Today Is National Bill Of Rights Day. Now, More Than Ever, We Need To Remember.
“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 theÂ right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In 1941, Democratic President Franklin D. RooseveltÂ declared December 15 to beÂ Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. In the presentÂ climate of political repression in which we find ourselves, the importance ofÂ the first ten amendments to our constitution deserves to be recognized.
During the debates on the adoption of theÂ Constitution, opponents repeatedly charged that as drafted the Constitution would open the way to tyranny by the central government.
Remembering the violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution, the Founding FathersÂ demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out protections forÂ individual citizens. Several state conventions in their ratification of theÂ Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution withÂ the understanding that the amendments would be offered.
James Madison originally introduced the amendments to the first United States Congress as a series of legislativeÂ articles. Prior to his proposing the amendments, MadisonÂ acknowledged there was discontent with the Constitution as written:
â€œI believeÂ that the great mass of the people who opposed disliked it because it did notÂ contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights, andÂ those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposedÂ between them and the magistrate who exercised the sovereign power: nor ought weÂ to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow citizens think theseÂ securities necessary.â€
The Bill of Rights was adopted by the House of Representatives onÂ August 21, 1789, formally proposed by joint resolution of Congress on SeptemberÂ 25, 1789, and upon ratification by three quarters of the States, came intoÂ effect as Constitutional Amendments on December 15, 1791. While twelve
amendments were passed by Congress, only the ten we callÂ The Bill of Rights, were originally passed by the states. Of theÂ remaining two, one was adopted asÂ the Twenty-seventh AmendmentÂ and the other still technically remains pending before the states.
The Bill of RightsÂ originally only included legal protection for land-owning white men; it excluded African Americans and women. It tookÂ additional Amendments and decisions by the Supreme Court to extend the sameÂ rights to all U.S. citizens.
The FirstÂ Amendment is especially referenced these days; most often because of recentÂ attempts to bring religion into the political discussion or to curb freedom ofÂ speech and the press and peaceable assembly. As we observe the sometimesÂ successful attempts to insert religious belief into school curricula and the excessesÂ of police brutality; pepper-spraying, tear-gassing and arrests of peacefulÂ protestors and the prevention of the press from photographing the incidents,Â the importance of The First Amendment is especially apparent.
Congress OF THE United States
held at the City of New York, on Wednesday
the Fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of
the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a
desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that
further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending
the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the
beneficent ends of its institution
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two
thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to
the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of
the United States, all or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths
of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of
the said Constitution; viz.:
ARTICLES in addition to, and
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by
Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to
the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual
enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to
deny or disparage others retained by the people.
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.
Upon ratification by three quarters of the States, these ten articles came into
effect as Constitutional Amendments on December 15, 1791 and are known as The Bill of Rights.
Stuart WilberÂ believes that living life openly as a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or
Allied person is the most powerful kind of activism. Shortly after meeting hisÂ partner in Chicago in 1977, he opened a gallery named In a Plain Brown Wrapper,Â where he exhibited cutting edge work by leading artists; art that dealt withÂ sexuality and gender identification. In the late 1980â€™s when they moved to SanÂ Clemente, CAÂ in Orange County, life as an openly gay couple became a political act. TheyÂ moved to Seattle 16 years ago and married in Canada a few weeks after BritishÂ Columbia legalized same-â€‹sex marriage. Although legally married in someÂ countries, they are only considered domestic partners in Washington State.Â Equality continues to elude him.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Lindsey Graham Admonished by Senate Ethics Committee
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been formally admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for violating ethics rules and standards by repeatedly soliciting campaign donations during an interview at the Capitol.
The bipartisan committee issued Graham a Public Letter of Admonition after the South Carolina Republican solicited donations for Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker.
“Based upon all available information, the Committee concluded that on November 30, 2022, you conducted a media interview with Fox News in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and that your interview was slightly over nine minutes, with over four minutes devoted to a discussion of the 2022 senatorial run-off election in Georgia. The Committee further concluded that during your discussion of the senatorial run-off election, you directly solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Mr. Walker’s campaign committee, www.teamherschel.com, five separate times.”
