The Keystone State: Older and Better than the Feds
Abraham Lincoln famously declared that "the Union is older than the states." This is, of course, hogwash. The colony of Pennsylvania, for example, was created on March 4, 1681 when King Charles II gave a charter to William Penn.
Earlier, a large part of the colony was included in the Virginia colony, chartered in 1606. The fact that Pennsylvania joined the Union on December 12, 1787 does not make the Union older than Pennsylvania. The ratification of the federal constitution did not erase the 106 years of Pennsylvania history which predate the U.S. constitution.
Lincoln’s lie, aside from distorting history, unduly diverts attention from the states to the federal Leviathan. Students from sea to shining sea are taught to worship the federal constitution as if it were Scripture. In contrast, few students ever study the constitutions of their states – this despite the fact that persons have more daily contact with their state governments than with the federal government.
Liberty-minded persons should be pleased to learn, then, that the Pennsylvania constitution is a far greater document in its regard for individual liberty than the federal constitution.
The Pennsylvania constitution is replete with protections of individual rights which make the federal constitution look shabby by comparison. Some, of course, would argue that the federal constitution looks quite shabby on its own, but that is beyond the scope of this article. For now, attention should be focused on how pathetic Uncle Sam’s parchment looks when you prop it up next to the virile constitution of the Keystone State (which isn’t a state, but a Commonwealth).
In federal constitutional jurisprudence, there is a "good faith exception" to the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule is a rule which excludes evidence from a trial when that evidence resulted from an illegal search, i.e. from the police ignoring the rules in the quest for "justice." In federal law, the court can ignore the fact that the police broke the rules if they acted in "good faith," i.e. if they really didn’t know they were breaking the law to catch a law-breaker.
No such monkey-business in Pennsylvania. As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided in the case of Commonwealth v. Edmunds, the federal "good faith exception" violates the heightened notion of privacy contained in Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania constitution. Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania constitution states that: "The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation subscribed to by the affiant." No warrant, no exceptions… FINISH READING à