tv Akhil Reed Amar Discusses The Constitution Today CSPAN February 24, 2017 4:45am-5:50am EST
>> the final panel of bill of rights day. hooray, happy 25th birthday to the bill of rights printing jeffrey rosen the president of this one of visitation. for those of us joining us for the first time that national constitution center is the only institution in america charted by congress disseminate information about the u.s. constitution on a nonpartisan basis and it is so exciting on december 152016 to 225th anniversary of the bill of rights to share with you our national constitution center audience and with c-span and america, america's greatest teacher of bill of rights akhil reed amar. [applause] >> this is such a treat for me. if you've been here before you know akhil was my teacher in law school. he is the man who kindled my passion for the constitution. there is no greater teacher in
america about the sources of the constitution, the principles that animated it and the necessity of translating it into a very different world. what i want to do in our time together is to use this precious hour to see what akhil wants to teach you and to teach us about the bill of rights. let's review the basics and find out all the fundamental principles that we need to remember to educate ourselves on this 225th anniversary. his beautiful new book "the constitution today" timeless lessons for the issues of our era. i have read it and i have lurked it or something. and what this wonderful book does is it is the constitution on deadlines. akhil and i'm not using the words advisedly he's america's greatest teacher on the constitution and in addition to that he is also a constitutional journalist and the road all
these great pieces over the years and decades for the new republic, slate,. publications and he collected them kind of like the federalist papers so he could see in real-time how the timeless principles of the constitution and bill of rights were being played out in the news. he just integrates them in this great way and one thing you get from this book is akhil's incredible contribution to the methodology of constitutional interpretation so i want to jump into our conversation and a second but akhil in it addition to being the great teacher of the constitution is the greatest that some would call the textual progressive originalist. what akhil it is to it insist the history of the constitution and the bill of rights can lead to progressive as well as conservative and libertarian results. it's a nonpartisan principled version that inspired a whole generation of lawsuits including
me to learn about the history of the constitution and apply it to modern circumstances. we will talk about the book but i think it's important to start with the bill of rights. welcome home to the national constitution center and why did madison originally resists the bill of rights? >> this is home so thank you very much for having me back. i remember when this was just an idea at this amazing center and now has three dimensions. it is a great space to study not just the original constitution but the amendments because without the amendments i am not sure that we could all celebrate this today black-and-white, male and female, jewish and gentile to the extent that we can today. the framers, great though they were were right across the mall
here at independence hall, or -- great though they were they were people of their era and they weren't perfect. one way of thinking about the amendments is making up a man's for some of their lapses and even sense. that making of the men's begins with these amendments with what we call the bill of rights even though it does not appear in the constitution. it was -- it begins with james madison who opposed the idea of the bill of rights at philadelphia in the last week really of their deliberations in september and i will tell you
why he opposed it and he largely opposed the bill of rights emphatically during the ratification process and yet he's the person who really spearheaded these first set of amendments will recall the bill of rights in the first congress. without their relentless championing of this idea that he originally reject it and publicly pooh-poohed and later you see he championed it did without that tidbit on his part i'm not sure there would he a bill of rights and i don't think it would look quite like it does. so first why did he have posted in philadelphia? i will tell you my actual view because sometimes people aren't even only conscious of their motivations. people are complex. my readings of prince of old
arguments, the problem is the principled arguments don't make sense if they don't conjure didn't each other. i don't birddogger didn't bite you and you didn't bite you firstrade that's the triple dog bite defense. a bill of rights is an unnecessary thing and by the way that's actually what matters. the bill of rights is a bad and dangerous thing and there are ready is a bill of rights. when you say all three, so what's up? when late in philadelphia george mason has been the originator of america's first bill of rights the virginia declaration of rights which took shape even before the declaration of independence in june of 1776. george mason was the father of
the state constitutional declaration and he's in philadelphia. you will remember that he's one of three people who doesn't sign thing so and signers hall he will see him and edmund randolph standing apart but in mid-september, early september he proposes a bill of rights and he is going to want to compose it and be the main drafter as he was and virginia and without a lot of deliberation. here is in my view what's going on. they are hot, they are homesick. they just want to go home so they are not thinking. george mason says here's what they're thinking and it's not on the pages. yet he says and i'm going to take a day or something but this is going to be another two weeks. it's a pain and we want to go home.
