Today is the 225th anniversary of the passage of the Bill of Rights. Too many Americans don’t even know what the first ten amendments to the Constitution say, let alone the reason why these were so important to the founding of this nation.
This bill encourages the display of our national motto and the Bill of Rights in classrooms and other areas of public school buildings. This is already settled law; the Supreme Court has ruled as recently as 2010 that our motto is a “secular phrase” reflecting our spiritual and patriotic heritage and, does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, but many schools are still hesitant to post our national motto for fear of an ACLU lawsuit!
Twelve amendments were sent to the states for approval in August of 1789. Of those 12, 10 were quickly ratified. Virginia’s legislature became the last to ratify the amendments on December 15, 1791. This was only fitting as the Virginia Declaration of Rights had greatly influenced James Madison as he worked on writing the Bill of Rights.
Last night the Allegheny County Council voted 8-6 to prohibit the posting of our Nation’s Motto — In God We Trust — the Bill of Rights, E Pluribus Unum and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s motto — Virtue, Liberty and Independence. All Democrats present except one, Bill Robinson, voted against the resolution that would have allowed the posting of the above mentioned. John Palmiere, a Democrat from Baldwin who was a sponsor, did not attend the meeting. Additionally, Democrat Dr. Charles Martoni, a co-sponsor of the resolution, voted against it saying the more he “looked at it”, the more he saw that it was unnecessary.