Friday, August 17, 2012

Half a Loaf

Here's a intriguing piece I came across in a new book, Endowed by Our Creator - The Birth Of Religious Freedom in America (pgs 162-63), by Michael I. Meyerson:
[In a series of written exchanges between Madison and Thomas Jefferson regarding the purposefulness of securing a bill of rights] Jefferson tried to respond to Madison's doubts. First he wrote, there was a third benefit to a bill of rights. Jefferson understood, well ahead of most people, that judicial review might be able to protect minority rights. As he told Madison: "You omit one which has great weight with me, the legal check which it puts into the hands of the judiciary" <TJ to JM, Mar 15, 1789, PTJ 14:14:659> In answer to Madison's concern that they would not be able to obtain the guarantees of rights "in the requisite latitude," Jefferson agreed, but also argued from necessity: "Half a loaf is better than no bread. If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can." The centuries old battle over the meaning of the first amendment is in many ways a battle how much of that loaf Madison was able to secure.

1 comment:

CYFFR said...

We've been studying IT in our New World blog and agree that this is probably one of he best descriptions of "The centuries old battle" that CYFFR has ever seen.