why do i say it that way? if they had really good reasons for resisting this, then the decision eventually turns out the bill of rights was a mistake. madison can be right in go adelphia right two years later when he pushes it forward. are you lying now or were you lying then because you are telling a different story and i want to tell the story which madison moves in the correct direction. his original reasons for resisting were so well thought through and they don't make sense at -- analytically but was make sense the constitution doesn't come from 39 people. the constitution comes from we the people of the united states. the real ratification process that year process in which up-and-down a continent ordinary people are being invited to
debate and ultimately to vote on whether they are going to vote yes we want this document or know we reject it. that's a whole continent voting on the constitution and the first thing when it leaves a small close secret room in philadelphia the first thing that people say is dudes, where other rights? why would they say back? this constitution isn't the first that america has adopted. we have had state constitutions beginning with the virginia constitution and it has a declaration of rights in the massachusetts declaration had declaration of rights and the new hampshire constitution had the declaration of rights of the first thing ordinary people say is you forgot the rights. and the framers are kind of defensive about this because they did forget it. they actually resist and they
try to make some arguments that are dangerous and oh by the way it doesn't make sense. eventually they pivot and madison was a huge part of that tidbit and is a two-part tidbit. first, during the ratification process a bunch of federal essay you know what let's adopt the constitution and than we can add a bill of rights because one of the great things about the constitution is a commendable. it's easier to amend than the articles of confederation. the articles of can federation can't be changed. you can't get 13 to make -- to say no. you know that just from life there's always one and so if we stick with it and vote this thing down we are stuck and we will never be able to move forward predicted vote yes on this than we can amend it to article i.
we only need two-thirds of the house, two-thirds of the senate-3/4 of the state legislatures and family can approve it. a bunch of federal essay if you guys vote yes we promise that we will work with you to think about it the madison doesn't quite go that far but he's beginning to move in that direction. the second part because madison is in done. the constitution has been ratified. remember it is proposed in 1787 and now it's a year later september 1788. north carolina and -- only 11 states and the new union but madison isn't done to the constitution has been ratified but you don't have north carolina and rhode island. they had a whole bunch of american patriots to vote against the constitution. it was a very closely contested ratification in massachusetts
come in virginia, in new york, in new hampshire. very closely contested. two states voted down north carolina and rhode island and madison says he's got to make the system work. how is he going to make it works? he's got to get elected to congress that he can begin to implement this thing. now he has to win the congressional election and in that congressional infection he basic he has to promise his constituents that he will support a bill of rights. if he doesn't have it and basically say you know i was skeptical but now i'm persuaded it's a good idea. he's not going to get elected to congress. he gets elected on a platform that he will push and defeats james monroe. now in order to be an honest person he has to carry out his
promise and get all these people of good faith who voted against the constitution and get americans and bring them onboard let's get them to buy into it. it's not a bad idea. this will give them a sense of co-author shipping company ownership of the project to bring them onboard. they worked in philadelphia and we need to bring north carolina and rhode island back in the union and maybe the reasons for voting the constitution down our stupid but we need to give them political cover so they can reverse themselves. we need to be magnanimous in victory so when we give them the bill of rights they can say now i can change my mind. you see they are feeling bitter. how do you bring them back on board? madison for several reasons is pushing the bill of rights because he made a campaign
promise to do it and because he wants to get all the people in the state that are in the union on to team constitution and he wants to get arth carolina and rhode island back into a reunion with the other states. why didn't they do it in philadelphia? because they were tired. happen to small groups of elites ben franklin and george washington, a small group of people is not as wise as the american people generally. that's what you believe if you are small t democrat. i'm a small t democrat. i believe there is wisdom and people in the ratification process were wiser than the 39 people who are basically hot and tired. >> i hear you saying stupid and tired. would you vote for that?
