Every once in a while, when we aren’t setting off fireballs inside of pumpkins, I tell LB that I’d really like to see more empirical research done on Americans’ conceptions of the scope of the Bill of Rights. My assumption has always been that in many areas, such as freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment, Americans are either unaware of, or uncomfortable with, the restrictions on state action created by the founding charter and the court opinions interpreting it. LB then tells me that she’d be happy to do the work if I’d like to pay for it. That shuts me up for a while.
But hey, it’s not just average, Joe Six-Pack, Hockey Mom Americans who don’t understand what the Constitution does and doesn’t do. Here’s the freakin’ Republican candidate for Vice President of our great nation on a conservative talk radio show today, demonstrating that she didn’t get the part in eighth grade civics about the Bill of Rights only restricting state actors:
“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”