George Zimmerman and the wisdom of the Founding Fathers

Which right in the Bill of Rights did our founding fathers consider most important? Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 — Which right in the Bill of Rights did our founding fathers think was most important?

All of the rights in the Bill of Rights are important. Even the forgotten Third Amendment, which forbids the quartering of troops in private homes, except in times of war, is important. But there is one that the founding fathers arguably considered the most important of all. 

SEE RELATED: DE GRACIA: Race, fear and greed distorted George Zimmerman’s trial

That one is the right to a jury trial. This right is so important that it was included it in not one, but two amendments in the Bill of Rights. The right to a jury trial is included in the Sixth Amendment — the right to a jury trial in criminal cases — and the Seventh Amendment — the right to a jury trial in civil cases. 

The Zimmerman case is proof of the wisdom of our founding fathers in protecting citizens against an out-of-control government. 

George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense. He was originally not charged, nor should he have been. But Martin’s family and the media made this a racial issue. Because it became a racial issue, a special prosecutor was appointed. She immediately caved to the pressure and had Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder.    

For the last two weeks the case has muddled along as the prosecution offered its case. Every prosecution eyewitness supported Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. The prosecution was reduced to trying to inflame the jury by using claims of “profiling” and implying that Zimmerman was a racist.

SEE RELATED: Legally, George Zimmerman should be found not guilty

When the prosecution’s case ended, Zimmerman’s team made a motion for a judgment of acquittal. A judgment of acquittal occurs when the state has not proven its case and there is simply no way a jury can follow the law and reach a guilty verdict.

In what appears to be at the very least a timid decision, Judge Debra Nelson refused to dismiss the charges against Zimmerman. Many legal experts, such as Andrew Branca, author of The Law of Self Defense, writing on the Legal Insurrection Blog have blasted Nelson for a horribly bad decision.

Fortunately, Nelson is not the one with the final say, and while she could direct a verdict of not guilty, she cannot direct a verdict of guilty.

The founding fathers understood the jury was the great shield against the tyranny of a powerful government. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider Trial by Jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

SEE RELATED: Police fear riots if George Zimmerman is found not guilty

The legal principles of fairness and impartiality have been repeatedly violated in Zimmerman’s prosecution. The decision to prosecute Zimmerman was driven on the race of the person who attacked him.

Had Trayvon Martin been white, the social media pressure to punish Zimmerman would never have materialized, President Obama would never have moved in to appoint himself the young man’s posthumous Godfather, and Zimmerman would be living his life in quiet anonymity.

America is a nation predicated on the rule of law. The rule of law means that everyone, regardless of race, gender and other criteria, is treated the same. If Angela Corey, the special prosecutor in this case had her way, Justice would always have one eye wide open and fixed firmly on the color of our skin.

Fortunately for George Zimmerman, our founding fathers created the American system of trial by jury. Fortunately for George Zimmerman, our founding fathers gave him rights. Fortunately for George Zimmerman, his fate is in the hands of a group of his fellow citizens, not a hack politician like Angela Corey or a wind-vane judge like Debra Nelson.

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More from Judson Phillips: Cold, Hard Truth
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Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet.

A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says.

Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC.   “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based.  Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville.  Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’  I did.”

The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown.   It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed.  Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker.

He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should.  He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.

Contact Judson Phillips


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