Wednesday, December 15, 2010


By Sarah Foster
December 15, 2010

The Disappearing Preamble and the Forgotten Ninth

Today is Bill of Rights Day, a national civil holiday established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt through proclamation on Dec. 15, 1941. Considering his track record, FDR was certainly not someone you’d expect to honor to such a document and the principles it embodies, but it was after all the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and perhaps he was expected to go at least through the motions of paying his respects.

In just the past couple of years, since the Progressive Caucus in the Congress has been trying to ram though its agenda, there’s been a sudden upsurge of public interest in the Constitution and those basic amendments, particularly the Tenth. I hope this is not a passing phenomenon. But I would urge they take a look at another amendment, every bit as important as the Tenth, maybe more so – the Ninth, which reads:

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

It’s now routine for police, whose slogan is to “protect and serve,” to force their way into people’s homes without knocking, shooting the family pet (and sometimes the residents) along the way. At airports, federal agents are directed/allowed to run their hands over screaming toddlers (“let’s make it a game”) and peer at women’s naked bodies in technological peep shows – “for your safety.” FULL STORY


"The conventions of a number of 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." (emphasis added)

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