‘ll bet that I’ve been listening to debates and arguments about the meaning, nature and possible disabilities of the term “person” for 25 years. Even after all of that commotion, the meaning and implications of the word “person” is still not precisely clear to me.
However, last night I was reading the Bill of Rights and realized that the key to understanding the constitutional concept of “persons” might be found in the Fourth Amendment to The Constitution of the United States. That Amendment declares,
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Note that the “people” have “persons”. “Persons” are not “people’. Instead, “persons” are attributes or capacities of “people”. “People” are real and primary; “persons” are relational, derivative and/or secondary.
While it’s possible that each of the “people” has only one correlative “person,” I doubt that’s true.
The 4th Amendment implicitly allows that, as one of the “people,” I might have multiple “houses,” multiple “papers” and multiple “effects”–each and all of which are protected against “unreasonable searches and seizures”. It’s reasonable to suppose that I, and every other member of the “people,” can also have multiple “persons”.
Therefore, I strongly suspect that the 4th Amendment uses the word “persons” to describe the multitude of different “persons”/capacities in which each of the “people” sometimes act.
For example, as one of the people I might sometimes act in the “person” of an “employer” and other times act in the capacity/person of an “employee”. Other times I might act in the “person”/capacity of a creditor, borrower, sovereign, citizen, driver, passenger, suspect, witness, perpetrator, victim, subject, taxpayer, fiduciary, beneficiary, grantor, child, adult, parent, spouse, divorced spouse, grandparent, etc., etc. There might be hundreds, even thousands, of potential “persons”/capacities in which I might choose to act in at any particular time.
Thus, the 4th Amendment seems to say that no matter what “person” (capacity; relationship) I’m acting in at any particular time, so long as I am first and foremost one of the “people,” each and every one of my correlative “persons” is protected from “unreasonable search and seizure”.
However, if that conjecture were true, it also implies that if I fail to identify myself as one of the “people” (perhaps, one of the “people” of the several “United States” and/or of “The United States of America” and/or of one of the States of the Union), my seeming “persons” might not be protected by the 4th Amendment from what would otherwise be an “unreasonable search or seizure”.
Silly rabbit, the 4th Amendment’s protections are, ultimately, only for the “people“–not for fictions. Probably not for “US citizens” or “US persons”
• If you’ve followed this blog for any significant length of time, you know that I’ve exposed and explored those “man or other animal” laws that presume that you and I are not “men made in God’s image” who are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Instead the “man or other animals” (“MOOA”) laws, regulations and definitions implicitly declare or presume us all to be “animals“.
The word “people” does not include “animals”. So far as I know, “animals” do not normally have “persons”. But even if animals do have “persons,” those “animal-persons” may not be protected by the 4th Amendment which expressly protects only the “persons” of the “people” (who, by definition, do not include “animals”). I.e., as an “animal” you couldn’t be one of the “people“–and you and your apparent “persons” would not be protected by the 4th Amendment.
• It may be that you have a better explanation for the relationship between the “people” and their “persons,” but the important point of this article is that the 4th Amendment makes apparent the idea that each of the “people” may have multiple “persons“–and, conversely, that “persons” are attributes of, properties of, capacities of, anyone who is first and foremost, one of the “people“.