tv Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Bill of Rights Day CSPAN December 28, 2018 7:12am-8:01am EST
supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg spoke earlier this month at the national archives to mark the 229 month anniversary of the bill of rights. first she spoke, the national archives conducted a naturalization ceremony for 30 individuals from 26 countries. the event took place in front of the original declaration of independence, u.s. constitution and the bill of rights. in order to observers the documents no additional documents allowed in the rotunda. >> all rise. all those having business
>> please be seated, come to order. this honorable court is now in session. >> how are you all this morning? welcome to the museum of the national archives. i'm chief judge howell of the district court of the district of columbia. today is a memorable and important milestone for each of the people who will be our new citizens today. it is my privilege and pleasure to preside over the ceremony this morning. the ceremony began this morning with joint armed forces color guard, presenting the nation's flag and the flag of different branches of the us military. we stand for these flags to show our pride in our country and respect for the military
service men and women who helped defend its security. the flag is an important symbol and we are fortunate to stand in this rotunda next to the foundational documents that give meaning to this flag. the court now recognizes norm bledsoe, the public operations administrator of the united states district court of the district of columbia who will introduce those persons seeking to become new citizens. >> thank you, your honor. may it please the court, when your name is called, please stand and remain standing. jamaica. shehave sudan.
mustafa xavi, thailand. yonas a gay, ethiopia. yuri blau, israel. maria saran, nicaragua. kareem yousef, nigeria. milton beale, south africa. aksamaahmed, russia. vladimir sibelius, georgia. your honor, there are 31 applicants for naturalization, each of the applicants have been examined by the united states citizenship and immigration service and the government has completed its investigation in each case. it has been determined the africans eligible for naturalization at this time. i move that upon taking the
oath of allegiance to the united states of america each applicant present having answered his or her name to include the name change be granted naturalization of the united states of america. >> i'm very pleased to grant the motion. everyone, there's going to be a new citizen. please raise your right hand and repeat after me the oath of allegiance. i hereby declare on oath. that i absolutely and entirely renounce and endure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty. of whom or which i have here to
for been a subject or citizen. that i will support and defend the constitution and the laws of the united states of america. against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that i will bear to faith and allegiance to the same, that i will bear arms on behalf of the united states when required by the law. that i will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the united states when required by law,
[applause] [inaudible conversations] >> please stand for the pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. everyone please be seated. >> please welcome students from hardy middle school who will recite the preamble of the u.s. constitution.
>> we the people of the united states, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of america. [applause]
>> thank you, hardy middle school. please welcome to the stage the archivist of the united states, david ferriero. >> good morning. welcome to the rotunda of the national archives. first and foremost congratulations to our 31 new citizens and thanks to the hardy middle school for the wonderful recitation of the preamble to the constitution. it is a great honor to have associate justice ruth bader ginsburg with us to celebrate your american citizenship. thank you to director francis, lee francis cissna for joining us and to judge "after words" for presiding over our ceremony this morning. it is a 227th anniversary of the ratification of the bill of rights. each year for the anniversary we host the naturalization ceremony with the development
of homeland security, united states citizenship and immigration services and the united states district court for the district of columbia. there is no better place to become an american citizen than in front of these documents. behind me is the constitution which remains the basis on which our federal government's structures, the preamble which was just recited contains three important words, we the people. that brief phrase captures the essence of our democracy. the constitution gives the power to the people. over to my right is the declaration of independence, the parchment that our founding fathers signed in 1776 in philadelphia. they risked their lives, their family's lives and all they owned in signing up. we have them to thank for our freedoms today. to my left, the bill of rights, the first 10 amendments to the constitution. these amendments were added to the constitution exactly 227
years ago today. these amendments are the basic personal rights and freedoms guaranteed to every american which you will exercise every day. these charters of freedom make up our foundation as us citizens. i am the grandson of italians and great grandson of irish immigrants, using passenger lists at the national archives i discovered that my grandfather, at age 15, arrived in moscow from naples aboard the ship commonwealth on march 22, 1803, with my grandmother and -- antonio giorgio, arrived march 8, 1909, aboard the romantic which my great-grandfather david buckley arrived in boston from county court in 1883 aboard the samaria. he petition to become a us citizen in 1892 in salem, massachusetts. many americans have stories
