Implicit Community

Today, an implicit community was defined. When the Bill of Rights was ratified on this day in 1791, the first ten amendments were added to the American Constitution (the Constitution having been adopted only four years earlier). Principled and quite heated debate had gone on for just over nine months, and involved both the Founding Fathers (many of whom were still having trouble with the Constitution), and the rising stars of the next generation of American governance. Twelve amendments were ...

Questioning Authority

Today, an ultimate arbiter joined the debate. It reads almost like an afterthought: The “judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court,” read the Constitution, adding that Congress had the power to figure out what it meant (along with establishing however many “lesser” courts it deemed necessary). The nation’s first leaders were so worried about what those words meant that they dedicated half of the Bill of Rights to cautions and qualifiers on judicial power. ...