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IPFS News Link • Bill of Rights

Honor Madison today for Bill of Rights

• Richard Labunski
In return for ratifying the original Constitution, which had no bill of rights, the new Congress would immediately propose amendments to protect individual liberty. Madison's adversaries opposed such amendments. They wanted Fed Power gone.

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Old Man
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Yes and No. "Yes," the government was limited and we shouldn't have needed the Bill of Rights and "No," the government couldn't be trusted and would usurp our rights.

The Bill of Rights didn't apply to the States and for the most part, all went according to State Constitutions for 150 years regarding the Bill of Rights because our rights were also protected in State Constitutions according to the people in each State's desire to protect or limit whatever rights they felt served society best. Even after the 14th Amendment, the State Constitution was the authority and only Congress could step in under the power of the 14th to correct injustice. For that first 150 years, the Court left things to the states even when they shouldn't.

For example, in 1875 when Congress, Constitutionally, under the power of the 14th banned segregation, the Court overruled them and we had segregation for another 80 years. All 50 states have God in their State Constitutions and we had State Religions until 1833 with at one time or another 12 of the 13 states having them and they were "Constitutional" under original intent which Jefferson said religon was a "state issue" that the federal government was banned from interfering in.

In 1833, even the U.S. Supreme Court in Barron vs. Baltimore ruled that the Bill of Rights didn't apply to state powers. Yet, few know of that ruling today or that for 150 years the Bill of Rights didn't apply to state powers. The intent was to limit federal power and that intent was honorable. But, now we have destroyed original intent and use what was a limit on federal power to "overpower" States who were constitutionally able to limit speech, and have religious relationships with government.

Read some of the State Constitutions where the "protestant" religion was the state religion or that you not only had to believe in God, but be a "protestant" to hold public office. They also limited the clergy from holding office while serving in that role. All were Constitutional as long as covered by the State Constitution because the Bill of Rights was not a limit on the State power "we the people" decided for ourselves in each state.

Thus, we had laws against public profanity, obscenity, adultery, homosexuality, vagrancy, lewd and lascivious behavior, nudity, fornication, etc. We still have 20 or so states today where adultery is illegal and they were all constitutional because each state had a Constitution to use to limit state power that "we the people" could amend in each state just as the states could amend the U.S. Constitution.

To debate the Bill of Rights and whether they have served us well or not, should not be the debate. It should be how do we return to the original intent of limiting the power of the Federal Government while preserving the right of "we the people" in each state to govern their own society.

Comment by Fascist Nation
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Patrick Henry said upon hearing that James Madison would be leading the Virginia deligation in the committee tasked with creating the new U.S. Constitution said, "I smell a rat!" How prescient.

Were Henry alive today, upon reading this "journalist's" screed, would undoubtedly repeat the above oath.