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tv   The Bill of Rights  CSPAN  December 25, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

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tomorrow, s.e. cupp. it is christmas night. coming up, samuel alito and jeb bush discussed the bill of rights. discussinglebrities health and social issues. [applause] >> i am so glad to welcome you tonight. bush,e alito, governor governor and mrs. corbett. david rubenstein, honored guests. i am jeffrey rosen. i'm the president of this
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institution, the national center, the only institution in america chartered by congress to disseminate information about the u.s. constitution on a nonpartisan basis. it is hard to imagine a more exciting milestone in the fulfillment of that inspiring mission than the one we celebrate tonight. 1789,ars ago, october george washington sent to the states 13 copies of the bill of rights and one to the federal government. 12 of those copies survived. today, one of them is returning to philadelphia. it will be displayed in the george h.w. bush gallery, which we are unveiling and previewing today in a beautiful exhibit. it will open to the public
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later this year. this display is made possible thanks to a historic agreement between the commonwealth of pennsylvania and the new york public library. is here corbett tonight. the exhibit, which he will see after, is rolling. it includes a stone declaration of independence, and the first public printing of the cots to -- constitution. the exhibit tells the story of the rights promised in the declaration, implicit in the constitution, and caught a five in the bill of rights. it includes interactive this which we produced with constitute to click on any provision of the bill of rights, to see antecedents, and to follow the spread of that liberty to constitutions around the world.
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willew gallery and exhibit be the focal point for three years of debate and education at the national constitution center, online, and around the country. john templeton foundation has to promotea grant debate and the meaning of our founding documents. their so grateful for generosity and patriotism. [applause] i am also thrilled to announce the partnership with the college board, the national constitution center will create the best nonpartisan interactive constitution on the web. onvil commission materials conservative and liberal interpreters cochaired by the
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founders of the federalist society and the american constitution society. the two leading conservative and liberal lawyers groups. we will convene scholars from all perspectives today they issues -- debate issues, and we will build podcasts held on every media clackum across america. the museum of we the people. education, for civic the national constitution center is the one place in america where citizens and students can hear all sides of the constitutional debates at the center of american life and make up their own minds. this is an exciting moment. it is also a time for the mill you'll celebration. -- familial celebration. many donors are here tonight. their names are recognized in the gallery.
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william and hillary rodham clinton, president clinton served as chair of the constitution center after president bush and their friendship is a model for the bipartisanship the center exemplifies. it is my privilege to introduce the superb share of the national constitution center. when i began this wonderful job, governor jeb bush told me his father considered his severus -- his service to be his most meaningful postpresidential service. that persuaded bush to persuaded client -- to follow clinton. his commitment to educating children of all ages about the founding documents has helped to cement our exciting collaborations with the college board, intelligence squared, with whom we started a constitutional debate series, and a model for nonpartisanship and patriotism.
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standleased to be able to with governor bush to honor his father tonight. when it came time to name the bill of rights gallery, president bush's friends and admirers decided it should be named in his honor for his patriotic devotion to the national constitution center into united states of america. we are grateful for governor bush taking of his father's example, and his engagement with the national constitution center. jebs joined by his son, junior. governor jeb bush. [applause] >> thank you. thank you all very much. thank you. if you can't get fired up about the declaration of independence and the constitution of the bill of rights, you just need to go
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back and learn how to get fired up. [laughter] the enthusiasm for what jeff brings to this job is extraordinary. visit,the mission of learn, debate. the visiting comes to this great city of philadelphia. hopefully we will get more visitors because of this historic arrangement with the new york library and the state of pennsylvania to have the bill of rights be located here. there are a lot of great exhibits. tell your friends and neighbors to come. for cash flowt purposes that we have people that come to visit. [laughter] learning about our heritages and our past is something i think we lack in our country. tof believes that we need reengage with our heritage in a way that makes it vital and alive in 2014 and beyond. so people believe we have a set of shared values.
