Supreme Court Justice Scalia: Constitution, Not Bill of Rights, Makes Us Free

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To hear Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tell it, America’s freedoms don’t come from freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

It’s not the right to bear arms that keeps us free, nor is it the right to “be secure … against unreasonable search and seizure” or to a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.”

The reason America’s basic freedom has endured for more than 200 years, Scalia said Friday in a speech to the Federalist Society in Morristown, N.J., is not the amendments to the Constitution but the Constitution itself.

“Every tin horn dictator in the world today, every president for life, has a Bill of Rights,” said Scalia, author of the recently released “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.” “That’s not what makes us free; if it did, you would rather live in Zimbabwe. But you wouldn’t want to live in most countries in the world that have a Bill of Rights. What has made us free is our Constitution. Think of the word ‘constitution;’ it means structure.”

That’s why America’s framers debated not the Bill of Rights during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, he said, but rather the structure of the federal government.

“The …read more