December 15th is Bill of Rights Day. But while we celebrate one of the most powerful and historical documents, we must always be ready to advocate, debate, and speak out to defend these rights. And so New York City’s Greatest Debaters will come together in December at theBronx Defenders, one of the leading national organizations dedicated to the struggle for individual rights and liberties. The debate topics for the night include the Dream Act and immigration rights and New York City’s Stop and Frisk laws. The Bronx Defenders provides innovative, holistic, and client-centered criminal defense, family defense, civil legal services, social work support and advocacy to indigent people of the Bronx. Today, their staff of nearly 200 represents 30,000 individuals each year and reaches hundreds more through outreach programs and community legal education. In the Bronx and beyond, The Bronx Defenders promotes justice in low-income communities by keeping families together. (excerpted from Bronx Defenders website)
(Excerpted from Wikipedia) – President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendmentsto the United States Constitution. The amendments were introduced by James Madison to the 1st United States Congress as a series of legislative articles. They were adopted by the House of Representatives on August 21, 1789, formally proposed by joint resolution of Congress on September 25, 1789, and came into effect as Constitutional Amendments on December 15, 1791, through the process of ratification by three-fourths of the states. While twelve amendments were proposed by Congress, only ten were originally ratified by the states. Of the remaining two, one was adopted 203 years later as the Twenty-seventh Amendment, and the other technically remains pending before the states.
The Bill of Rights enumerates freedoms not explicitly indicated in the main body of the Constitution, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, a free press, and free assembly; the right to keep and bear arms; freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, security in personal effects, and freedom from warrants issued without probable cause; indictment by a grand jury for any capital or “infamous crime”; guarantee of a speedy, public trial with an impartial jury; and prohibition of double jeopardy. In addition, the Bill of Rights reserves for the people any rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution and reserves all powers not specifically granted to the federal government to the people or the States. The Bill was influenced by George Mason‘s 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights, the English Bill of Rights 1689, and earlier English political documents such as Magna Carta (1215).