August 20, 1787: 225 Years and We’re Still Arguing
A bill of rights, the president’s appointment power, the trouble with a “necessary and proper” clause, and the definition of treason were all debated on that hot day in Philadelphia.
The time had come to take up debate on many of the controversial subjects that were left undecided in the first draft of the Constitution presented to the body by the Committee of Detail.
Among the first items on the list was the inclusion of a bill of rights in the Constitution. Charles Pinckney of South Carolina rose and proposed 12 items for inclusion in such a bill. Among the rights named in Pinckey’s bill were freedom of the press, restrictions on the suspension of habeas corpus, subordination of the military to the civil power, and that “no religious test or qualification shall ever be annexed to any oath of office under the authority of the U. S.”