The letter notes that Sen. Graham had previously violated the same standards when he solicited campaign donations in a federal building in October of 2020, but said it was an “unplanned media interview.” When a reporter had asked him about fundraising, Graham “directly solicited campaign contributions” for his re-election campaign.
READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
The Committee noted “mitigating” circumstances and did not cite him for that violation.
“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity,” the letter concludes. “Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished.”
CNN’s Manu Raju posted the letter to social media.
You can read the letter below or at this link.
In a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee admonished him for soliciting campaign contributions five times during a media interview in the Russell Senate office building. It is against Senate rules to solicit campaign donations on Capitol grounds pic.twitter.com/amc5ipcosw
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 23, 2023
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.
“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”
“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.
After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”
READ MORE: ‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation
Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”
Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.
“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) on gun reform protests: “Is this an insurrection? Will they be held to the same —”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but … they’re trying to express their frustrations.” pic.twitter.com/SFrMId1fh3
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.
“You took my son away from me!”
— Parkland parents Patricia and Manuel Oliver are removed after interrupting a House hearing on Second Amendment protections pic.twitter.com/Bjjoq9k93W
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”
Video of Manuel and Patrica Oliver being removed from the hearing at direction of GOP Chair Rep. Pat Fallon
Both appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers: https://t.co/ZebugeU98Z pic.twitter.com/zdpfPGHjDn
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) March 23, 2023
“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.
READ MORE: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.
“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.
According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.
Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”
And one called Fallon “feckless.”
‘Repercussions’: Biden White House Warns Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Could Force US to Cancel $950 Million in Annual Aid
The Biden administration may cancel the $950 million in annual assistance the U.S. provides to Uganda if President Yoweri Museveni signs into law its latest “Kill the Gays” bill, which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and between ten and 20 years in prison for other LGBTQ “acts.”
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Wednesday made clear if Uganda further criminalizes homosexuality and the LGBTQ community there could be “repercussions that we would have to take.”
“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance,” Admiral Kirby said at a White House press briefing.
National Security Council’s John Kirby suggests the U.S. would consider economic punishments if Uganda’s law criminalizing LGBTQ people goes into effect:
“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance.” pic.twitter.com/hWrRrHqd6q
— The Recount (@therecount) March 22, 2023
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also told reporters Wednesday the Biden administration has “grave concerns” over the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), and “increasing violence targeting LGBTQIA+ persons.”
READ MORE: Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case
“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and invest in Uganda and damage Uganda’s international reputation,” Jean-Pierre warned. “The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.”
WH Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre denounces the Ugandan parliament’s passage of a bill criminalizing LGBTQ people:
“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights … The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.” pic.twitter.com/WSzCY5Vlq4
— The Recount (@therecount) March 22, 2023
Kirby and Jean-Pierre’s remarks came on the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation, saying it “would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”
“The United States provides more than $950 million in aid to Uganda each year, according to the State Department. The money supports development and health care measures, such as combating HIV/AIDS,” Courthouse News reported Wednesday. “Uganda is already among 30 African countries that ban same-sex relations. The new proposal would broaden penalties and appears to be the first to outlaw identifying as LGBTQ+, according to Human Rights Watch.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
- News2 days ago
Jim Jordan’s Attack on Manhattan DA Will ‘Backfire’ and Allow Democrats to Expose Coordination With Trump: Columnist
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM3 days ago
Powerful GOP Committee Chair Admits He Can’t Control Marjorie Taylor Greene
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘Complete Dog Whistle’: Experts Say Trump Sending Coded Message to Far-Right With Location of Next Rally
- 'UNPRECEDENTED'16 hours ago
‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation
- News2 days ago
Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘Chilling’: Law Enforcement ‘Seriously’ Investigating Threats Ahead of Possible Trump Indictment Says Top WaPo Reporter
- RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM2 days ago
US Secretary of State Denounces Uganda’s New ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill
- News3 days ago
‘Like Al Capone Complaining About Organized Crime’: Jim Jordan Slammed for Demanding Manhattan DA Testify