obtain better legal advice before making inaccurate pronouncements about our United States Constitution.

Lennie Thompson, Walkersville
(Editor's Note: Mr. Thompson is a member of the Board of County Commissioners of Frederick County.)

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