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i can guarantee you the problems that seem intractable today, like nothing seems to working these days, part of it has to do with the fact that we don't have a set of shared values that we talk about enough. going back to our history, understanding what it was, the genius of the founders, and what they created here, and how we apply it to everyday life matters. learning about our past through the constitution is another important element of what the national constitution center does, and the debate that jeff is a master of, bringing people of disparate views to be able to debate their points here and across the country is another element of what we do. i am honored to be the chairman of the national constitution center. i have to tell you, we are honoring my dad today. i will just tell you he is [indiscernible]
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i am not objective about this. i think he's the greatest man i've ever met. [laughter] said, called me and president clinton, it is time for him to leave as the chairman of the national constitution center. i'm not telling you to do this but you should consider doing it. here i am. [laughter] all it took was a hint to suggest that i do this. of course i did. he was wise. this has been an extraordinary experience for me. i want to thank the board of trustees and donors them in a possible for this exhibit to be funded. it is an honor for the bush family. justice alito is a joy to be with you. take you for being here. time to very hectic come celebrate this, it is special for us. thank you for coming. thank you for sharing the document. we won't say whether it is a new york bill of rights or a
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pennsylvania bill of rights. i will not get into that mess, but i just did. [laughter] david rubenstein has been incredibly successful in his life. i'm not sure everybody understands the full commitment to his generosity, not just with money but he is writing the editor of the exhibit here. thank you for your commitment to our history and heritage. a lot of people talk about this stuff. he has made a huge difference. [applause] to be here toored represent the bush family in this honor. my dad is 90 years old. he can't walk anymore. but he can fly and jump out of
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airplanes. what he did on his birthday. he has a joy for life. he loves this country with all his heart and soul. this honor would be a big deal if he was here, he would get emotional. i'm want to lessen my speech. there is some dna problem amongst bushes, when we talk about personal things, we cry like babies. [laughter] i know for a fact that my dad would be extraordinarily honored. mom, honored, so is my that this designation has been given to him. land, the across the next order i'm giving them is to come in to see it. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you so much. beautiful words. it is now my pleasure to introduce governor tom corbett, the 46 governor of the commonwealth of pennsylvania. as governor and attorney general of the keystone state, he helped negotiate the historic agreement that allows the near public library in the commonwealth of pennsylvania to take turns displaying the bill of rights over the next hundred years. the governor is joined by the first lady, susan corbett. you spoke eloquently last week at our award of liberty medal. for preserving our founding documents, your passion is appreciated. please welcome governor corbett. [applause]
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>> thank you so much for inviting us here today. having a little opportunity to get together on what is an event that i have been looking forward to for, how many years? five years? i think it should be noted, steve came to me five years ago when i was attorney general and said how would you like to get the bill of rights to pennsylvania? i'm game. from that point forward steve did a great job of really representing the commonwealth of pennsylvania in the discussion. i'm so glad that we were able to reach an accommodation that we share it. we share it not just with pennsylvania, not just with people from new york. all the visitors that come to philadelphia and new york from around the world. why do they come?
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they come to see what is really the embodiment of what this country is about. it's freedom. freedom is not a new idea. if you think about it, freedom ofnew in the grander scale the time that we have had this world. even though it is 225 years after it was written into law, the concept that was rather new at the time, is still new in many areas of the world. natural inheritance. survivedof rights has two centuries. it has been the touchstone of our citizenship and the genius of our founding fathers, and the truth that we are born free. as aacknowledgment stands shining contrast to other parts of the world. we see it today. extremist do problem grow --
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prowl the globe. they silence dissenters. we do not. they deny education and personal freedom to women. we do not. they hate the concert that individuals know what is best for them. that is why after crafting our constitution that explains the structure and the function of our government, the constitutional convention crafted ended up with 10 amendments to make sure the same government that protects social order would not suppress personal freedom. the framers of the bill of didn't invent the rights printed recognize the essential freedoms of speech, the press, ,eligion, personal property human dignity already existed, that we continue existing in the core elements of human society.
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the genius of madison and colleagues was to understand every person is born with those rights, the rights record in those first 10 amendments are every child's inheritance to governmentsd every obligation to honor. they are god-given rights. we are born with essential freedoms no government can take away without becoming illegitimate. governments are seized by men who respect only their own power, and honor only their own believes. silence the voices that question them, grabbing industries for their enrichment, are illegitimate. that has not happened in the united states. even people who would use freedoms to destroy society have not succeeded in a racing the understanding of the heart of every man, woman, child.
