The Bill of Rights–Can It Survive?


From our earliest civics classes, we have been led to understand that the so-called Founding Fathers of this republic (there apparently were no Mothers) believed firmly in the principles now encased in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Federal Constitution. Nothing could be further removed from the truth. When George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia, complained during the debate on the supremacy clause that the proposed instrument contained “no declaration of any kind, for preserving the liberty of the press, or the trial by jury in civil [cases,] nor against the danger of standing armies in time of peace,” George Washington roundly condemned his neighbor and “erstwhile friend.” “To alarm the people seems to be the groundwork of his plan,” Washington wrote to Madison some time later.

Suggested Reading

"As a matter of principle, amending the Constitution to include sex equality as a fundamental human right will send a clear public message that women are no longer to be treated as second-class citizens."

The papers which follow grew out of a one-day conference entitled “The Supreme Court and Daily Life: Who Will the Court Protect in the 1990’s?” which was held on October 21, 1989. This event, co-sponsored by The Nation Institute and The