"The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects
from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the
reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal
principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty,
and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and
assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote;
they depend on the outcome of no elections."
Justice Robert H. Jackson
(1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 1943
Bookmark and Share  
Reader comments about this quote:
The founders argued over this. I see both sides. The people have all rights and privilages not specifically designated to the state. The bill of rights was argued to be a contradiction to that. If rights are listed for the people it could be infered that any thing not listed belonged to the state. Then it was possible that any unforseen right or privilage would be gobbled up by the state since it was not forbiden it in the bill of rights.
 -- Warren, olathe     
    He is right. Rotten politics and politicians should not be allowed to trample our innate rights.
     -- Darryl, Powder Springs GA     
    That is what the 9th and 10th amendments are all about. The Constitution is very clear that the government is an island of powers in a sea of rights. Powers not given to the government in the Constitution are not theirs to use. All natural (God given) rights are retained by the people. Only politicians interested in increasing their own power or statists/socialists/democrats can see it otherwise.
     -- helorat, Milton     
    The Bill of Rights grants no rights. Each amendment simply states that 'Congress shall make no law that abridges the right to ...' etc. That is to say the Bill of Rights is the Law by which Congress may pass laws. If Congress makes a law that the Bill of Rights specifically states it may NOT make, then the law is null and void -- it is null and void from its very onset. The problem is that there is no Constitutional review process that examines the laws and can certify that it is Constitutional before it comes to a vote. Most of the bills aren't even read by the Congress voting on them!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
     -- Anonymous, Eagle, ID      
    The government has no 'RIGHTS' but, duties and powers only.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Archer you are right about the review process problem. But a worse scenario would be to have some Tribunal to pass on every question of constitutionality ahead of time. In a free society like ours every question must be adjudicated. Like if you are undecided whether to shoot a person threatening you with violence you cannot stop and ask him to wait while the Tribunal decides. You must take your best shot (no pun intended) and then have your day in court. In some National Forest signs say that you cannot discharge a weapon unless it is an emergency, but they do not say what is or is not an emergency. Take your shot and if hauled in hope you get a good judge.
     -- Bruce, "bama     
    Would that this were the case. And EVERY new 'freedom' is tightly licensed and regulated by one or another level of government (Driver's Licenses, Pilot Licenses, Engineering Licenses, etc) precisely because they are not enumerated as "rights". Interesting that there is no "right" to abortion or housing or healthcare enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Some things the government runs hot and cold on it seems. One thing is certain, for every license that the government 'grants' it reserves the right to withhold the privelidge conveyed by the license. So we have a society in which parents that are deliquent in child support can lose their "privelidge" to drive (and hence earn a living and pay child support!) without significant review, or lose property because another individual will make "better" use of it.
     -- Eric Engstrom, Wichita, KS     
     -- sulema, orosi      
    I think that the judge did the right thing. In the United States your are able to choose your religion.
     -- jessica detwiler, argos,IN     
    Am I the only one who thinks that brining back slavery and enslaving all non white europeans will help this country? I'm not a racist but I think since the America we know today was founded by white Europeans, we should have the run of things. Blacks asians and especially latinos should either go back to their homeland or live here as slaves. Does anyone agree with me?
     -- Mark Deploy, Mobile, AL     
    No you are wrong because the white europeans did not even find America. They just basically stole it from people who did. They stole the lives and ancestry of millions by slavery. So white europeans are really the lesser race. They don't know how to do anything for themselves except take credit for what other people do.
     -- Stephanie, NY     
    I completely agree with what Justice Jackson. American are born with rights and although we live in a domocracy, the majority should not get to vote on those rights. If they did then slavery would still be legal because the majority would still want it. I wish this would also be applied to gay rights. Why should the majority get to decide what rights the gay minority get.
     -- Mayra, NY     
    Stephanie from NY-- You're a woman, so you are in no place to give me a history lesson. You're probably black also. I'm a proud white American man born and raised in Alabama, so shut your fucking mouth.
     -- Mark Deploy, Mobile, AL     
     -- person, new york     
    Mark Deploy, first of all because of white europeans is the reason many deseases exist today with your raping and pilaging of all other supposed "lesser races" oh yea and dont forget the beastiality you guys do with all kinds of animals.... now as to slavery that wouldnt work because of the simple fact that people have evolved and if you were to try that now a days a lot of bloodshed would occur and not on the minority part.... i for one dont wanna be anyones slave and if you want us to leave america then you "white europeans" should leave as well and give this country back to the native americans who were here before any of us were...
     -- Daniel, New York     
    The Supreme Court since 1954 seems to think that the 13th amendment completely erased the 10th amendment and that congress has the right to harass your Bill of Rights with the 16th amendment.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    Europeans did not steal any land from the Native Americans ... because Native Americans did not believe in land ownership.
    In fact before the Europeans ever set foot on what is now called America the various Native Americans fought amongst themselves and stole settled locations from one another.
    Stealing, taking, robbing,raping, killing and slavery took place amongst and between the Native Americans .. just as what has taken place between various races, tribes and people throughout history in all countries and all nations.
    Just as people have committed wrongs against each other for eons .. so have many great and wondrous things taken place because of and due to the founding of our Limited Government Republic that never would have come to fruition if America had never been founded.
     -- Mary - MI     
    I would also like to say that I've never seen such racist, hate mongering, immature, ignorant, unstudied and vulgar commentary as I've seen displayed on this Liberty Quotes posting by the likes of Mark Deploy, Mobile, AL., Mayra, NY, and Daniel, New York.

    Why is it that the really bad apples have to infiltrate the very educational and informative sites?
     -- Mary - MI     
  • 1
    @Mary, looking at the IP's of the posters in question, it looks like they are all from the NY area. I would say the post from Mark Deploy is classic troll-baiting. From 'Mobile, AL' hey who wants to bring back slavery? is clearly supposed to provoke. The four posts in question appeared weeks after each other -- not normal posting behaviour for this site. Nobody took the bait, which is not surprising for our regulars.

    Kind of cool to be a target of blatant political trolling. :-)
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
    Rate this quote!
    How many stars?

    What do YOU think?
    Your name:
    Your town:

    More Quotations
    Get a Quote-A-Day! Free!
    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box.
    RSS Subscribe
    Quotes & Quotations - Send This Quote to a Friend

    © 1998-2018 Liberty-Tree.ca