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that freedom is the natural order of things. the bill of rights is our framers discovery of this truth. a truth written in language as impactful today as the day our forefathers created the document we are enshrining here today. it is my pleasure on behalf of the commonwealth of in sylvania tothank you for joining us, have the public library of new york joining with us, sharing our freedoms that written down in a document that is 225 years old. people from around the world are going to come and see, that will immigrate to this country and become citizens of this country because they believe in this constitution, and those 10 commitments. thank you ray much. [applause] -- thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you governor, for that superb encapsulation of the natural rights philosophy of the founders. we are grateful for your engagement with the constitution center in your negotiations with our friends at the public library. it is now my special pleasure to introduce tony marx, the president and ceo of the new york public library, working with the commonwealth of pennsylvania and the national constitution center, helping shepherd the agreement that brought us here today. he believes the near public an educational constitution. to spread the constitution education. we are here to celebrate the new york public library public spirit, coming to this agreement because of our joint interest in
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displaying the bill of rights to the public. when the constituting liberty exhibit opens later this year, citizens around the country can be inspired by the document and learn about the ideas it embodies. me in welcoming tony marx. [applause] >> thank you. it is good to be here in this fabulous city in the thisnwealth,, to be in fabulous facility, and partnering with you all. i understand president clinton was sharing the board of the national prostitution center, suggested as the current share governor bush, it's other has to
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be a way for all citizens to enjoy this document, that we should find a way to make that possible, to share it in that sense. celebrate thewe bipartisan shift -- bipartisanship and agreement of the public interest of clintons and bushes together. i want to thank our trustees and donors who have made this exhibit possible through their support of the library and the encasement for the bill of rights. i want to thank my team at the new york public library has been working tirelessly around-the-clock through weekends, or months now. the library has been a great
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steward of this document for over a century. we continue to be great stewards of this document. we are pleased to can be shared and viewed here in philadelphia as well. we will be putting it on display at the near public library together with all of our treasures, for anyone to see. we hope every school child in , ourork will come visit copy of jefferson's declaration documentsdence, these are not just artifacts of history, they are movers of history. when i came to the near public library and asked about our collections, i was told about this document.
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i said i'm the president, i want to see it. they took it out. my first reaction is exactly the first reaction every one of you will have, and every citizen in school child and tourist will have, which is spine tingling. , that georgeense washington looked at this piece of paper, approved the copy, and said send it out for ratification, so the people of america could decide on their own rights. there was a second reaction i had when i to the careful look. i have a phd in political science. i looked at the document and i said i don't know, i think you have been had. i'm pretty sure there are only 10 amendments. this has 12. document forg the
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me to learn, and i am sure i will not be alone, that we sent 12 out for ratification, and only 10 survived. we have the best preserved copy there is. the ratification process got rid proposals.stupid if not for that process, we would have at a bill of rights that ensured a congress of 6000 members. that would have been good. [laughter] rights, ae bill of guarantee of how much the members of congress would be paid. that surely deserves to be in the first 10 rights. teaches.ment it teaches how democracy works. it teaches at its beginning that democracy can make the right
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decisions. collectively, we can separate the two that don't belong from the 10 that we celebrate today. , andpe that this display the display for this document, and its related documents around the country, will continue to aspire generations to learn, to .ebate, to respect i am not a governor. i am not a justice. i'm a citizen. i know one thing. thing,ory tells us one in the decades ahead, there will be hard times. there will be crises, there will be fears. they will challenge our beliefs. documentsplay of this is some small way here in
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philadelphia helps to remind us to hold to those truths, to those principles and rights that will see us through whatever dark days may come, and what we well worthay will be while. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much tony. we are thrilled by our collaboration. thrilled to share this joint commitment to constitutional education. it is now my great pleasure to introduce my friend and co-author, david rubenstein. david rubenstein has generously lent us a stone declaration of independence.
