F. Lee BaileyF. Lee Bailey, (1933-) American trial attorney

F. Lee Bailey Quote

“Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn't even get out of committee.”

F. Lee BaileyF. Lee Bailey
~ F. Lee Bailey

Newsweek, 17 April 1967

Ratings and Comments

katlyn, waynesboro

it is good

Mike, Norwalk

The entire premise in which government operates today is as a democratic oligarchy, totally and completely repugnant to the Republic. Today's congress, elected to serve and protect the master state, uniquely moves to limit the once sovereign. In the Constitutional Congress that passed the 10 Amendments, they sought only to limit the government in serving and protecting the rights of its/their sovereign(s).

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

I forget when but didn't Bailey somehow prove himself to be a creep? Paula you hit a responsive chord in me with your concern about negativity and you elicted the editors interest. The proof of our freedom and the wonderful nature of our DEMOCRACY is right here on this site where all these ornery and angry folks can write in. The successes of the wise men who have gathered in Washington, DC for the better part of 231 years is undeniable. The institution established by the Declaration and the Constitution is the oldest DEMOCRACY in the world. This legislative body purchased the Lousiana Territory, Alaska, oversaw conflicts like the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea etc. Built the Panama Canal and put a human being on the moon. YOU WILL NEVER SEE ANY GRATITUDE FROM MOST ON THIS SITE. Bailey is not up on present matters of the US defense of the Bill of Rights around the world, from protecting Scientologists rights in Germany and the execution of a war agains religious radicals (criminals) while at the same time protecting Muslims rights in the homeland. This is the greatest deliberative body ever established and still is. What we need is a new electorate.

warren, olathe

He is absolutely right if you apply the quote to today’s congress. The quote was obviously from the 60's. At that time I would suspect his quote was a bit of a stretch

E Archer, NYC

Contrary to popular belief, the United States of America is not nor was it ever intended to be a Democracy. People like Waffler know little about the nature of Republican government and specifically the US Constitution. The Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights is the rule book for government -- not the People. Read it! Today the Constitution is twisted to imply that it grants rights and therefore can take away the rights of the People. Every proposed Amendment in the last few decades has been to impose rules against the People (i.e. flag burning, marriage amendments, and other restrictions on freedom). The Congress of today does not place ANY restriction upon itself (where is the Balanced Budget Amendment we have been promised by both parties?), and Congress attempts to place more and more restrictions on the People. Why should it voluntarily restrict itself? It doesn't! People like Waffler ought to consider taking care of themselves instead of taking care of other people who don't want their help. Congress does not deliberate anything but how to spend the money they borrow on the backs of our children for unconstitutional programs. I agree that today the US is a democracy where the people vote themselves money -- thus as Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson warned, we have lost our Republic. We have become economically and ideologically bankrupt.

Paula, Grand Rapids, MI

sophistication isn't everything!

Jimmy Lee, Phylo, MO

Who the hell is this joker?

J Carlton, Calgary

The success of the nation has more to do with the drive and ingenuity of a free people than with any other aspect. A smaller government style letting people do what they do best, which is produce, has always worked well. But now with the largest government in the history of the nation, we have a crashing economy that has had its industrial base sold to overseas concernes...all with the cooperation of the Government. That's "Democracy in Action" these days. In a free constitutional republic you have liberty, production and individual prosperity. That comes naturally in a "Republic" Which is what America was and is supposed to be. So, F. Lee Bailey aside, no I don't think the Bill of Rights would have been passed by today's Congress, they seem busy enough trying to bury all memory of it anyhow.

