The First Amendment to our Constitution was proposed by the 1788 Virginia ratification convention during its narrow 89 to 79 vote to ratify the Constitution. Virginia's resolution held that the free exercise of religion, right to assembly and free speech could not be canceled, abridged or restrained. These Madisonian principles were eventually ratified by the states on March 1, 1792.



The favorite leftist tool for the attack on our nation's founding is that slavery was sanctioned. They argue that the founders disregarded the promises of our Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”



Frederic Bastiat, a French economist and member of the French National Assembly, lived from 1801 to 1850. He had great admiration for our country, except for our two faults -- slavery and tariffs. He said: “Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person's liberty and property.” If Bastiat were alive today, he would not have that same level of admiration. The U.S. has become what he fought against for most of his short life.



Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seeking to represent New York's 14th Congressional District, has called for the abolition of the Electoral College. Her argument came on the heels of the Senate's confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. She was lamenting the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, nominated by George W. Bush, and Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, nominated by Donald Trump, were court appointments made by presidents who lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College vote.



One of the best statements of how the Framers saw the role of the federal government is found in Federalist Paper 45, written by James Madison, who is known as the "Father of the Constitution": "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people."



Once again, MSNBC prominently featured former Obama administration official Jeremy Bash as a nonpartisan intelligence analyst with an appearance on Wednesday’s The 11th Hour. Host Brian Williams swooned over Bash as an “institutionalist” while Bash warned that the Trump-Russia story “is a huge crisis” threatening “our Madisonian system of checks and balances.”



What would the Founders think of presumptive President-elect Donald Trump’s electoral vote victory, earned in the face of a popular vote loss? Hint: It’s not what many media commentators would have you believe. We can find a small clue to the Founders’ feelings in something Benjamin Franklin said as he left the Constitutional Convention. As delegates departed from the old Pennsylvania State House, a Philadelphia matron saw Franklin and called out: “Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin’s response was quick and memorable: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”



George Washington, our first president, is probably our greatest and most decent statesman. We celebrate Washington's Birthday each February. But March 16th marks the birthday of probably the second-most important and decent American, James Madison.



In a commentary masquerading as a news brief, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley took multiple shots at Indiana and its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) on Tuesday by complaining about the bill’s length and indirectly using the First Amendment to support opponents of the law: “We may have found the reason for all this confusion.” He complained it contains “eleven paragraphs, 62 lines, and 832 words” and then thumbed his nose at lawmakers by saying that “James Madison did more in 16 words” in writing the First Amendment.



Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, said: "The British are not coming. ... We don't need all these guns to kill people." Lewis' vision, shared by many, represents a gross ignorance of why the framers of the Constitution gave us the Second Amendment. How about a few quotes from the period and you decide whether our Founding Fathers harbored a fear of foreign tyrants.

Alexander Hamilton: "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed," adding later, "If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government." By the way, Hamilton is referring to what institution when he says "the representatives of the people"?



Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column titled "Free to Die" (9/15/2011), pointed out that back in 1980, his late fellow Nobel laureate Milton Friedman lent his voice to the nation's shift to the political right in his famous 10-part TV series, "Free To Choose." Nowadays, Krugman says, "'free to choose' has become 'free to die.'" He was referring to a GOP presidential debate in which Rep. Ron Paul was asked what should be done if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Paul correctly, but politically incorrectly, replied, "That's what freedom is all about — taking your own risks." CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer pressed his question further, asking whether "society should just let him die." The crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of "Yeah!", which led Krugman to conclude that "American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions." Professor Krugman is absolutely right; our nation is faced with a conflict of moral visions. Let's look at it.



According to Chris Matthews, the fact that racists have during the history of the nation invoked the rights of the states to perpetuate slavery or segregation immediately renders all proponents of states' rights -- a pillar of federalism and the American Constitution -- racist.

While Matthews and his Hardball guests on Tuesday cited names like Jim Crow and John Calhoun and compared them to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Deborah Medina, Perry's libertarian-leaning opponent in the upcoming GOP primary, the names of the nation's founders -- who were ardent advocates of states' rights -- were conspicuously absent.

Matthews claimed to give his viewers a lesson in the meanings of "interposition" and "nullification" as they relate to the rights of the states and the Constitution. But he didn't say what they meant.

He just read a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. mentioning those terms as they related to the civil rights movement (video below the fold - h/t Liz Blaine of NewsReal).