North Korea is outraged over an upcoming conference in Washington DC about its human rights abuses, to which it has not been invited.
Pyongyang strongly denies that it has been alienating the human rights…David Cameron is riding into the 2015 election campaign with a promise to finally fulfil one of the Conservatives’ 2010 manifesto commitments: to repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act, restore the sovereignty…
Guarantees of freedom of speech, press, religion, and so on might imply that these were the only freedoms to which citizens were entitled.
Others said that the federal government could never be in a position to interfere with personal rights—those protections belonged in state constitutions—and that the Constitution should say nothing about them.
What this American set of freedoms has in common is its enshrinement in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the federal Constitution, ratified in 1791.
These principles have not only come to seem as natural as the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence; after more than two centuries, they have the authority of Scripture.The arguments over the Bill of Rights were sometimes bitter, beginning with whether the federal government should protect individual rights at all.The framers considered opening the Constitution with a list of natural rights, following the lead of most of the state constitutions, but decided against it. When lawmakers want to distinguish representative democracy from oppressive police states, they tell stories about unreasonable search and seizure and cruel and unusual punishment. When American secretaries of state want to highlight abusive judicial systems, they note the lack of guarantees of due process, jury trials, and protection against self-incrimination.The document they sent to the states for ratification in 1787 had little to say on the subject.That surprised John Adams, then in England, who wrote to Thomas Jefferson, then in Paris, “What think you of a Declaration of Rights? ” Jefferson agreed: he found much to like about the new plan for a federal government, but he objected to “the omission of a bill of rights.” He wrote to his fellow Virginian, James Madison, the Constitution’s primary author, that “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no government should refuse, or rest on inference.” Events proved that Adams and Jefferson, from across the Atlantic, were more in tune with popular opinion than the members of the Constitutional Convention.The battle lines were drawn, Federalists on one side and Antifederalists on the other.Federalists called for immediate ratification of the Constitution without amendment, but their united front concealed differences of opinion: some thought a bill of rights an essential first order of business for the new Congress, some believed it unnecessary but harmless, and others thought it an evil to be avoided.The original second article, concerning the compensation of members of Congress, finally became law on May 7, 1992.Congress never passed the original first amendment, which concerned the number of constituents for each representative.