Judge Andrew Napolitano

What does freedom have to do with rising from the dead?

When America was in its infancy and struggling to find a culture and frustrated at governance from Great Britain, the word most frequently uttered in speeches and pamphlets and letters was not safety or taxes or peace; it was freedom.

Two acts of Parliament broke the bonds with the mother country irreparably. The first was the Stamp Act, which was enforced by British soldiers writing their own search warrants and rummaging through the personal possessions of colonists looking to see whether they had purchased the government's stamps. The second was the imposition of a tax to pay for the Church of England, which the colonists were forced to pay, no matter their religious beliefs.

The Stamp Act assaulted the right to be left alone in the home, and the tax for the Church of England assaulted the freedom to choose to support one's own means of worship. The two taxes together caused many colonists to realize they needed to secede from England and form their own country in which freedom would be protected by the government, not assaulted by it.

Today it seems the power of the government continues to expand and the freedom of the individual continues to shrink. The loss of freedom comes in many forms. Sometimes it is direct and profound, as when the government stops you from doing what you formerly had the freedom to do -- like choose your own doctor and your own health care insurance or choose not to have health care insurance. Sometimes it is more subtle -- like when the government prints money to pay its bills and, as a result, all the money you already have loses much of its value. And sometimes the government steals freedom without you knowing it -- like when federal agents write their own search warrants, authorizing themselves to learn of your computer use or medical or banking records; and they never tell you what they've done.

Freedom is the ability of every person to exercise his own free will, rather than be subject to the will of someone else. Free will is the essence of humanity, and humanity is God's greatest gift. When the government affirmatively takes away freedom, the government violates the natural law; it prevents us from having and utilizing the means to the truth. Your moral ability to exercise your free will to seek the truth is your natural right, and the government may only morally interfere with the exercise of that right when you have used fraud or force to interfere with the exercise of someone else's natural rights.


Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995, during which time he presided over 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings and hearings. He taught constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years, and he returned to private practice in 1995. Judge Napolitano began television work in the same year.