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perhaps he will tell us about the prominence of that store, we. he came to the national constitution center last fall. i decided to interview him about the relationship between the constitution of the declaration of the bill of rights. our conversation was so riveting . he has such a gift for explaining the ideas that animate these founding documents to his students of all ages. we decided to transcribe the conversation and to write it up, to use it as the script for the exhibit you will see. this is the real reason i have gathered you. to use it as the introduction to our national constitution center pocket constitution and create a pamphlet we will distribute in the gallery and online on our incredible site that will make this available to students across the land, so they can read in clear language about how the rights were implicit in the
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constitution and codified in the bill of rights. being yournjoyed co-author, and i'm so grateful to you for your patriotic philanthropy and your engagement with the national constitution center. please join me in welcoming david rubenstein. [applause] >> last week and i have the honor at the smithsonian to interview a man named jim buckle. you may know of him. the pilot on apollo you have seen the movie. i asked him, did nasa know 13 is an unlucky number? the apollo 13. you have seen the movie. i asked him about apollo eight. apollo eight was the first time
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that any human had ever left the orbit of the earth and had gone orbit.other being's some of you may remember this. at the end of 1968, a difficult year. he and his copilot became the man of the year for time magazine. as they went around the dark side of the moon, they came around and saw an earthrise. no one had ever seen earthrise before. in itsw the earth beauty, it's blue and white. no human had ever seen the earth in that picture before. 240,000 miles away. he put his thumb up and realized that the sum was able to block the entire earth. realized, how small and insignificant the earth really is. what is the likelihood that life would exist on any one planet,
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anyone solar system, anyone galaxy? as i thought about it, i thought it is similar to bringing 57 human beings together, in philadelphia, for four months, and telling them to come up with a new way to govern this country. the odds were about the same. one in a billion. wanted a billion there is human life somewhere else. one of the billion -- one in a billion you could get people to come up with a new system of governing that is still operating more or less. before the constitution was developed, there had never been anything like it. since then, there has been nothing like it. we are still operating largely through that constitution. i think that constitution, because of its guarantees and the structure of the government,
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and able this country to become what it has become. we open at a two to those 57 individuals. think about this. they were told they had to stay for most of the summer. they did. three did not sign it. 54 signed it. why didn't they sign it? three of them, randolph from virginia, mason from virginia, and terry from massachusetts -- perry from massachusetts said there is no bill of rights. it was not certain that this document would be ratified. it was not certain at all. the process was very difficult. it was only ratified because there was the bill of rights. it was agreed by certain states they would ratify on the presumption there would be a bill of rights. james madison, who worked very hard to get the ratification in virginia, and it occurred very narrowly, he drafted not 12 amendments, he drafted 39
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amendments. 12 of them got through both houses. they ultimately were approved by the states, and they became part of our system of government. without the bill of rights, i think our constitution would not be what it is. it is a unique set of freedoms and rights. all of us are privileged to be in a country that has these rights and these freedoms, and everybody should think about how unusual it is that a country like this, all of us who have risen up from probably modest circumstances, could rise up and do what we have done, protected by the bill of rights and the extraordinary system the ourtitution developed for government. the constitution had a fatal flaw in many ways. in addition to not having a bill of rights, it did not have an adequate way to address slavery. we suffered the consequences of that for many years, entering the civil war. and it istion aside,
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a terrible exception, the constitution is an incredible living document, one that has given us the country we have. i would like to briefly talk about one thing just mentioned, the declaration of independence. try the constitution, they to do the same thing. they both try to overthrow a government. one peacefully, and one by war. the declaration of independence was agreed -- drafted by thomas jefferson. he was given 17 days to do it, and he did it like most people, in the last three or four days. [laughter] he drafted it, gave it to his committee to edit. it was edited modestly by benjamin franklin and john adams, and then he waited for it to be voted on. continentalsecond congress voted for independence, and john adams brought home to his wife abigail. he said, "today will be the day
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american history will remember forever. today is the day we will remember forever. july 2." that was the day they voted to be independent. they then took up the document thomas jefferson drafted. in his view, they mutilated it. he did not like to publicly talk. as president, she only made one public speech. he had a high and squeaky voice, so he never spoke in public much. he didn't speak that they when they were relating his document. he later sent the document to his friends and said, don't you think it is better? ultimately they agreed to it on july 4, then they went next door to a printer and said, would you print up 200 copies of this, so one can go to the king of england, one can go to george washington, one can go to every state, and people can no why we are being independent. in that document, the most famous sentence in the english line which appeared. it became the guiding spirit for
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the constitution, the guiding spirit for our country. "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." the idea that all people all equal, was a guiding principle that guided us for many years. though we have not achieved it perfectly, we are making more progress in this direction than any other country of our size or type. it was thomas jefferson who drafted that document. after it was just repeated, it was -- distributed, it was decided the members would come back and sign it. they signed the declaration of independence in august. that document is in the archives, but it was fading. as it was fading, john quincy adams said they had to make a perfect copy, because it had been treated poorly and was almost burned in the war of 1812
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when the british were invading. it was safely stored, but it was fading. so they made 200 perfect copies in 1832, called stone copies, after the printer mr. stone. there are 35 of them left. whenever you see a copy of the declaration of independence, you are seeing a stone copy, which is now here. a perfect replica, made by a process where they took a wet cloth to the original declaration of independence and took off half the ink, ruining further the original declaration of independence, but they made a perfect copy, and now we have perfect copy so people can see it. the declaration of independence was designed to overthrow the government. the constitution was designed to overthrow the government a peaceful way. let me conclude with two points. i have the privilege of knowing many people who served as president.
