The Instigator
MasturDbtor
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
M4sterDeb8er
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Jailing People For Leaving the Military Or Dodging The Draft Violates the 13th Amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/28/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,049 times Debate No: 25889
Debate Rounds (5)
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MasturDbtor

Pro

The 13th Amendment states

Section 1.Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Whether it amounts to slavery aside, it certainly amounts to a form of involuntary servitude. In no other case even if it's a government employee would a contract stipulating the person could be arrested as penalty for exiting the contract be considered acceptable, and would definitely fail the 13th amendment.

What we can do, what is constitutional is to impose serious fines as a consequence, just as it is acceptable for companies to contract people and impose extreme financial penalties for leaving. Legalized employment discrimination against "deserters" could also help to deter desertion without holding soldiers in involuntary servitude. Removal of other benefits could also be part of the penalty, including social security (while still requiring them to pay in) and any college benefits.

If the nation ever requires a "draft" to get enough soldiers we could also avoid subjecting people to "involuntary servitude" while enforcing the law through serious financial penalties.
M4sterDeb8er

Con

You have not stated whether or not the first round is introductory. If it is, I'll forfeit the next round to make it even. Also, we have basically the same username. I thought that was cool.

On to business.

The primary problem with your argument is that you suggest the Amendment supersedes the rest of the Constitution. Article III, Section VIII of the Constitution gives Congress the power to raise and support armies. Does that mean that the 13th Amendment infringes on the powers of Congress? Yes it does.

In addition, ambiguity in the 13th Amendment should be noted. It does not say explicitly what can and cannot be considered involuntary servitude. If you argue that being forced to serve in the military is against the 13th Amendment, you are also implying that because attending school is involuntary and it is a punishable offense not to do so, forcing children to go to school is unconstitutional. The same can be said of jury duty.

Furthermore, there are many generally accepted laws that technically contradict what I would assume to be your interpretation of the Constitution:
-Fraud and Slander laws limit free speech (1st Amendment).
-Freedom of religion does not protect human sacrifices because that would infringe on another person's right to life.
-Libel and false advertising law limit freedom of the press (1st Amendment).
-The right to bear arms is limited by laws against assault rifles and fully automatic firearms (1st Amendment).

Are all these unconstitutional as well?

And above all, it is up to the Judicial system to interpret laws, keeping government balanced, and ambiguous laws fall under their jurisdiction. You cannot declare that something conflicts with the 13th Amendment, because you are forced to use your own interpretation of the 13th Amendment to come to that conclusion. In order to effectively argue your viewpoint, you will have to argue that you know not only the intentions of the people who wrote and passed the 13th Amendment, but that the Courts agree with you.

SHOULD the draft be unconstitutional is a very different debate, and I think that you would have a much easier time proving that. You did not say should. You declared that it DOES violate the 13th Amendment, and as you have not provided a strong court interpretation that would support your notion that it includes military service, I am puzzled how you can fulfill your burden of proof.

If you can, I would love to continue this debate.

Thank you, and thank you for the debate.



Sources:

U.S. Constitution

Debate Round No. 1
MasturDbtor

Pro

Rebuttal #1

Con argues that because Article III, Section VIII of the Constitution gives Congress the power to raise and support armies that this trumps the 13th Amendment.

This argument is nonsense. The "Bill of Rights" was put in place precisely to limit the power of the government even if one of its enumerated powers would've otherwise allowed it to do something. While the 13th amendment is not part of the Bill of Rights it is an "amendment" just like the "Bill of Rights". The entire process of passing the Bill of Rights suggests the Framers would've taken an amendment to trump what ever came before it.

No Ambiguity

The words "involuntary" and "servitude" both have very plain meanings. "Involuntary" is self-explanatory. "Servitude" means: "a condition in which one lacks liberty especially to determine one's course of action or way of life".
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

If it fits the meaning it's "involuntary servitude". Like military service both jury duty and school attendance could be enforced entirely through financial penalties, which is analogous to the practice of some companies of putting a penalty clause for quitting in the contract and so would be constitutional. Or ultimately we could fix it with an amendment if necessary, but we shouldn't twist the Constitution just for our convenience or it will become a very weak document.

Assumption?
"Furthermore, there are many generally accepted laws that technically contradict what I would assume to be your interpretation of the Constitution:"

What is your assumption?

"-Freedom of religion does not protect human sacrifices because that would infringe on another person's right to life."

A law specifically against human sacrifices, treating it separately from other murders would be unconstitutional. The Constitution does NOT prevent the government from having laws that go against religious practices as long as it is not targeting the religious practice. For example, "polygamy" was ruled not to be constitutionally protected religious freedom on these grounds. As it is non-discriminatory towards "religion" (would apply equally to secular polygamists) it's not a constitutional problem.

"-Fraud and Slander laws limit free speech (1st Amendment)."
"-Libel and false advertising law limit freedom of the press (1st Amendment)."

Because "Freedom of Speech" does not include the right to tell harmful lies.

"-The right to bear arms is limited by laws against assault rifles and fully automatic firearms (1st Amendment)."

The amendment doesn't say the right has to apply to every conceivable sort of arm. Obviously it's not or the Framers intended every military weapon including nuclear bombs to be available for private possession.
But the 13th amendment does say that involuntary servitude is NOT allowed except as punishment for a crime that one has been duly convicted for.

Furthermore, the 2nd amendment references a "well regulated militia" which at the very least means that some regulation is reasonable.

Rebuttal to "Courts have to agree"

The courts interpreted the Constitution and ultimately decide what we TREAT as constitutional for legal purposes. However, the question of what IS actually constitutional is a more theoretical question. Segregation was unconstitutional under the 14th amendment from the beginning. "Plessy v. Ferguson" did NOT make it constitutional, it made it legal that it would be treated as constitutional because the Supreme Court made a mistake.
M4sterDeb8er

Con

M4sterDeb8er forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
MasturDbtor

Pro

All arguments extended.
M4sterDeb8er

Con

All arguments extended.
Debate Round No. 3
MasturDbtor

Pro

All arguments extended again.

That was a weird comment. What arguments are you extending? The ones I already argued against?

Are you giving up?
M4sterDeb8er

Con

M4sterDeb8er forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
MasturDbtor

Pro

Very very disappointing. Again all arguments are extended.

Vote Pro!
M4sterDeb8er

Con

M4sterDeb8er forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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