The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791, which makes today the 225th anniversary of being signed into law. The Bill of Rights protects the interests of minorities from oppression by tyrannical majorities. This is why we are not really a democracy, but a constitutional republic.
If a majority decides that a minority should not be entitled to the same rights as the majority, or promotes some rationalization of the difference as not being a valid difference, that minority can appeal to the courts for relief. On the other hand, there are no absolute rights, which would invalidate all other rights.
You can be executed for a crime you did not commit, even if you can prove that you are innocent. You have to appeal to the governor or president for intervention. As the Supreme Court decided –
Held: Herrera’s claim of actual innocence does not entitle him to federal habeas relief. Pp. 6-28.
Due process of law does not require that the innocent be set free. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are not to be found in the American Constitution. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are not to be found in the Bill of Rights.
Rights also come with responsibilities. We need to respect the rights of others, no matter how much we might think that others cannot be trusted to make those decisions, while we claim to be able to make these same decisions, not just for ourselves, but for others.
If people of different races want to marry, the state governments are not permitted to use their authority to sanction marriages to deprive citizens of their right to marry based on tradition. States rights have limitations, just as individual rights have limitations.
Discriminating against citizens of a politically incorrect group for decades, or even centuries, is not a justification for continuing to deprive them of equal treatment under the law.
Others may use their freedom, which always comes with responsibilities, in ways we do not like, but that is part of the price of freedom.
Even though slavery was legal at the time of ratification of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, and is still endorsed by the Bible, we have recognized that slavery is bad. Our Constitution caught up with a lot of the rest of the world.
The Bible still endorses slavery and says that I can sell my daughter as a sex slave.
What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books. – Sigmund Freud
The Bill of Rights is much better than the Bible. Go blaspheme in celebration of the Bill of Rights, which protects us from those who would burn us, or our writing, or otherwise punish us for being honest.
In criminal cases, thetrial is the paramount event for determining the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Where, as here, a defendant has been afforded a fair trial and convicted of the offense for which he was charged, the constitutional presumption of innocence disappears. Federal habeas courts do not sit to correct errors of fact, but to ensure that individuals are not imprisoned in violation of the Constitution. See, e.g., Moore v. Dempsey, 261 U.S. 86, 87-88. Thus, claims of actual innocence based on newly discovered evidence have never been held to state a ground for federal habeas relief absent an independent constitutional violation occurring in the course of the underlying state criminal proceedings.