by Andrew P. Napolitano
“If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned.” — Justice George Sutherland (1862-1942)
In his 2008 book “Taking Rights Seriously,” the late professor Ronald Dworkin explored the origins and governmental treatment of human liberty. He argued that Thomas Jefferson — who wrote the Declaration of Independence — and James Madison — the scrivener at the Constitutional Convention and the author of the Bill of Rights — were clear in their articulations that the premise of America at its birth is that our rights are personal and natural because they come from our humanity, not from the government.
Dworkin also recognized that government, which is essentially the negation of liberty, is only moral and valid when it enjoys the consent of the governed, respects individual rights as inalienable and interferes with them only after it proves fault to a jury at a fair trial.