Tuesday, December 15, 2009

bill of rights day - december 15



the bill of rights was ratified 218 years ago today, on december 15, 1791. on the 150th anniversary, december 15, 1941, president roosevelt proclaimed the date the first "bill of rights" day. as a document that was originally intended to reign in the prospective abuses of individual liberties by the federal government, over the course of our constitutional history, the various amendments contained in the bill of rights have been made applicable to the states via the incorporation doctrine (sorry for the con law tangent).

my personal favorite - the first - contains the well worn proscription: "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...." ironically, in a twist of drafting fate, had the bill of rights been adopted, as drafted, we'd refer to this as our 3rd amendment rights! the first two amendments (that dealt with the number of representatives and their compensation) were not passed.

so take a moment today and dwell on the greatness of these straightforward protections (even if they've occasionally been abused and trampled upon over the course of history)!

know your rights!

1 comment:

Slomohusky said...

Thanks for the reminder. Ideals we live daily. Yet, most think very little of the historical/legal instrument which insures these ideals as daily rights.