a positive i now understand that akhil said it's unnecessary for the constitution itself dangerous if the right is not written down is not protected and these folks wanted to get out of town. some madison tibbets. >> those were good arguments to have a bill of rights and since you mentioned one of the reasons is it's dangerous because if you itemize abc and d maybe you are implying those are the only right and you don't have rights to edf ng because you don't say you are right to raise your kid or a right to wear a hat or play the fiddle to have a pet dog. we can only specify so much and if you specify so much jay that's going to be dangerous because we are implying -- it's not a great argument because states are to have those of rights and is not a great argument but madison now needs
for himself give coverage to the federal essay drafts and ninth amendment that says the enumeration of certain rights in the bill of rights means that there are not others and just as he is giving political cover to the critics of the constitution he has to give political cover to people like himself who oppose this so it really is someone who actually is in a sophisticated way trying to get everyone to work together. which is maybe a lesson for us all today you know. we are at a deeply divided country right now. >> we are but we are united by this beautiful bill of rights and we are going to talk about how madison chose the route that he did. one or two may have seemed a thrilling plug the thrilling interactive constitution which you can get the app store and it comes from the center.org. one thing this beautiful
educational platform does is studying with akhil in law school long ago. he said go to the state constitution and study what rights they had. this was a long time ago in 1990 or so and it was a 2-volume set by schwartz. he had to read the book so i thought that the constitution center lets put them on line and you can now click on any part of bill of rights and see all of those antecedents in the revolutionary areas he can see the amendments that matter that were not adopted. i want to start with those. they were so important. there were at least five of them in two ended up eating part of the original 12 which we talked about this morning. the original first amendment which says one representative congress for every 30,000 inhabitants. one is that congress can't raise the salary without an intervening election becomes the
27th amendment in 1992 but there's an amendment that madison thinks is the most important in the bunch from infringing the fundamental rights of trial by jury and freedom of the press and you can find that in a draft of the constitution. why did madison consider that the most important and to the ones that were not ratified? >> madison believes that actually the greatest threat to liberty especially minority liberty, liberty of the outsider , the greatest threats are posed perhaps in the most democratic governments closest to the citizenry of the state government. in any individual state there might be for example one religious group that has a clear majority and it's going to be tempted to tear a nice over the minority religious group.
and his vision of it is influenced very much by his religion but in the united states as a whole since, and i have to speak very carefully here because we are in c-span so many different sects. that's a plural. >> we are having a new program on sex in the constitution but that's another program. >> so many different religious groups, baptists and quakers and congregationalists and anglicans so in any given locality one of these groups might the dominant and tempted to tyrannize over the other but in america as a whole no one given religious denomination was going to have that majority are in power. every denomination in a nation as a whole was a minority of sorts. madison thought actually a right
might be more secure against the federal government, the larger government against individual states. the statement of that view is madison's federalist 10. if you believe that you leave the states are a greater threat to liberty than the federal government. the federal government there are fewer federal representatives and you are less likely to know them personally so the conventional dairy is the mockeries are -- democracies are protected by their very nature and you are more likely to know your state governor who who comes back every weekend. madison thought actually does more distant aloof elitist government will be better at detecting my minority rights. if you state that you think okay it's important to have rights against the federal government
does the skeptics of the constitution want that and the people have seen state declarations of rights so they think a proper government should have them but as important as all that is i james mattis and believe it's even more port and to have rights against state government a status that no state shall abridge the following fundamental rights. the most of the other things that become provisions of the bill of rights most of them were proposed at state ratifying conventions in massachusetts and new hampshire, in new york and virginia especially. much of what he does is to take all the state ratification proposals which are basically yes we have ratified with your basic amendments were proposing. he comes to that list. he is a compiler.
he goes through them and he sees which ones are especially prominent in the state constitution anti-basically just when is that list. you think state constitutions and they ratification proposals as his first cut. he more than anyone else puts himself into the picture as this idea that we are going to have at least one amendment provide for rights against state government and it passes the house of representatives but not surprisingly it fails in the senate which remember is the body at that time elected by state legislatures and this is an amendment that would limit state government and state legislatures so they say no. it doesn't get two-thirds of the senate and it's not going to be until after the civil war that we get a madison like amendment that basically says no state
shall. remember the first amendment begins congress shall make no law and it's how the bill of rights ends with the 10th amendment confirming rights of states and localities. original bill of rights limiting the federal government madison wants rights against states and he doesn't get, he fails in but he is eventually proven right. if the states do misbehave and they behave so greatly that eventually there's a civil war precipitated by behavior and the aftermath of that another amendment is adopted that does actually say, no state and what it says is knows they shall make or enforced in a law that shall endorse the privileges or immunities. what are those privileges? things like conscience in
exercise of religion freedom of expression jury trial etc. etc. things in the bill of the rights fundamental rights. the prototype of that 14th amendment is madison's original amendment which interestingly enough was 14th on the list of amendments that passed the first house of representatives. >> you heard what akhil said that the original bill of rights buys congress that there are certain rights that are so important that there got a nature not government. >> i'm not sure juries come from god or nature. their man-made and all sorts of rules about trials. the right of counsel is an important one for customary. >> to natural rights speech and conscience in one customary one but madison clearly leaves and
natural rights because two other amendments to propose that were not adopted talk about thatcher writes that the first one to take a paraphrase this saying people are born with unalienable rights and when they move to civil society they retained the alienable natural rights to assert a greater safety and another amendment says the legislature can't get the executive and the executive can't beat the legislature and the separation of powers. tell us about madison and the framers vision of national rights and that they knew what these rights were and the run reason they stop -- thought the bill of rights was secure but unnecessary. >> i'm smiling because a lot of what i know but natural rights i learned from one of my great teachers whose name is jeff rosen who was my student.