Logan, Memphis, TN

The more involved the U.S. becomes globally in matters that the Constitution gives no authority in, the steeper the opportunity costs. Who pays for these costs? We The People do. Although U.S. currency doesn't officially grow on trees, it's just as easily printed on the Federal Reserve's printing presses. We can clearly see just how easily money is printed as the Fed drops interest rates, while the value of our dollar plummets. I have no gratitude, but contempt, for elected officials who overstep and usurp their stated authority given to them by the people through the Constitution. Never were we to figure what we can "get" from the government, but rather to figure what it is taking away from us -- this is a simple economic principle. The United States is not a "democracy" nor is it a "democratic republic"!! Read your Constitution! Once you take time to actually read your own Constitution, you'll find that there is only ONE guarantee found in the entire document: Article IV Section IV. Once you have read this, try to find out what the differences between a REPUBLIC and a DEMOCRACY are! Read history! Read the philosophy of political historians who defined the language and terms that you so ignorantly use! Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are based on natural and inalienable laws as given by "our Creator," not arbitrary government. What does this mean? Go look it up in a book! The foundation of our government today, with all it espouses and promotes, is now based on the premise that government grants liberty and freedom. As it has been stated before, "The U.S. Constitution poses no threat to our current form of government." Don't believe me? What is a license than a permission of privilege? Where did the government get the POWER to grant privilege? The people don't have the power to give it to the government, and if the government gets its power from the people, where did it come from? Don't believe me? Why don't you spend some time reviewing the legal dictionaries over the last 200 years and see the change in legal terms for "license" or "privilege"! I suggest Black's Law Dictionary. Why don't you read the words of the founders of this nation who deplored democracy and nation building more than they did a monarchy and tyranny! Before you get on your soapbox, make sure you're educated in the history of what you speak of! Why don't you read Machiavelli who wrote of the quick collapse of Democracies and the longevity of Republics? As for the United States' ability of producing "democracy" all over the world, I will be glad to suggest a library of books for you reading pleasure that will show you the cost of U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. There was once a time when the United States stood tall, respected, and honored; however, due to the application of the new neocon and liberal philosophies, the United States is quickly becoming one of the most hated countries in the world. It is ignorant Americans who do not understand the paradigm shift of the consequences of an American Republic to an American Empire that do the most harm to this country, because of the false ideologies they ignorantly support. The United States of America has risen to be the greatest and most powerful nation ever known; however, there is a cost and responsibility to such power. Take a lesson from history, and learn that freedom, liberty, and responsibility are best espoused outside of democracy. Bailey may not be up on current matters of government, but this statement is philosophically and empirically perfect. Our government no longer exists on the same premise, foundation, or understanding of its heritage. The United States no longer operates on the principles of a Republic, but on the foundations of an Empire. If you don't understand what this means, then you'd better grab some books and start reading.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Republic means: re=return, redo, try again go back as in the words re treat, re align, re sew. Re anything means to do again. So a re public is a form of government that always goes back or re turns to the people. The source of power is the people. If you read your dictionary you will find that the two words REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRACY ARE THE SAME THING. If you don't like either one of those words maybe you prefer government of, by and for. I have little hope for us or the human race if we cannot agree on this. Apparently there is some secret political coded meaning by those who wish to make such a difference between two words that the dictionary says mean the same thing. Please inform me.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Arcner I agree with you about the stupidity of the Flag Burning Amendment. And Bush the first also agreed that it is a bad idea. You cannot enforce love from people. And people do love this country believe it or not. The flag burning amendment like many other conservative ideas is just a sop for the uneducated masses and a cheap politcal trick.

Ken, Allyn, WA

It's pretty obvious Waffler doesn't know the etymology of republic. Republic is from Latin "res publica" meaning "public matter" as opposed to a private matter (as in a monarchy). Democracy is derived from the Greek "demokratia" which means "rule of the people". They are not the same. In a democracy the majority mob can and will impose itself on the rights of the minority. A representative republic is supposed to operate on the principle that those elected have some experience and circumspection to oppose the majority when the majority is wrong. Too many of today's representatives do not have any personal principles that govern their actions. They will govern by poll numbers, individual rights be damned.