like mine and you have your own journey to share. we have 8 billion pages of records becoming american citizens makes you part of the national archives too. your naturalization records will be part of the holdings and will discover your history. history comes to life through records, we house the tangible reminders of where we have been, how far we have been for each and every american. each record is a representation of a greater story in the national archives tells everyone's story. i would like to introduce lee francis cissna who was sworn in in october 2017. he served in various capacities in the us department of homeland security, most recently he served as director of immigration policy within
dhs office of policy. he was a private immigration attorney in richmond, virginia and worked as foreign service officer with the us apartment of state in port-au-prince, haiti, and the us embassy in stockholm, sweden. lee francis cissna received his doctorate from georgetown university law center, received a masters degree in international affairs from columbia university, bachelors in physics and political science from the massachusetts institute of technology when i was a librarian there. [laughter] >> welcome, lee francis cissna. [applause] >> thank you, david ferriero. it is a pleasure to be at the national archives, home to so many prices historic documents that serve as the foundation of
our nation. i would like to thank the national archives and records administration for hosting today's naturalization ceremony in their continued partnership with my agency, the immigration service over the years and we are honored to have justice ginsburg and "after words" with us to mark this special occasion. we welcome 31 us citizens are present in 26 different countries. congratulations to each of you. on behalf of the men and women of us citizenship and immigration services it is an honor to address you as my fellow americans which i would add that i too have immigrant family. my mother immigrated here from peru. i don't think there are any peruvians in the bunch, but i know the experience you are having today very well. i understand it very intimately. on taking the oath of allegiance you just took you
joined a nation of citizens both naturalized and nativeborn who are united by belief in the rights described and guaranteed by the declaration of independence, the constitution and the bill of rights, collectively known as the charters of freedom all around us. today we commemorate the 227th anniversary of the first ten amendments to the constitution, known as the bill of rights. the bill of rights on display here in this rotunda and shrine our most valued freedoms. the national archives provides access to these document like the bill of rights, so visitors here can experience first-hand the connection between the ideals that are captured on historic parchment and the freedoms and rights they guarantee to living americans. through this connection we are reminded of the important of participating in our government by fully exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. you now have a vested interest to ensure the well-being and
success of your country, the united states of america. as you build your lives i ask you use your talents to give back to your community and your new country through civic participation, service and active and committed citizenship. you can make positive contributions by volunteering at a local organization, serving armed forces, owning a business, running for public office, casting your vote on election day and doing your part to keep our country secure. i am confident your spirit and dedication will serve as an example for future generations. is the agency responsible for administering the nation's lawful immigration system and the agency responsible for all that you went through to get to this point, and i know what you went through. us cis is honored to be a part of your journey to us citizenship.
from the day you arrived in the united states to today when you took the oath of allegiance, before i finish i would point out, in four years we will all have a very difficult decision to make, one that will be a true test of your citizenship and that is, who are you going to root for in the world cup in 2022? i will leave that for you to decide individually. i think, you root for america first and let's see what happens. thank you. [applause] >> and now it is my pleasure to introduce justice ruth bader ginsburg who was born in brooklyn, new york, she received her ba from cornell
university, attended harvard law school, received her law degree from columbia law school. she became a professor at rutgers law school in 1963 where she taught the first women in law classes and cofounded the women's rights project at the american civil liberties union. in 1973 she became the aclu general counsel where she argued gender discrimination cases, six of which brought her before the us supreme court. in 1980 president jimmy carter nominated her to the court of appeals for the district of columbia and in 1993 president bill clinton nominated her as associate justice of the supreme court. the notorious are bg -- [laughter] -- is a pop-culture icon with legions of fans and we are thrilled to have her with us today. as exciting as it is to have are bg herself with us, equally
exciting is welcome back brian w johnson from the us district court. for the district of columbia, just happens to be the person who called the ceremony to order, as she has done for many years but also happens to be the justice's personal trainer. [laughter] >> has written a terrific book, the rbg workout, how she stays strong and you can too. these welcome justice ginsburg. [applause] >> thank you, thank you, thank you, my fellow americans. it is my great privilege to welcome you to citizenship in a democracy that is the usa.
number 31 in 26 countries offer better clay from china to venezuela. today, we join 20 million current citizens born in other lands who chose, as you have, to make the united states of america their home. we are a nation made strong by people like you. people who traveled long distances, overcame great obstacles, and made tremendous sacrifices, all to provide a better life for themselves and their families. my own father arrived in this land at age 13 speaking no english.