he wrote a really great paper and published it in the law journal that reflected in part on the theory of natural and inalienable rights in the first he studied. he studied the state constitutional backdrop and antecedents of the federal bill of rights. if you are a natural rights theorists and save rights come from the creator and the declaration of independence says we hold these trees to be self-evident and all men are created equally and to doubt by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, maybe not property. maybe properties. by man. maybe not. there are debates about that but
maybe the first thing and it is given by the creator and its an alienable because it's not just a right. you can't give it up even if you want to. what is on a level mean? you can't trade away and you can't sell it. the greatest is conscience and god in this view has endowed humanity meaning all humans with conscience. and you can't give that up even if you wanted to because you can't turn yourself into an animal. what means to be human being is to be able to think for yourself and figure out what is right and what is wrong and that the people can't tell you that you have to figure that out for yourself to get other people can't speak for you. other people can't sleep for you. other people can't for you.
there certain things that only you can do for yourself. they are inalienable and one of them is thinking for yourself and trying to figure out what and is up then what is right and what is wrong and what is a conscience? layered duties you go your creator. many people believe life was a gift from god and you could not relinquish it even if you wanted therefore you have no right to suicide on a certain view. life is inalienable because it's gift from god and you are not at liberty to discern. your life is inalienable. it's not quite yours. it is also, and conscience is the greatest of ease. and the expression ultimately at this view grow ultimately out of freedom of thought which i think is the thesis of the inalienable rights but there are many views
out there. and my teacher who is here now will tell me how much i got right and wrong. >> that's beautiful and i want to ask whether the right of conscience or the right to believe or not believe in god and do they obtain to reasoning human beings. we have certain faculties ranging from passionate bottom to reset the top and a duty and brandeis quoted him. >> to pursue happiness and belief cannot he forced or mandated. you can try to show something and try to stimulate belief but how can you believe internal conviction? and not sure that this could happen. they said totalitarians tried to
demand other people believe certain things. again try to persuade them through appeals to reason and to revelation. >> the enlightenment they have a tremendous belief. the oxford english dictionary calls awarded in 2016 post truth in what would they make a post true society where citizens aren't able to agree? >> i think they would be deeply disheartened by that. i'm an enlightenment. >> what would they tell us we should do to overcome this society and try to achieve common recent? >> one thing that is always difficult to try to imagine what
they would tell us and historians don't like thinking what would thomas jefferson do? thomas jefferson would be dead. law professors are different because every day we have to decide. it's not that we are bad historians that we are trying to do a different thing. we are actually trying to apply principles to figure out where the plaintiff or the defendant wins in the crankcase. actually we do think about that a lot and i would say one thing that they would encourage soa have to actually talk across the divide and talk to people who don't live necessarily in our neighborhood or worship in our church. they are imagining a congress in which people from different parts of the country that aren't them indicating with each other will come together and the people in congress will exchange information and ideas and perspectives and every one of
them is expected to be persuaded or make adjustments or compromises that the folks back home might not love but the folks back home don't know about the other districts that see the world very differently and the point is we are supposed to try to talk to each other and we do that in newspapers but also in congress. they think that when someone makes an argument you are supposed to make a counter argument and the federalists actually do very much try to respond to the anti-government and madison comes to believe the arguments he made against the bill of rights were quite so good. there will was an answer to write your danger. comes to think that he has undervalued certain reasons for a bill of rights like that they
could the judicially enforceable jefferson reminds them of this and correspondence so peace in exchange with other people with different use. the baptist in his district say we trust you, you have been for religious freedom for a long time from the mid-1780s the virginia bill of religious freedom. we trust you and we know you believe in religious liberty and equality but we think you are betraying that when you're opposed to the bill of rights. he listens to them and he had better because if he doesn't he's not going to be elected -- get elected. he says i hear you and actually you have a point. so i think the constitution was very divisive. people got very agitated on each side and that it was adopted.