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i worked in the white house for one, and i worked with a number of others. i have gotten to know george herbert walker bush, and i would say he is by far the nicest person who ever served as president that either met. the nicest person i ever met who served as president. i thought about it over the years, he is the nicest person i ever met, not just president. she is a person who has enormous generosity for other people -- he is a person who has norma's generosity for other people, obviously a person we would call a great american. had he been around in the 1700's , he would have been a founding father. there is no doubt in my mind that he would have been the kind of person the states would have said, you have to go to the second consonantal -- continental congress. you work on the constitutional convention. i think he would have been a spectacular founding father. so i want to pay respects, because he is extraordinary in
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what he has done for our country. the kind of person you could say, what are the founding fathers like? if you know george herbert walker bush, you know what a founding father was like. finally, i would like everyone to do what they can to remind history we great have in this country. reminding people that it is important to give your time, your energy, your money -- because we can't let our children and grandchildren not know about our history. today, so few children know about the history of our country. so if you know about the american revolution. so few know about the bill of rights, the constitution. if you look at what children learn today, compared to what they should know. so the extent that any of you can contribute to awareness of this kind of thing, i regarded as patriotic philanthropy. a very important thing to think about doing.
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for your children, your grandchildren, our country. when john kennedy gave his inaugural address -- "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." that is as true today as it was then. withe end of that speech, history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to leave the land we love with his blessing and his help, but knowing that here on earth god's work must truly be our own. we have to recognize that god's work is reminding people of the great freedoms we have because of the constitution, the bill of rights, and the extraordinary country we have. it is to all of us to do something to remind people and help people that way -- we are doing god's work on earth. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, david, for that
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passionate defense of patriotic philanthropy, and beautiful tribute to president bush. david mentioned there was one wrong that had to be righted in the original constitution. that was the effacement of slavery. i'm about to put david to work again. the 13th amendment, which turns 150 next year, abolished slavery. david generously agreed to loan us the 13th amendment, and we will have another conversation about this. it is important in its relation to the bill of rights. to do.ere's what i want i want to create the only gallery committed to the constitutional legacy of reconstruction in america. we will have three copies of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments abolishing slavery, guaranteeing equality, and giving african-americans the right to vote. we will combine that with civil war artifacts, and i think it
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will be thrilling to teach americans that reconstruction amendments are just as central to our constitutional tradition as the bill of rights. that's the next big project for the constitutional center. it is now my great honor to introduce our keynote speaker, justice samuel alito. thes the 110th justice of supreme court, and our circuit justice here in the third circuit, where he sat before becoming a social justice in 2006. he is a devoted friend of pennsylvania and of the third circuit. he gave a keynote address at our circuit conference last spring, one of the funniest i ever heard. he is coming to us from new haven, where he participated in what sounded like a pretty raucous panel at the old law school-- yale law involving other justices. he was asked what was the most inspirational book you've ever two, and he said, i keep
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inspirational books. my grandfather's son by justice thomas, and my beloved world by justice sotomayor. [laughter] he is respected and feared by supreme court advocates, because he always asks the most pointed and relevant questions that get to the heart of the case. we are honored he is here tonight. wonderful and vivacious wife, martha. it was wonderful to talk to you. we are absolutely honored he agreed to address us tonight on the suspect -- subject of the bill of rights. welcome me in joining justice samuel alito. [applause]
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>> thank you, for the introduction. thank you for inviting me here. it is wonderful to be a part of this celebration. this is a great event. leapedwas invited, and i at the opportunity to come, what came to my mind were a number of connections between things that are relevant to tonight's event. i'm going to speak for a short time, but what i do want to talk about are some of those connections. first -- the first are personal. pardon me if i begin with a couple personal connections to tonight's event. this has been an important night for me in the work that i do for many years. i have been deciding cases involving the bill of rights, and i have been looking at both pocket versions of the constitution like this, and i
