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Yesterday was Bill of Rights Day

At their website yesterday, the Cato Institute told us, “December 15 was Bill of Rights Day — a highly appropriate time to consider the state of our constitutional safeguards. In major newspaper ads running in the Wall Street Journal, Politico, Roll Call, The Hill, and the Washington Examiner, the Cato Institute details the vulnerabilities our safeguards face and the government's intrusion into what our Founders and Framers of the Constitution intended to be some of our most precious individual rights. Cato is proud, on this day, to help revive and energize the idea that the Constitution authorizes a government of delegated, enumerated and thus limited powers.

The Cato Institute that ran in the newspapers mentioned above is available here (requires Adobe) and at the blog post by Cato scholar Tim Lynch at Cato@Liberty (there's a short video on the Bill of Rights), saying that it’s “an appropriate time to consider the state of our Constitutional safeguards.” In addition, Cato senior fellow Nat Henthoff wrote the essay, “Bill of Rights Day: What’s Left of Them.” The essay begins with this insight:

“John Jay, the co-writer of the Federalist Papers and the first chief justice of the United States (1789-95), wrote in a 1786 letter to Thomas Jefferson that he was worried that under our evolving founding document that became the Constitution, Congress would have exorbitant power.

“These three great departments of sovereignty,” he told Jefferson, “should be forever separated and so distributed to serve as checks on each other.”

“The separation of powers was indeed embodied in the Constitution, but especially in the Bush and Obama administrations, the executive branch has been so disproportionately and unilaterally strengthened that I urge the Cato Institute to actively redistribute, with a short epilogue, its 2008 book by Gene Healy, The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power. It can make for more crucially discerning voters in 2012.”

For other resources, visit the Bill of Rights Institute. The Cato Institute has other resources, including such books as "The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom" and "How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution."


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