they voted 30-27 in new york. just so we are clear if you got more votes that was actually --. >> akhil on a nonpartisan basis. >> i don't always have to be nonpartisan. i am being playful here. and we are not very happy at having lost. a lot of raw feelings and here is what's impressive. america is actually divided. deeply between federalist and anti-federalist and one of the most important factors and often not understood because of what it says rather than what it does. what it does is brings america together. something the federalists and the anti-federalist could both accept, a consensus compromise position. to broaden the coalition for the
constitution which is originally narrow. in the long run it's hard to govern a society 51-49 and may be harder to govern a united society 51-51. >> i need to make one more circle point. and if it medicines wondering whether public reason is possible in these interested in new media technologies that might unite farmers in the south with merge in interest in the north but he's not completely confident that citizens can come together and hear disparate points of view in recent together. what do you think was necessary to achieve that? >> i will tell you i hope i have been. generous. he was a very great man. he was a thinker and a doer. there are not so many actually. we have pointy heads in the
academy like yours truly and we don't next tweet do very much and we have those out no worth in government doing things that often they don't think very much and i'm worried about some of them who seem to be dewars more than thinkers. there are pathologists of people who are thinkers and not dewars. so to his credit madison is a thinker and a doer and he reflects on this. he isn't thinking about the media but here are two things that i do want to tell you about madison since we are celebrating one of the great achievements getting the bill of rights through on the 225th anniversary. one, he is partisan. you have been taught that madison is supposed to party
faction and you've heard about the federalists. the oldest political party in america and maybe the world is what we call the democratic party and it is founded by james madison and thomas jefferson. we'll become the party of jackson and later party of woodrow wilson and franklin roosevelt and jack kennedy and barack obama. it's founded by james madison within a decade of adopting the constitution when he's railing against parties and faction. do you know who he is? i actually blurb a biography of madison by rick berke kaiser at conservative and a very great man. ..
and onto the stage when jefferson leaves and becomes president said he is a political operative. he is partisan and that is not the picture that you thought. he found a political party and here's the second thing, his political party is based on slavery. it is a proslavery party and it's going to get worse and worse. the party of jefferson and
madison is going to become the party of jackson and become the party of dred scott that almost destroys america. i need to tell you all this because we can take madison and all of his pretensions very seriously but i also want you to see that he pulled himself and other people because he was unfortunately more in the grip of slavery it isn't about reason and enlightenment and natural rights and all the rest. it is any fundamental principle of rice and decency and he knows it. it is a good thing. jefferson and madison know it is wrong so that needs to be said as well.
the bill of rights begins the project but it doesn't end it on this view. it's involved in the second founding project which is a huge project. the most important thing you need to understand, it is a ironic and fulfills maximum vision. no state shall. it's going to be an amendment that is proposed by the anti-jefferson party. no state shall violate fundamental rights by conscience and fought and expression and
jury trial and the right to counsel and the rest. all are free because it's the amendment putting an end to slavery. so, now madison station is ironic and asked at the same time because at his best he understood these things at its worst he betrayed these things. now the amendment codifying in a way that benefits not merely his nieces and nephews but also the nieces and nephews and grandchildren of his slaves and we are not done because we learn about women and about the poll taxes and franchises and even today it is a project of making
amends for their lapses because as great as they were, they were not perfect. >> w >> we need to ask a basic question. how did congress choose the rights they did and what you want the audience to? >> i have already given you some information about this. some of you have played this game with me before so if you have don't spoil it. but i would like folks in the audience to shout out the names of the famous bill of rights cases that pop into your head whether you agree with the outcomes or not.
gideon, brown, rowe v. wade, madison, brown v. board of education, citizens united. i can't fool this crowd. that said half the cases are not bill of rights cases. so, first it was before the constitution and it's about original versus appellate jurisdiction, it isn't any great principle of liberty. dred scott is about the fundamental right to have slaves or something but that could count as a bill of rights idea.
here are landmark cases you talked about and i will add a few more. griswold versus connecticut, "new york times" versus sullivan, brown v. board of education, roe v. wade, lawrence v. texas, miranda v. arizona. none of those is a bill of rights case. why not? because the bill of rights originally applied only against the federal government. congress shall make no la law bt as her consort and the tenth amendment is about having the states rights and in between the celebrations of local juries and it was an anti-federalist tea party vocalist in the central government.