my mother was born four months after her parents, with several children in so, came by ship to ellis island. my father and my grandparents reached, as you do, for the american dream. as testament to our nation's promise, the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants sits on the highest court in the land. in america, land of opportunity, that prospect is within the realm of the achievable. what is the difference between a bookkeeper and new york city's district and a supreme court justice? one generation. the difference between the opportunities available to my
mother and those afforded me. you have studied our system of government, and know of its twin pillars. first, our government has limited power. it can exercise only the authority given to it by the constitution. second, citizens of this country enjoy certain fundamental rights. those rights are our nation's hallmark. they are set forth in the bill of rights and amendments to the constitution. they are in yielding to know government decree. our constitution opens as you just heard with the words we the people of the united states.
by limiting government, specifying rights, and empowering the people, the founders of the united states proclaimed the heart of america would be its citizens, not its rulers. after the words we the people of the united states and the constitution sets out the aspirations to form a more perfect union. at the start, it is true the union needed perfection. the original constitution permitted slavery and severely limited who counted among we the people when the nation was new. only white property owning men had the right to vote the most basic right of citizenship. over the course of history, people left out at the
beginning, people held in human bondage, native americans, and half the population witnessed, came to be embraced as full citizens. a french observer of early america wrote that the greatness of america lies not in being born enlightened than other nations but in our ability to repair a fault. to amendments to our constitution, court decisions, applying those amendments, we abolished slavery, prohibited racial discrimination, made men and women equal citizenship. in the vanguard of those
perfections, where people just like you. know americans of every race and creed, making ever more vibrant our national motto, e pluribus unum, out of many, one. we have made huge progress, the words of perfection, scarcely done. many stains remain. in this rich land, nearly a quarter of our children live in poverty. nearly half of our citizens do not vote. we still struggle to achieve greater understanding and appreciation of each other across racial, religious and socioeconomic lines yet we strive to realize the ideals to
become a more perfect union, as well informed as new citizens you will play your part, a vital part of that endeavor by first and foremost working in elections, serving on juries. and engaging in civil discourse and all the other things the director just mentioned. leasing of america, sweet land of liberty, newcomers to our shores, people like you, came here from the earliest days of the nation today. freedom from oppression, freedom from one's, freedom to be you and me. i would like -- a great
american jurist, understood liberty. he explained in 1944 what liberty meant to him, and new americans gathered in new york city's central park to swear allegiance as you just did to the united states, these are his words. just what is this sacred liberty that must lie in the hearts of men and women. it is not the ruthless, unbridled will. it is not freedom to do as one likes. i cannot divine the spirit of liberty.
i can only tell you my own faith. the spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women. the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interest alongside its own without bias. may the spirit of liberty is judge hand explained it clear your beacon. may you have the courage to act in accord with that high ideal. as you play your part in helping to achieve a more perfect union. every best wish.
[applause] >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much, justice ginsburg. i am going to make some closing remarks before we have brian johnson close the ceremony. our declaration of independence, our constitution and our bill of rights under glass in this room, as the archivist pointed out, the bill of rights, the collective name of the first 10 amendments give us clear guidance about the inalienable rights each person holds and these listed rights include freedom of speech, religion, equal protection, due process, rules about the mutual respect we owe each other and
our shared responsibility to adhere to and uphold these rights which were so critical to our civic order and to ensure we have the more perfect union, the constitution set out as its goal. we have 28 million americans living together, many with radically different views about the problems and solutions confronting this nation, look justice ginsburg pointed out. this can sound messy, downright divisive, and when they come from. they each share the rights granted under the constitution. most americans are here because their parents, grandparents or more distant relatives made the courageous choice that each of you new citizens made to leave the countries where they grew up, where they knew the language, where they had family and friends to follow their friends, to follow their dreams
to this new country. this is not easy and as the director acknowledged, many of you waited, people come to america for many different reasons. some leave the countries of their birth because of war or to escape difficult situations. and aspire to build a better life for themselves and their children. america truly is the great melting pot, we are all enriched and better for it. each of you will be able to say you are an american citizen. as citizens you have the right to talk about under our constitution and enforce if necessary in courts around the country presided over by federal judges like me and ultimately by justices of the supreme court like justice ginsburg, you have the -- the
right to speak freely about matters you care about, the right to privacy in your home. as citizens you each have equal rights before the law with equal share in the freedom to pursue your own version of happiness. the constitution doesn't guarantee you will find happiness. and the declaration of independence, usc free to try and citizens, we not only have rights but duties and responsibilities and as new citizens you make three choices, as americans or citizens. i hope you choose to be involved as we are a self-governing people, self-government works best when it citizens are involved and informed. you should seek to inform yourself, read and listen and understand the choices we face as a nation, educated citizenry is essential to the
continuation of a self-governing country. your children, grandchildren, family will learn the duties of citizenship by watching you so when you go to vote take your children with you to see how you do it. we have congressional elections every two years, presidential elections every four years, pay attention in between, to what our elected officials are doing. talk to your children about what you are hearing and learning, teach them through your actions that not only are you free to complain about our political leaders or what we see going on around us, we can vote to change our leaders or vote to keep them. the united states may not be perfect but we have a powerful tool in the voting booth, to make improvements. i hope you will also make a second choice. choose to make a positive contribution to your communities. we expect you to be law-abiding but as citizens expect more from yourself than that.