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have taken it on faith that their version of the bill of rights is actually what was adopted by congress and ratified by the states. today i had the opportunity to look at an original and verify that there really aren't any discrepancies. [laughter] that has been important to me. another personal connection is, in 1990 i was appointed to the united states court of appeals for the third circuit, a wonderful court which is headquartered right across the street, by president george w. bush.- george h.w. i am grateful for him giving me the opportunity. as a result, i spent a lot of very satisfying days in this historic city and this historic part of the city, and i learned something interesting to me personally during my period, not a
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period i would like to relive, but it had a few hot points. a newspaper hired a genealogist, and it was discovered that my paternal grandmother and my father came to the united states through philadelphia. they landed here just a short distance away, at the port of philadelphia. so philadelphia is meaningful to me for those reasons. those are just personal connections. what i want to talk about our connections between what we are celebrating here today, the exhibit of an original copy of the bill of rights, and today's events. what i want to talk about our connections between the bill of rights and two great historic american cities, and also connections between the bill of rights and the president. you can probably guess which cities in which president i'm
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going to talk about. the first of the cities as new york, which of course is connected to this event because the new york public library is very graciously loaning its copy of the bill of rights to the exhibit here. and i'm sure we are all very grateful to that great institution for allowing that to happen. but there's another very important connection to the city of new york. new york was our nations capital in 1789 when congress adopted the amendments which later became the bill of rights, and sent those amendments to the states for ratification. so new york city can claim the title as the birthplace of the bill of rights. the other city is philadelphia. that's where we are. that's where this copy of the bill of rights is going to be exhibited in the national constitution center. but philadelphia also has deeper connections to the bill of rights.
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most of these have already been mentioned, but i think they bear repetition. this seed that became the bill of rights was planted here wheniladelphia in 1776, the continental congress adopted the declaration of independence. as we know, and as david rubenstein reminded us, the declaration of independence proclaimed that every person has certain unalienable rights. the bill of rights codifies the promise of the declaration of independence. rightsfies unalienable that are precious to us as americans. the bill of rights also represents the completion of the work that was done across the street in independence hall during the hot summer of 1787. the, of course, was where body of our constitution was adopted and sent to the states for ratification.
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we all know the story. when the body of the constitution was completed, there were those who thought that it was not complete, that the new, more powerful federal government that was created by the constitution would threaten the liberty of the people, and therefore they thought it was imperative that there be explicit guarantees of rights in the constitution. on the other hand, there were those who thought the structure of the new government framed by the constitution, limitations of federal authority and separation of powers, the system of dual sovereignty, provided better protection and sufficient protection for the rights of the people. both of those groups were powerful, and ultimately what occurred was a compromise. the constitution was ratified, and david rubenstein reminded us, it was ratified on the
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understanding that a bill of rights would be promptly framed and adopted, and that is what happened. today we can see, both of those groups were perceptive. on the one hand, the government has grown to a size that the founding generation could never have imagined, and the bill of rights is needed to keep the federal government and state governments in check, to make sure they do not violate precious individual rights. at the same time, without the governmental structure that the constitution created, the bill of rights would be like an arm without a body. constitutional provisions protecting individual rights are worse than useless if they are not backed by a governmental structure to enforce those rights. that brings me to the third connection between the bill of rights and the city of philadelphia. by the time the first 10
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amendments were ratified, the national capital had moved from new york to philadelphia, and it was here, across the street, that the supreme court heard its first cases. it had met in a very brief session in new york and adopted internal rules, but after that the capital moved to philadelphia, the supreme court moved to philadelphia, the supreme court heard its first cases across the street. it was not long after that, in the mid-1790's, that the court began to hear arguments about the provisions of the bill of rights. they were put into operation in that way. this brings me to the president to whom i referred. i don't think it is a mystery who i'm talking about. i'm talking about president george herbert walker bush. what is his connection here? first of all, we witnessed the unveiling of the president george h.w. bush gallery.
