Thursday, June 01, 2006

Is drinking a civil right if you can afford the booze?

cvillenative Says:
June 1st, 2006 at 6:40 am

18-, 19- and 20-year olds are not underage drinkers. They are adults. No court has ruled that these particular adults have their liberties curtailed. Laws that violate due process merit civil disobedience and foster the disrespect for law we see every day at all levels of society. Drinking at any age is a bad idea but perfectly legal if you’re at least 18. I wish the police would stop committing crimes against law-abiding citizens based on unconstitutional laws.

sylvia Says:
June 1st, 2006 at 7:22 am

Not sure what laws to which you are referring, cvillenative. Currently, the law is that the legal drinking age in all 50 states is 21. This has been the law since a federal highway law enacted in the early 1980s restricted funds to states that allowed younger folks to drink. As I remember, it was lobbyied heavily by M.A.D.D. in an effort to reduce drunk driving fatalities. Up until then, the drinking age in most states, including Virginia, was 18. (The jury may still be out on the effectiveness raising the drinking age on improving highway safety.) Yes, it is contradictory to other “adult privelige” laws, i.e. voting, smoking, driving, purchasing pornography, etc. that most adults are allowed to enjoy by law (not constitutionally, however..).

I’m curious as to which constutional rights are violated by drinking age laws. I don’t see the connection between enforcing the drinking age and violation of due process, or any other liberty guaranteed by the US Constitution…

cvillenative Says:
June 1st, 2006 at 10:06 pm

“Not sure what laws to which you are referring, cvillenative.”

Sylvia, I am referring to the 5th Amendment of due process and the proposition that only courts can take away your freedom.

I also refer to the proposition of equality of law, where laws cannot deny rights for certain individuals or minority goups, unless the law applies equally to everyone.

And the 14th Amendment of equal protection of the law where state and local government cannot deny Constitutional rights of their citizens.

Already accepted in law is a 2-tier system– adults and juveniles. Drinking-age laws, where certain adults are prohibited from activities permitted for other adults, discriminates against tax-paying, voting adult citizens who have not been convicted of anything. I’ll grant you that juveniles don’t have the same rights as adults.

Calling an 18-year-old an adult and then designating 18-year-olds as partial juveniles is absurd. The terms adult and juvenile are mutually exclusive.

Or are they? Can a 16-year-old be charged as an adult? How can you be a juvenile and an adult at the same time? How can you be a juvenile when following the law and instantly become an adult when you break the law and still be the same age?

I also refer to the proposition that federal law takes precedence over state and local laws, and the Constitution takes precedence over all laws and court rulings.

Those who support alcohol prohibition for some adults and not all adults, seems to me, are likely the same people who support special laws to limit other civil rights for gays and blacks. Why would you think an 18-year-old of any race or sexual orientation should be stripped of adult freedoms and not be exempted from the responsibilities of citizenship such as paying taxes?

Due process. Equality under law. Equal protection of law. Supremacy of the Bill of Rights. Rule of Law where government is constrained by the same laws that constrain the citizenry.

Our nation, states, and cities have strayed so far from the law that we have come to believe whatever the government does must be legal by definition. If government schools actually teach these concepts, they must not be looking at real-world examples and counter-examples.

Another Parent-Supervised Party Fiasco
The CvilleNews story and thread


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