Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Justice Lumpkin's Bill of Rights II

Justice Lumpkin went on to explain why he believed that the Bill of Rights -- or at least the principles set forth in the Bill -- applied to the States:

"It was not because it was supposed that legislation over the subjects here enumerated might be better and more safely entrusted to the State governments, that it was prohibited to Congress. It was to declare to the world the fixed and unalterable determination of our people, that these invaluable rights which had been established at so great a cost of blood and treasure, should never be disturbed by any government . . ..

. . . What confidence will be reposed in a State government, whose legislation should be characterized by acts which disgrace the most tyrannical epoch of the British monarchy? A free people would instantly and indignantly reject it and its authors."

Justice Lumpkin then returned to the theme of "State rights:"

"While this Court yields to none in its devotion to State rights, and be the first to resist all attempts at Federal usurpation, it feels itself called on by the blood of the many martyrs, who nobly died to maintain the great principles of civil liberty contained in these amendments -- our American Magna Charta -- to stand by, support and defend the rights which they guarantee, against all encroachments, whether proceeding from the National or State governments."

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