Extorting a Signature
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“The only reason, I believe, why a free man is bound by human laws, is, that he binds himself. Upon the same principles, upon which he becomes bound by the laws, he becomes amenable to the Courts of Justice, which are formed and authorised by those laws. If one free man, an original sovereign, may do all this; why may not an aggregate of free men, a collection of original sovereigns, do this likewise? If the dignity of each singly is undiminished; the dignity of all jointly must be unimpaired.” Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 US 419, 456 - Supreme Court 1793
I’m going to start looking around for how I bound myself to human laws. As soon as I find that I will have located how I became amenable to the Courts of Justice. Notice? It is only “human laws” that we bind ourselves too.
I’ve been noticing that everywhere they ask for a signature they are asking for our consent.
I just noticed this from Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616, 631-2 - Supreme Court 1886:
“And any compulsory discovery by extorting the party's oath, or compelling the production of his private books and papers, to convict him of crime, or to forfeit his property, is contrary to the principles of a free government. It is abhorrent to the instincts of an Englishman; it is abhorrent to the instincts of an American. It may suit the purposes of despotic power; but it cannot abide the pure atmosphere of political liberty and personal freedom.”
I think extortion of a signature is of similar ilk. Wikipedia says about a signature that is proof of identity and intent; and that the traditional function of a signature is evidential: it is to give evidence of the intention (will) of an individual with regard to that document. Wikipedia points out that the role of a signature in many consumer contracts is not solely to provide evidence of the identity of the contracting party, but also to provide evidence of deliberation and informed consent.
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