Key and Operative Words

READ our Bill of Rights and Constitution - the key and operative words in both are SHALL and SHALL NOT - and no amount of legal twisting and hand-wringing should be tolerated as an attempt to change or modify them. Any fee demanded at any government level to exercise them is a direct infringement, and a TAX as well. One way southern Democrats kept down blacks during the Jim Crow years was the poll tax, along with literacy tests, and our federal government let them get away with it for decades. FYI


Do you believe that shall means will, and shall not means will not?

1 Like

P.S. - A good example of how constructive and positive our legal system works at times is presented in the TV film, “Gideon’s Trumpet” - starring Henry Fonda- which guaranteed our right to legal counsel, whether affordable or not. FYI

They’re interchangeable, and etched in stone, not just printed on paper. I remember a report that Obama had been overheard lamenting how limited his authority was, even when he was issuing his damned executive orders to get over on us.

1 Like

That single word is one of the reasons there is so much strife over this (and plenty of other) topics. One meaning is will, but another, perhaps more commonly used “back in the day” is may. Even if people agreed it meant will, that isn’t the same as must. It is a bit of a sticky wicket. (A favorite example of this is Lord of the Rings and Thou shall not pass.)

Not correct in regard to rights. This is what I have found at this site:

Indicating that one will as opposed to being permissible (will vs. may.)

As used in statutes and similar instruments, this word is generally imperative or mandatory; but it may be construed as merely permissive or directory, (as equivalent to “may,”) to carry out the legislative intention and in cases where no right or benefit to any one depends on its being taken in the imperative sense, and where no public or private right is impaired by its interpretation in the other sense. Also, as against the government, “shall” is to be construed as “may,” unless a contrary intention is manifest.

Also, from this site:

“Shall” has three strikes against it.

First, lawyers regularly misuse it to mean something other than “has a duty to.” It has become so corrupted by misuse that it has no firm meaning.

Second—and related to the first—it breeds litigation. There are 76 pages in “Words and Phrases” (a legal reference) that summarize hundreds of cases interpreting “shall.”

Third, nobody uses “shall” in common speech. It’s one more example of unnecessary lawyer talk. Nobody says, “You shall finish the project in a week.”

For all these reasons, “must” is a better choice, and the change has already started to take place. The new Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, for instance, use “must,” not “shall.”

Prof. Joe Kimble, Thomas Cooley Law School

See…it is sticky already. Even if “will” is agreed on, will is not must.

(I read shall as must in this and related docs, but I’m simply pointing out that everyone won’t.)

1 Like

There is a huge difference.

1 Like

Those unwilling to learn grammar and legal terminology will never understand, and that makes their opinion irrelevant. That would be like taking ethical advise from a felon on whether or not theft is wrong.

Absolutely not…so long as Americans vote. That’s just it.

Not true. Our Constitution cannot be changed because some idiot does not know the language. That is what we are fighting, ignorance, stupidity and misinformation. I will not sit back and let idiots decide whether or not the sky is blue (which, technically, it is not).


Put Bill CIinton on it…

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the – if he – if ‘is’ means is and never has been that is not – that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.”

1 Like

i’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that the people who vote don’t know (much of anything).

And those are the ones you want deciding what your rights are? Aside from that, the Founding Fathers were quite clear in their words and intent, and expounded on that in many speeches and writings that are available, even online, to read and learn from.