Happy birthday, Bill of Rights

Several years ago I penned this for the Review-Journal.

On this day in 1791 the Bill of Rights were ratified by three-fourths of the states. At the insistence of the Anti-Federalists led by Thomas Jefferson the first 10 amendments were added to the new Constitution.

They might more properly be called a Bill of Prohibitions, since they are not so much a delineation of rights as a list of things the federal government may not take away from individuals and the states and local governments.

Bill of Rights

This is our day to celebrate the First Amendment prohibition against establishing a state religion, despite odd rulings about nativity scenes and posting the Ten Commandments, and the right of free speech and press, despite McCain-Feingold limits on campaign spending and advertising. (Since somewhat overturned by Citizens United.)

This is our day to celebrate the Second Amendment, despite requirements to register handguns and other laws.

We celebrate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unlawful search and seizure, despite the Hiibel case in which Larry Hiibel was arrested for not giving his name to a Humbolt County deputy. (Not to mention civil asset forfeitures.)

There’s the Fifth’s protection against taking of property except for public purposes that was bounced by the Kelo decision that let government take property for private development.

As for the Sixth’s right to speedy and public trial? Forget it. No explanation needed.

The right to trial by jury according to the Seventh? Try that in traffic court, buddy.

No cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth’s prohibition. Lifetime sentences for possession of pot belie that one.

The Ninth’s and 10th’s guarantees that rights not delineated are prohibited to feds? Let’s see the states try to set the drinking age or voting age or speed limits.

There’s still the Third’s prohibition against housing troops in private homes. (Right?)

Happy birthday, Bill of Rights, long may you be respected.

A couple of years ago I ran across the Cato video below. As my ol’ Pappy used to say: Great minds travel in the same plane, while fools just think alike.

Actually, the Third is also suspect as I reported here. The courts have since ruled that cops are not soldiers. They sure look alike and are armed alike.

4 comments on “Happy birthday, Bill of Rights

  1. Athos says:

    Bill of Rights means nothing. We’re doomed. King Steve of Sissalick is grand master with Kammy Harris as our new President.

    Should have cleaned up the voter roles, fellas! Non citizens are not allowed to vote (unless the King says it’s ok!)

  2. Anonymous says:


    Its Biden time baby! I only hope that those things held dear by folks on the right are attacked immediately and without end.

    We ain’t playing by no Marquis of Queensbury rules no more and THANKFULLY the folks on the right that cheered the orange stain cleared the path and gave this the “OK” when he first wrested control.

    Let the games begin!

  3. Rincon says:

    I note that Athos’ comment is presented without evidence. The justice system seems to have decided that Trump’s claims of voter fraud are also without evidence. Nevertheless, even in the absence of meaningful evidence, I’m sure everyone here save 2 believe the vote was stolen. They also believe that over 50 lawsuits going nowhere and pressuring state legislatures to circumvent the electoral system for the sake of their party is not a witch hunt, but that 7 convictions of Trump’s close associates by the United States justice system is, so that pardons are in order. Go figure.

    But I would not get cocky, Anon. The Democrats probably failed to win a Senate majority, lost seats in the House, and barely squeaked through their candidate for President. A very large number of Americans object to the Dems’ message so much that they voted for the weakest Presidential candidate in memory as well as the craven herd of Republicans that followed him unquestioningly for almost 4 years. The radicals are in control of both parties, to the detriment of this great country.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You’re correct of course Rincon but if after 4 years of listen to Athos howl in glee at every tyrannical move the orange stain made I can’t revel in the Biden landslide a little what fun is the win?

    Especially because as we both know, Biden is a just ever so slightly right of center American who honestly believes the right isn’t out to get him.

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