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[Cite as Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263 (1892). NOTE: This case concerns conspiracy to deny prisoners protection when in custody, and whether there was federal jurisdiction under the Fourteenth Amendment to enforce the prisoners' rights. The lower court charged the jury that when in custody a "citizen has a right ... to be protected against all unlawful violence, while he is deprived of the ordinary means of defending himself." (P. 275) This was upheld. (P. 295) Referring to the Second Amendment right to arms in similar terms as the First Amendment right to assembly, the Court comments on the Cruikshank held the First Amendment "recognized that right as already existing, and did not guaranty its continuance except as against acts of Congress; and therefore the general right was not a right secured by the Constitution of the United States." ... "It was held that the Second Amendment of the Constitution, declaring that 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,' was equally limited in its scope." (P. 286-287 these pages) See also United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 552-553. The Court also relies upon the Circuit Court decision of Cruikshank as "clearly summing up" "the main principles on which that decision was based." (P. 288-289) See also United States v. Cruikshank, 25 F. Cas. 707 (1 Woods, 308).]
[Logan v. United States continued
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Currently at pages 286-287.
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[paragraph continued from previous page] so strongly relied on those cases, that it is fit to review them in detail.
In United States v. Reese, 92 U.S. 214, 217, decided at October term, 1875, this court, speaking by Chief Justice Waite, said: "Rights and immunities created by or dependent upon the Constitution of the United States can be protected by Congress. The form and the manner of the protection may be such as Congress, in the legitimate exercise of its legislative discretion, shall provide. These may be varied to meet the necessities of the particular right to be protected." The decision in that case was that the fifteenth amendment of the Constitution did not confer on citizens of the United States the right to vote, but only the right of exemption from being denied by a state the right to vote on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; and therefore that sections 3 and 4 of the Enforcement Act of May 31, 1870, (16 Stat. 140, 141, reenacted in Rev. Stat. §§ 2007-2009, 5506,) undertaking to punish the denial or obstruction of the right to vote under the laws of any State or Territory, and not grounded on such discrimination, were unconstitutional.
In United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, at the same term, in which also the opinion was delivered by the Chief Justice, the indictment was on section 6 of the Enforcement Act of 1870, (reenacted in Rev. St. § 5508, under which the present conviction was had,) and the points adjudged on the construction of the Constitution and the extent of the powers of Congress were as follows:
1st. It was held that the First Amendment of the Constitution, by which it was ordained that Congress should make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances, did not grant to the people the right peaceably to assemble for lawful purposes, but recognized that right as already existing, and did not guaranty its continuance except as against acts of Congress; and therefore the general right was not a right secured by the Constitution of the United States. But the court added: "The right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of (p.287)grievances, or for anything else connected with the powers or the duties of the national government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under the protection of, and guarantied by, the United States. The very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances. If it had been alleged in these counts that the object of the defendants was to prevent a meeting for such a purpose, the case would have been within the statute, and within the scope of the sovereignty of the United States." 92 U.S. 552, 553.
2d. It was held that the Second Amendment of the Constitution, declaring that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," was equally limited in its scope. 92 U.S. 553.
3d. It was held that a conspiracy of individuals to injure, oppress, and intimidate citizens of the United States, with intent to deprive them of life and liberty without due process of law, did not come within the statute, nor under the power of Congress, because the rights of life and liberty were not granted by the Constitution, but were natural and inalienable rights of man; and that the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, declaring that no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, added nothing to the rights of one citizen as against another, but simply furnished an additional guaranty against any encroachment by the States upon the fundamental rights which belong to every citizen as a member of society. It was of these fundamental rights of life and liberty, not created by or dependent on the Constitution, that the court said: "Sovereignty, for this purpose, rests alone with the States. It is no more the duty or within the power of the United States to punish for a conspiracy to falsely imprison or murder within a State than it would be to punish for false imprisonment or murder itself." 92 U.S. 553, 554.
4th. It was held that the provision of the Fourteenth Amendment, forbidding any State to deny to any person within its [paragraph continues next page]
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Currently at pages 286-287.
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