Redress of Grievances

First Amendment “Accountability Clause”

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

But what does it mean?

As We the People of the United States of America enter 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) thus far continues to refuse to perform its Constitutional duty in declaring the meaning of the last 10 words of the First Amendment (aka: "Accountability Clause").

One might ask oneself, "While SCOTUS has ruled on every other provision of the First Amendment, why would it refuse to rule on the clause contained in the last ten words?"

Accountability Clause Origins

The unalienable right to petition for redress of grievances is found within England's 1215 AD Magna Carta:

The Magna Carta 1215 AD [section 61]:

“If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us - or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice - to declare it and claim immediate redress. 

If we, or in our absence abroad the chief justice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us.”

This is the first legal accountability clause whose principle served as a foundation upon which the Colonists' repeated petitions for redress were based.  It was later omitted by the 1216 Magna Carta, when the King of England apparently realized that he had given his subjects too much liberty through the power to mandate a limited and accountable government.

This was also the legal precedent for the inclusion of an accountability clause within our founding documents.  The American founding fathers apparently thought such a clause was important enough to include within the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Limited & Accountable Government

The founders fully understood that the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government might someday fail in their duty to protect the people from tyranny, and even violate their unalienable Natural Rights it was sworn to protect.

Therefore, the founders specifically created two primary legal provisions through which We the People may peacefully mandate limited and accountable government: 1. the ballot box; 2. the First Amendment Accountability Clause.

Unfortunately, the latter is also known as the "forgotten clause", because barely any Americans are aware of its existence, let alone its meaning.  Further and as previously mentioned, SCOTUS has thus far refused to perform its Constitutional duty in declaring the meaning of the First Amendment Accountability Clause.

The founding fathers also knew that unless the right to petition for redress (remedy) of grievances also included the right to withhold money from the government until the People's grievances were remedied, their grievances might fall on deaf ears and liberty would give way to tyranny and involuntary servitude.

Therefore, within an act of the 1774 Continental Congress regarding petitioning for redress of grievances (Accountability Clause), the founding fathers said:

“If money is wanted by Rulers who have in any manner oppressed the People, [the People] may retain [their money] until their grievances are redressed, and thus peaceably procure relief, without trusting to despised petitions or disturbing the public tranquility.”

Founders’ Advice:  No Redress, NO TAXES!