Not to be dissuaded

Earlier today, I made an observation: the use of commas and semicolons in the 5th Amendment of the U.S. constitution is internally inconsistent. That is, if the way we (courts, scholars, students with delusions of grandeur) currently read, and have for many years read, this Amendment was the intention of the Framers, they shouldn't have punctuated it the way they did. I'll have to quote it in full to illustrate:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The first clause, requiring grand jury indictments, is offset from the rest of the amendment by a semicolon (the one after "danger"). The second clause, forbidding double jeopardy, is offset by a semicolon (the one after "limb"). The third clause, forbidding compelled self-incrimination, is "offset" by a comma. This offsetting by comma, if one reads pedantically, means that the prohibition on self-incrimination would be read as only being disallowed without "due process of law." But the phrase due process of law is normally (and correctly) read as part of the fourth clause. So the punctuation is inconsistent, and creates a potential for misreading.

Immediately after making the above observation, I thought back to some vaguely remembered general complaints about the punctuation of the Constitution, but couldn't recall having ever heard the specifics of these complaint. And the fact that someone (even many someones) else has very likely thought of something in the past can't possibly be a reason not to post it on your blog after thinking of it independently.

Finally, googling for other instances of this observation, I found a couple. The first is by someone named William D. Gwinn. All I know about him is that he wrote the linked essay, making the same observation as above and then adding on a bunch of false and/or crazy claims. I'm glad to see that the author and I have so much in common. The second relevant hit for my search ("5th Amendment comma semicolon" (no quotes in original)) is a law review article by Thomas Y. Davies (.pdf) which discusses punctuation problems in state precursors to the 5th Amendment, but doesn't seem to mention the above inconsistency. I remain certain that many other people are aware of this problem and they have simply not made their awareness sufficiently googleable.

The Yankee game just ended, so next time I post I'll say something about opening day.