Bill Of Rights Day

Monday, December 13, 2021

We recognize Dec. 15 as Bill of Rights Day.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated this day by proclamation in 1941 to observe and honor the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the Unites States Constitution.  But how did the Bill of Rights itself come to be? 

During the American Revolution, the thirteen former British colonies—now “states,” or basically independent nations—came together under the Articles of Confederation for military and other collective purposes.  But some of the leaders of the Revolution feared that the Articles of Confederation were too weak and risked letting powerful European nations invade the new states and take them over one by one.  These leaders sought a “more perfect union” of the states to ward off European threats and address some of the domestic problems the Articles of Confederation were unable to correct.  The result of these concerns was the drafting of the United States Constitution.

While the Constitution created a new national government that would rectify the deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation, there arose a fear that this new national government would abuse its powers to the detriment of the citizens.  This fear resulted in a vigorous debate which jeopardized the ratification of the Constitution.

Supporters of the Constitution as drafted argued the new government only had the powers set out explicitly in the Constitution, so that fears of overreach were not realistic.  Opponents argued the history of humankind shows that people with power tend to abuse their power, so just enumerating the government’s powers was not enough to safeguard the unenumerated rights of citizens and the states. 

Ultimately, the two sides reached a compromise: the drafting of a set of specific limitations on the powers of the new government.  These specific limitations would be amendments to the Constitution, specifically guaranteeing certain rights to the people and the states.  With the assurance that these amendments would follow, the Constitution was ratified in June 1788.  Twelve constitutional amendments were approved by the new Congress in September 1789.  Ten were ratified by the eleven states required to make them effective on Dec. 15, 1791.  These ten amendments have become known as the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights not only withdrew certain power from the government, but it also spelled out those fundamental rights that would no longer be subject to normal political processes.  In other words, these rights are held as so dear to our nation that only new Constitutional amendments may overturn them. 

The Bill of Rights includes the right to peaceably assemble, the right to petition the government, the freedom of the press, the freedom of religion, the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to a jury trial, the right to assistance of counsel, and many more.  These rights have served our nation well as a bulwark against abusive government.  The Bill of Rights has also served as a model for other nations.  

On Bill of Rights Day 2021, let us all give thanks for the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution and those who came before us in maintaining and defending these invaluable rights.   

Curtis L. Collier
United States District Judge
Chair, Eastern District of Tennessee Civics and Outreach Committee

Carrie Brown Stefaniak
Law Clerk to the Honorable Curtis L. Collier
Immediate Past President, Chattanooga Chapter of the Federal Bar Association

Kristen A. Dupard
Law Clerk to the Honorable Curtis L. Collier



Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Marie Mott's Plan For Small Business And Skilled Trades In District 8

Right To Their Own Body? - And Response


Let’s see if I have this right. Taxpayers are to foot the bill to the tune of $80 million for a new baseball stadium that will be designed to hold 6,000 people. We must not plan on a great deal ... (click for more)

District 8 isn’t on the same playing field as the rest of Chattanooga. We’ve been left behind and overlooked for millions in support and economic investment. Everyone deserves access to career ... (click for more)

So the two Dems running for governor actually believe "women should have the right to their own body." Well then I assume this means that prostitution should be legalized? How about the ... (click for more)



Opinion

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Let’s see if I have this right. Taxpayers are to foot the bill to the tune of $80 million for a new baseball stadium that will be designed to hold 6,000 people. We must not plan on a great deal of attendance. Research reveals that during pre-pandemic in 2019, the average attendance was 3,948. Furthermore, under the current proposal if you attend a game, you must pay to park. So, ... (click for more)

Marie Mott's Plan For Small Business And Skilled Trades In District 8

District 8 isn’t on the same playing field as the rest of Chattanooga. We’ve been left behind and overlooked for millions in support and economic investment. Everyone deserves access to career paths that grow wealth, support our community and protect our future. Here’s how we’re going to get it done: • Connect residents to future-ready job training. By 2025, millennials ... (click for more)

Breaking News

EPA Awarding Brownfield Grant At Site Of Planned Lookouts Stadium

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe on Wednesday is set to present the city of Chattanooga with Brownfield program cleanup and assessment grants at the site of a planned new $79.5 million stadium to be used by the Lookouts. The press conference will be at the U.S. Pipe/Wheland site. The grant is "to help spur economic revitalization ... (click for more)

$79.5 Million Stadium Touted As Catalyst For Major Project At Long-Blighted Wheland/U.S. Pipe Site; Lookouts To Pay $1 Million Annually To Lease "Community" Stadium

More than 100 acres of the long-neglected U.S. Pipe and Wheland Foundry sites "will begin transforming into a world-class live-work-play district that will generate more than $40 million for schools," Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly announced at a press conference at the site on Thursday. Flanked by nationally renowned master developer Jim ... (click for more)

Sports

First Place Barons Beat Chattanooga Again

We all know that good pitching, timely hitting and solid defense gives any baseball team on any level a good chance of winning, but when any of the three falter, those odds drop way down. Facing the Birmingham Barons for the fourth straight day at AT&T Field Friday night, the Chattanooga Lookouts were lacking in two of the three, so it’s not a real surprise that the guys ... (click for more)

Lady Red Wolves Win 3-2 Over Visiting Southern Soccer Academy

The Chattanooga Lady Red Wolves earned a 3-2 home win Friday night against Southern Soccer Academy. The win puts the Lady Red Wolves on top of the South Central standings with one regular season game left. In Friday's game, Hollie Massey opened the scoring in the 3rd minute to give the Lady Red Wolves an early 1-0 lead. SSA answered in the 22nd minute. In the 39th minute, MacKenzie ... (click for more)