we may not all be able to perform public service at the level of our speakers, the archivists of the united states or head of citizenship and immigration service or justice ginsburg who serve on the front line of protecting our rights but we can all do our part whether it is picking up litter, helping a neighbor or volunteering at your children's school. finally, i hope you all make a third choice, to share your stories. many americans take their citizenship for granted by telling your story about why you chose to come here and what you went through to help here helps your fellow americans appreciate what we have in our country. plus, america is a richer place because of your stories and the cultural experiences you bring with you. america's strength is the diversity of its people. choose to be involved, choose to make a positive contribution to your community and choose to tell your stories.
i join our other speakers in congratulating you as america's newest citizens by your conduct and qualifications and actions this morning. you have each earned your rightful place to be called an american citizen. congratulations again to all of you. [applause] >> the court is now adjourned. at this moment i need everyone to have a seat while we present the certificate of naturalization to my new brothers and sisters. please have a seat.
[inaudible conversations] >> this east end bus recently traveled to tennessee asking folks what does it mean to be american? >> what it means to be american, for my students studying history, sometimes they say why did that ripple come? questioning things that go on now to really push the idea of democratic citizenship and seeing what you can do and how to impact your community on the local level. >> to be an american means to be free. to think, to speak, to express my thoughts. i am free to relate to other people no matter who they are. free to have oxygen around me
and express everything that i want to be and i am free to be everything i want to be. it is so important to appreciate being an american. >> what does it mean to be an american? >> in america you are part of the greatest experiment in self-government that history has ever known. part of being an american is understanding we believe at our core that each individual is created equal and they have the same god-given rights as every other individual. >> you are involved in your city, your state, your local government so that you can learn about problem-solving and look at the areas in your local government and see how your area of expertise can improve and make it better.
and actively looking for ways to improve and make it better for the next generation. >> great pleasure to be here and talk about what it is to be american. that is one of those multifaceted questions. what can you do to better your community? and statewide and all of that. everything is local. helping younger generation which is their future and help the older generation which we respect and we need to help them finish out the year. as we said before, from beginning to end and how do you make your community a better place. >> voices from the road on c-span. >> 7 days since the government
shutdown began. the house and senate were back yesterday for brief sessions that did not result in a potential resolution was negotiations over border security between congress and the white house remain at a standstill as donald trump continues to call for $5 billion in border wall funding which democrats are objecting to. congress meets again monday at 10:00 eastern, no legislative business is expected. you can follow the house live on c-span and the senate line on c-span2. >> new jersey sends four new members of the house of representatives for the 116th congress. all of them seats previously held by republicans. mikey cheryl will represent new jersey at 11th district. she discussed her experience in the military and as a federal prosecutor during one of the debates. >> i began my service to this country when i was 18 years old and joined the naval academy.
i served 10 years in the united states navy as a helicopter pilot and the russian policy expert. i served again in new jersey at the us attorney's office. after a lifetime of service i decided the best way i could continue my service to my country and new jersey was to run for congress because i'm not just concerned about what is happening now. i'm concerned about the future of new jersey because i have four kids. and i believe we should get good legislation passed in congress. and quality and affordable healthcare, working to bring costs down in healthcare system. to grow our economy now, and to
get the mission accomplished. >> miss cheryl was joined by jeff andrew who will represent new jersey at second district, he was elected to the new jersey state senate in 2007 after previous terms in the general assembly on the county board and as mayor, he is a dentist by profession. andy kim will represent new jersey after district. .. this was part of a daylong event hosted by the national judicial college.