that's not important today because you believe some of the most fundamental rights need to be protected against states and localities. brown versus topeka, gideon versus wainwright florida, roe v. wade when you agree with it or not is texas, lawrence versus texas, "new york times" sullivan was an effort by alabama to shut down free speech. randa v. arizona. griswold versus connecticut. most of the cases ordinary people think of as bill of rights cases are not bill of rights cases because the amendment is only about comedy original federal government. so, what kind of cases are gideon versus wainwright and lawrence versus texas if they are not bill of rights cases you know enough to know the answer
now. no state or localities shall make or enforce any. that is the second founding. a second bill of rights to the one that is more intuitive for most americans today because the states us behave because madison lost when he tried to get the original amendment passed no state shall violate. but the senator didn't go alonge along so he lost that fight. but he wins in the end thanks to the 14th amendment and it is apt that we give him the credit for the final 14th amendment but it's also a little bit ironic because all of this is precipitated by the slave abuse of power in the last madison and jefferson were charter members
and founded a political party whose base was basically a southern base that benefited hugely in the electoral college and elsewhere from the presence of slavery because of the qualls, jefferson and madison and their parties get extra electoral votes every election because the southern states that are voting for them are getting extra seats in the house of representatives and therefore also in the electoral college because of the so-called clause. so it is both ironic and asked thaaptthat our bill of rights ds stem from madison to throug buth the 14th amendment through lincoln. so as we celebrate today medicines achievement, we also have to bow our heads and thanks to abraham lincoln and his generation which is what the national constitution center calls the second founding project and there is no place in
america that has focused more on the significance of that than this place here led by jeff and tom donnelly. it is a great organization in washington, d.c. founded by mount elizabeth and is a huge partner in the second founding project. >> we have the most wonderful event in the archives in dc a few weeks ago and you can watch it on video. >> the 14th amendment as proposed basically an effect on the 75th anniversary which is why this year is 150 for the second founding and 225 for the bill of rights.
what would the basic rights of citizens that they thought to include in the original bill of rights? we say that it was first because it was the most important, that is famous yes and no. it's the most important for the framers of the 14th amendment that was first but remember when madison is proposing his amendments what we called this was actually third on the list and only became first because the first two victims on the lisitems on the listactually wey the state. >> why weren't they ratified? >> the first was the congressionacongressional signst any state that ratifies the restaurant of isaac and the only difference is delaware and
delaware doesn't want a big house of representatives, it wants a small as possible. it would've wanted if the house of representatives consisted of the 13 people, one for every state which constitutionally you could have one for each state. but if that happens, delaware would have quality in both houses which is what they wanted in philadelphia. so, delaware is the only state that ratifies what we call the bill of rights if not the original first amendment because it doesn't want to big house of representatives. i've never been able to fully figure that one out.
what do the people understand in their own rights to be. suppose we didn't have a first amendment at all what you think that the right to speak out politically having free and fair elections. it doesn't say that in so many words it is the right to confront witnesses against you and compiled the production of witnesses but what about the right to introduce physical evidence that shows that actually you didn't do it. it doesn't say that, but of course that has to be because
the whole structure of the rights that are mentioned are basically to give you a chance to show that you are innocent. so we mentioned a few things you have to have the right of counsel and speedy trials. things are implied. do you have the right to pen a private letter and have to be free from the government punishing you because what you say in the letter? it isn't a printing press. it's not speech. america has to be free to communicate with each other. it's a very important reminder that not all are textually
specified. how do you find them if you're not and i've given a invited ins of finding it. one, looking at the things that are mentioned and then seeing what implies by what is actually expressed. and second is looking at america involving the traditions and customs and cultures. no state other than connecticut ever made a crime to use contraception. connecticut was basically un-american in doing so and that is what justice harlan rights in the companion case saying there is the right for a married couple to use contraception in a marital bedroom because it is the life of american tradition and culture. and i have paid attention to
that sentence by the way until i read a passage from one of my greatest teachers, his name was jeff rosen. he pointed out the passage but now let me do it in one final way. at the fourth amendment talks about the right of the people and their persons and papers and how is it an effect the third amendment talks about the right to not have troops in your house what's up with that. it's implicit in the third amendment singling out houses and also parts of american.
but he beats are behind closed doors. for the first time in the history of the world an entire continent was asked whether we do or we don't and whether we agree for the set of rules or not and the first thing the people of the united states and these are not my ancestors but i identified with them.
what's every generation reconnect with that and learn from it. you can amend it again t and do all sorts of things to your constitution. we should do so lightly. the only way to prevent us from unintentionally basically running the thing into a ditch is by studying it with care. you all are citizens and therefore, i'm preaching to the choir, but you have to engage in the constitution and the bill of rights. [applause]