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Bill of Rights Day … RIP

I have mentioned this before, but The Rutherford Institute, who I quote below, is FAR MORE EXPERT than I.

First I give you The Bill of Rights (from TheBillOfRightsInstitute) without which our Constitution would not have been ratified. That means it is an integral part thereof.

Liberty is only ours if we insist on it.
We are looking a bit weak right now.
Do your part to correct that.


Bill of Rights of the United States of America (1791)

Download a PDF of the Bill of Rights

Click for free Documents of Freedom lesson on the Bill of Rights

Click for free Voices of History lesson on the Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. James Madison wrote the amendments, which list specific prohibitions on governmental power, in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties. For example, the Founders saw the ability to speak and worship freely as a natural right protected by the First Amendment. Congress is prohibited from making laws establishing religion or abridging freedom of speech. The Fourth Amendment safeguards citizens’ right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion in their homes through the requirement of a warrant.

The Bill of Rights was strongly influenced by the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason. Other precursors include English documents such as the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights, and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties.

One of the many points of contention between Federalists, who advocated a strong national government, and Anti-Federalists, who wanted power to remain with state and local governments, was the Constitution’s lack of a bill of rights that would place specific limits on government power. Federalists argued that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty.

Madison, then a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, altered the Constitution’s text where he thought appropriate. However, several representatives, led by Roger Sherman, objected, saying that Congress had no authority to change the wording of the Constitution. Therefore, Madison’s changes were presented as a list of amendments that would follow Article VII.

The House approved 17 amendments. Of these, the Senate approved 12, which were sent to the states for approval in August 1789. Ten amendments were approved (or ratified). Virginia’s legislature was the final state legislature to ratify the amendments, approving them on December 15, 1791.


The Bill of Rights – Full Text

Amendment I

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.

In the News

BRI Resources

What is the Significance of the Free Exercise Clause? 

How has Speech Been Both Limited and Expanded, and How Does it Apply to You and Your School? 

Amendment II

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.

In the News

BRI Resources

What are the Origins and Interpretations of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms? 

Amendment III

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.

In the News

Amendment IV

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.

In the News

BRI Resources

Liberty and Security in Modern Times

Amendment V

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.

In the News

BRI Resources

How Does the Fifth Amendment Protect Property? 

Amendment VI

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.

In the News

BRI Resources

Gideon v. Wainwright

Amendment VII

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 reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

In the News

BRI Resources

Due Process of Law 

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

In the News

BRI Resources

How Do Due Process Protections for the Accused Protect Us All?

Amendment IX

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

In the News

BRI Resources

What is the Scope of the Bill of Rights?

Amendment X

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.

In the News

BRI Resources

State and Local Governments


Be warned: the U.S. government is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot.

From The Rutherford Institute

Here is what the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, really stands for today:

  • First Amendment: You can be persecuted for criticizing the government; prosecuted for reporting on government wrongdoing; fined and jailed for exercising your religious beliefs; tear-gassed, beaten and arrested for protesting in public; and stymied in your efforts to hold the government accountable to the rule of law.
  • Second Amendment: Owning a gun can get you put on a government watch list. 
  • Third Amendment: Militarized police now serve as a standing army on American soil.
  • Fourth Amendment: Has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers, the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors, asset forfeiture schemes, and technological advances that allow the government to spy on Americans’ activities, movements and communications. 
  • The Fifth and Sixth Amendments: If the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.
  • Seventh Amendment: Juries ignorant of the Constitution provide little protection against injustice. 
  • Eighth Amendment: The government’s bar for “cruel and unusual” punishment slips lower every year. 
  • Ninth Amendment: The power to govern no longer flows upward from the people. 
  • Tenth Amendment: A system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite.

Clearly, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.
The Rutherford Institute is working hard to make the government play by the rules of the Constitution, but we can’t do it alone. Your support keeps us in the courtroom, in front of the legislatures, and on the front lines of the fight for freedom.
Donate before December and your donations can go twice as far to help us meeting this year’s special, year-end matching gift challenge.
Together, we will make America free again.
For freedom,
John W. Whitehead
P.S. To make a tax-deductible donation to The Rutherford Institute, click the link below, visit us online at using PayPalcall in your donation to 800-225-1791, or mail your donation to our headquarters at PO Box 7482, Charlottesville, VA 22906.

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