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so that is a connection. but there are two others i want to talk about. the first is something of a curiosity, and it relates to things that have been discussed. the amendments that we call the bill of rights were sent to the states for ratification on september 25, 1789. congress and 12 amendments to the states, but the states originally ratified only 10 amendments. amendments, ite is certainly true that the first to really don't seem -- two really don't seem to fit in with what we consider the bill of rights. has still not it been ratified and probably never will be. [laughter] the second, which also does not fit with the provisions of the bill of rights, had a different
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history. it was finally ratified by the requisite number of states on 200-plus years after it was originally sent out by congress. it has to do with congressional pay. it provides that if congress gives it self a pay raise, it will not take effect until another election. in any event, we know who was president of the united states on may 7, 1992, president george h.w. bush. that is a connection between him and the bill of rights. the second also concerns the day. -- date. but it is much more than a curiosity. in office onh was the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the bill of rights, december 12, 1991. and he took dedication to point out something that is very important, namely the connection
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between our bill of rights and the rights of people everywhere. for a long time, what our constitution gave us, a declaration of rights that actually had teeth. that is what is unique about our bill of rights, it actually has teeth, it is actually put into operation, it is actually enforced. conceptng time, that was an oddity. themore than 150 years, idea that a legislative act is void if it infringes the right of the people found very few adherents anywhere else in the world. whererld war ii, president george h.w. bush fought with greatest nation as a pilot, changed that. the enormity of the evil perpetrated by the third reich,
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often under the veneer of peopley, prompted throughout the world to rethink the whole question of rights. and the american idea of an enforceable bill of rights began to catch on. powersthe former axis after world war ii adopted new democratic constitutions that protect human rights and provide for judicial review of constitutionality of government acts. then, after the collapse of the soviet union and the warsaw pact during president bush's term in office, the newly liberated nations of eastern europe followed suit. in his proclamation on the 200th anniversary of the bill of rights, on december 12, 1991, president bush noted that "the principles enshrined in the bill of rights have inspired the advance of freedom around the globe." when president bush issued a the greatest act
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in the history of human rights was just three days away. i'm sure that this was on president bush's mind when he issued a proclamation. 1991, the soviet union was officially dissolved. president bush was able to say in his proclamation that "today we stand closer than ever to achieving universal respect for human rights." that andlater, universal respect for human rights may not seem so close as it was in 1991. but still the promise of the bill of rights endures. and i hope this display of the bill of rights will help, if only in a small way, to move us closer to that goal. when visitors look at this document, i hope the experience
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will lead to a greater appreciation of their constitutional rights, and that will inspire the public to work preserve those rights. constitutional rights, the precious freedoms protected by the bill of rights, are always fragile. they are always threatened. the judiciary and others in government have a role to play in protecting those rights. but as a great jurist, a new liesr once wrote, "liberty in the hearts of men and women. when he dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can say that." -- can save it." mavis fan the flames of liberty in the hearts of all who see it in the upcoming years. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> justice, thank you so much for that inspiring, substantive speech, which so thoughtfully explore the relation between the structural provisions of the constitution and the rights that were enumerated. i love your metaphor of the bill of rights without the constitution like an arm without a body. that reminded us of the influence of the constitution on constitutions around the globe. the constitutions of post-world war ii powers adopted u.s. provisions -- you know have the opportunity, in previewing the exhibit, to check out the rights. you can put on the fourth amendment and see that general
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douglas macarthur literally cut and pasted it into the japanese constitution, the language is a must identical. this has been a thrilling evening, ladies and gentlemen. it has been an extension of the mission of the national unitetution center, to thoughtful people from all perspectives to visit, learn, debate, and most important of all, to participate in our shared enterprise of constitutional education and celebration of the document that binds and unites us as americans, the constitution, the declaration, and the bill of rights. i will welcome back to the members of the philadelphia orchestra to play the beautiful music. please join us in previewing the new gallery, and thank you for joining us in this magnificent evening. [applause] ♪
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[playing "stars and stripes forever"] ♪ ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >>, programs featuring healthties discussing and social issues, followed by the white house medal of freedom ceremony. later, a discussion on the free market, conservative values, and reality -- morality. on the next "washington journal," terry jeffrey discusses what he would like to see accomplished by the incoming republican-led congress. then, clarence cage talks about
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collection of his columns on race, politics, and social change. you can join the conversation when we take your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. >> "q&a" is 10 years old now. to mark a decade of conversations, we are featuring one interview from each year of over the holiday season. on friday, a conservative author on her work as a television pundit. >> here are some featured programs you will find this holiday weekend on the c-span networks. saturday night at 8:00 p.m. on c-span, supreme court justice elena kagan at princeton university. sunday evening on "q&a" glenn kessler on his end of the year biggest pinocchios of 2014
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awards. "reason"on book tv, magazine senior editor damon root on supreme court activism and judicial restraint. jonathan, book critic yardley, who recently retired after 33 years with the "washington post." tv,merican history historians and authors discuss president lincoln's 1864 reelection campaign. sunday afternoon on "real america," the 1965 film that chronicles the 84th infantry division during the battle of the bulge. find a complete schedule at, and let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. col us, e-mail at


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