1A and 2A: the same high standard?

There is a lot of talk about how the Second Amendment might or might not be referring to a militia. From there, the discussion may go towards what the word "militia" meant then, or now, or whether the first part of the amendment affects the second part, and other issues not related to human rights.

How about this one: let's use the same standard, whatever that might be, to compare it to the amendment right next to it.

Since I get to go first, I will pick the First Amendment.

If I am talking about Freedom of the Press, and I quote the First Amendment, you tell me where the part about Free Speech stops and the part about the Press starts:

<blockquote>Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.</blockquote>

If you take out the opening part, in the way that seems obvious, reducing the sentence, you get something like "Congress shall make no law respecting... abridging the freedom... of the press." Can we agree that that is what they were saying back then? Does the meaning of that sentence have anything to do with what we mean today when we say "establishment of religion"? Does it matter at all if religion now includes atheism, for example? No. The point here is <strong>Congress shall make no law.</strong>

This seems like the introductory phrase in the Second Amendment doesn't much matter either, except to set up the main point of the sentence:

<blockquote>A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.</blockquote>

The point of this sentence is, after all, that <strong>the right of the people... shall not be infringed.</strong>

That is what civil rights is all about, after all. The right of the people shall not be infringed. And that is a good reason for the Constitution to begin with the three words with which it does begin, just to be clear.

Those three words are written extra large here, so everyone knows who this document is of, by, and for.

<img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/19/Constitution_Pg...