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Eleven Score Years Ago

The First Congress, fulfilling an agreement made to secure ratification, proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution on September 25, 1789.  (See here and here.)  Ten of them (originally numbered III to XII) were ratified 220 years ago today.  These ten are known as the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights was not, of course, intended to be a "detailed code of criminal procedure," as Judge Friendly noted the Supreme Court had made it by 1970.  There is nothing in it about letting the murderer go free because the constable blunders.  It most certainly does not forbid a police officer to ask an arrestee if he wants to talk about a crime merely because he has previously asked for a lawyer for an unrelated crime.

So today let us raise a glass to the real Bill of Rights and renew our resolve to scrape the barnacles from the hull.

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