published Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Birthday of the Bill of Rights

Today is an excellent occasion to reflect on the Bill of Rights -- the first 10 amendments to the marvelous Constitution of the United States of America. That's because it has been 220 years since the Bill of Rights took effect, on Dec. 15, 1791.

The Bill of Rights is key to our individual liberties, because it limits the power of the federal government. So it is worthwhile to offer a reminder of freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

n First Amendment: "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."

n Second Amendment: "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."

n Third Amendment: "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

n Fourth Amendment: "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."

n Fifth Amendment: "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 offense 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."

n Sixth Amendment: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

n Seventh Amendment: "In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

n Eighth Amendment: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

n Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

n Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Let's defend these vital liberties!

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librul said...

A Bill of Rights - how quaint!

As Robert Scheer says:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/there_goes_the_republic_20111214/

"The defense authorization bill that Congress passed and President Obama had threatened to veto will soon become law, a fact that should be met with public outrage. Human Rights Watch President Kenneth Roth, responding to Obama’s craven collapse on the bill’s most controversial provision, said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.

"...Sadly this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.

"That onerous provision of the defense budget bill, much discussed on the Internet but far less so in the mass media, assumes a permanent war against terrorism that extends the battlefield to our homeland. It reeks of a militarized state that threatens the foundations of our republican form of government.

"This is not only a disaster in the making for civil liberty but a blow to effective anti-terrorist police work. Recall that it was the FBI that was most effective in interrogating al-Qaida suspects before the military let loose the torturers. Under the newly approved legislation, that bypassing of civilian experts will be codified as a routine option for a president.

"We had every right to expect President Obama to stick to his word and veto this bill, not as a means of forcing a much needed bigger cut in government waste, but more urgently because its assault on the Constitution’s requirement of due process represents a direct threat to the freedom of the American people every bit as menacing as any we face from foreign enemies."

December 15, 2011 at 7:29 a.m.
conservative said...

The writer correctly noted that these Bill of Rights limited the power of the federal government and then concluded with a call to defend these rights. However, as the American people have become increasingly Lieberal this is no longer the case. The ACLU (Anti Christian Lawyers United) have guided sheep (sheep are dumb) into believing that Bible reading and prayer in public schools are unconstitutional. Yet this nonsense is easily refuted by simply reading the First Amendment! It is simply a prohibition against CONGRESS establishing a national religion similiar to that which the founders had experienced in England. It also prohibits CONGRESS from passing laws restricting the practice of one's religion. It is an unconstitutional LIE to say that Bible reading and prayer in public schools or any public place is unconstitutional!!! Don't let Lieberals make a sheep out of you.

December 15, 2011 at 9:17 a.m.
tipper said...

So where in the Constitution does it say that Christianity is the religion of choice for the U.S.? Is it your assumption that because many of the founding fathers were Christian that Christianity should be the religion of choice to be practiced in public and governmental settings. I would like to see the Torah read at public schools. Maybe the Koran. Maybe we could study the Bible as a book of riddles, or discuss the many theories of how it was writen or whether it is real at all. Maybe we can all fight to the bloody and bitter end to prove to each other who's right. Sort of a modern-day Crusades. Religion has no business in governing or government except in the minds and hearts of those who work to properly govern with tolerance. These culture wars were never foreseen or considered by our founding fathers when they wrote the Establishment Clause. They are fabrications of those who wish to relive or re-ignite the tyranny practiced by King George before our nation broke away from England. And the culture wars will never be won by either side. And rewriting acronyms and making up clever labels won't get you anywhere either.

December 15, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.
conservative said...

Tricker--

You could not refute what I wrote so you resorted to a strawman arguement. Almost daily there is a story in the mess media regarding some lie about someone violating the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. A cross, the Nativity Scene, posting of a Bible verse, the Ten Commandments, students engaged in Bible study or prayer etc in the great state of Tennessee is NOT an establishment of religion by CONGRESS. The First Amendment clearly states that "CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....." The prohibition is for CONGRESS and not for individuals, organizations or even states. You atheists, agnostics, and heathens, constantly invoke the free speech section of the First Amendment in defense and promotion of pornography that would even gag a maggot but want to remove every vestige of Christianity in our society. You liberals can't change the First Amendment the democratic way so have gotten the corrupt judges and ACLU ( Association of Crooked Lawyers United) to do your dirty work for you.

December 15, 2011 at 5:42 p.m.
librul said...

What an onerous troll you are, conservathug - the question does not revolve around preachers arresting citizens without charges and detaining them without trial or legal representation or being presented with the charges against them. Your interjection of such extraneous issues as prayer in school totally deflected the debate which is about America becoming a militarized police state as a result of the neutering of protection of our citizens' Bill of Rights. If you aren't capable of commenting on that issue because you're unconcerned with the possible negation of citizens' rights - go find a forum where your religionist ranting is more appropriate.

December 15, 2011 at 7:58 p.m.
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