The ENTIRE Bill of Rights

Not “selected readings from,” goddammit!

Via comes this heartwarming story from Chapel Hill, N.C.:

Assembly honors Bill of Rights

Local dignitaries read the amendments, Raging Grannies sang and petitioners petitioned in a celebration of our basic freedoms.

Peaceably assembling in front of the Franklin Street post office just before noon on Monday were two mayors, Town Council members both incumbent and newly elected, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, some representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, a half-dozen outlandishly decked-out 60ish women, a grad student dressed as the Statue of Liberty, and three tambourine-shaking followers of Hare Krishna.

All gathered to honor the First Amendment — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly — and the next nine amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which together make up the Bill of Rights.

Well, not the Hare Krishna folks, who headed off before the solemnities begin. But all the rest were here to celebrate the 212th anniversary of the ratification of this statement of America’s fundamental liberties by reading it out loud.

It’s a cheerful event with serious undertones. Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, in sunglasses and a long brown coat, read the preamble and passed the copy along down a row of local dignitaries, each of whom read one amendment.

Charles Kast from the ACLU, looking a tad sheepish, read the Second Amendment, the one about the right to bear arms. Later, he said he was the only one willing to read it. Yes, he does believe in it, though he doesn’t own a gun.

Also among the amendment readers were incoming council member Sally Greene, incumbent Bill Strom, Aaron Nelson from the Chamber of Commerce, Margaret Misch of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson.

Bet your ass Ms. Misch was one who didn’t want to read the Second Amendment.

Once again, I’m reminded of Judge Kozinski’s dissent in Silveira v. Lockyer:

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it’s using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.

The same holds true for all those who ostensibly support the Bill of Rights. Support it all, or risk losing it all piecemeal.

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