Mike, Norwalk

Thank you Logan and Ken. Further, in a Republic the individual votes for a representative to represent his rights and protect the rights of all individuals. In a Democracy, the individual votes for a representative to the mob or all powerful state. The State as spokesman for the majority, is the creater of all law (including natural law, gravity, fiscal, etc.), rights and priviledges. The inspired US Constitution's architects understood that temporal government of, by, and for the people could grant no privilege(s), as all noble right(s), privileges and/or otherwise, were inherent and inalienable in and to the private individual noble sovereigns as endowed by God and a collective right could/can not exceed that of an individual donating patron. As constituted: U.S. Constitution, Article: I Section IX clause VIII (national prohibition), and Article: I Section X clause I: "No State shall ... grant any Title of Nobility"; and further, "What is prohibited to the States is forbidden to the Court to enforce", (California Motor Transport Co. v. Trucking Unlimited, 404 US 908 {1972}). What is a 'Title of Nobility' as Constitutionally understood. As adjudicated and stated by a Supreme judiciary the constitutional meaning of a 'Title of Nobility' was as stated: "To confer a title of nobility, is to nominate to an order of persons to whom privileges are granted ... It is not necessarily hereditary, and the objection to it arises more from the privileges supposed to be attached, than to the otherwise empty title or order," (Horst v, Moses 48 Ala. 129, 142 (1872); Corpus Juris, 46, 598, Nobility note 4; Bouvier's Law Dictionary, ((1884) Nobility)) A Republic can issue no license, a Democracy can.

  • Reply
SRQRobert    1/11/08

Archer, Ken, Mike, well done - sorry, I have just finished hosting 40 Rotary District Governor's Elect from around the world and just squeezed in a quick peek.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Thank you Mike, Ken, and Archer for adding some sanity to this thread. I'm absolutely dumfounded at the leaps some people can make between Republics and Democracies. I once had a gentleman grab a newly purchased Oxford English Dictionary to "look up" the differences between the two foundations of government. It took me nearly an hour to finally "convince" the man that etymology (word's meanings, foundations, premises, understandings, etc.) change over time, and that looking in a current dictionary wouldn't do a single thing in helping him understand yesterday's terminology. This is what philosophy (especially Greek philosophy) calls "the flux" (or, the "change"). Waffler illustrated my point exactly in using today's etymology to explain yesterday's understanding. This is yet another problem with the course of America today-- we are ignorant of our past. We cannot know where we're going tomorrow-- if we don't know where we were yesterday--and expect to maintain for tomorrow what has made this country great. I will again restate that Bailey's comments are spot-on, because he speaks of the dichotomy of today's understanding as held against yesterday's knowledge, philosophy, and sure foundation. Waffler, I would suggest you actually read the words of the founders of this nation to understand the limits and bounds that they established for our "Republic" and the reasons they "hated" democracy. I would suggest, since you love your country as much as the rest of us here do, that you become educated in the foundations, principles, philosophies, and understanding that once made this country great. I would be more than happy, as I'm sure many members of this blog would be as well, to suggest some reading material if you would actually like to learn of the foundations of this great nation.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

The mantra that this is a Republic and not a Democracy is part of some strange religion that I know not of. Every dictionary I have consulted says that a republic is a democracy and a democracy is a republic. It is a religion because you have to read a whole bunch of books and probably pray about it to come to your conclusions. The word republic is thrown around quite loosely as every one should know. Plato's Republic is considered to be the forerunner of Communism and as we know China calls itself "The People's Republic". Isn't it cute that every time we are of the 49% minority the 51% folks are a mob. Our country is primarily run by public opinion, free press, investigative reporting etcetera. That kind of society is a democracy. It is a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy but it is still a society where the power is vested in the people. As far as government schools they are run in most states by your frineds and neighbors and most floks say that they like their local schools just fine, and they support its activities and students. In most towns they do not call it a "government" school they say "our school" It is usually the school across town that they call a "govenment" school.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Waffler, If Republics and Democracies are synonomous, then how do you explain the words of John Adams here in talking about a Republic and here, talking about a democracy? Here, in Franklin's words, we see the established differentiation. Jefferson speaks of the differentiation here. Here, I think James Madison (the "Father of the Constitution") had a little something to say about "democracy." You talked about Plato, bad idea, here is what Plato had to say about Democracies. Perhaps another quote by John Adams concerning a Republic

In this you can see that Republics and Democracies are fundamentally different in the fact that Republics "share in the sovereignty" whereas democracies are merely the will of the majority. Do you want to know the basic fundamentally different characteristics between democracy and republic? Democracies are based on the will of the majority -- that's it, period -- even representative democracies. Representative democracies are simply an elected version of majority rule. Republics, by nature, are based on rule of law. Now political philosophy will question what "rule of law" each Republic will base its foundation upon. In the case of the United States of America, the founders of this nation established that the rule of law be built on "the laws of nature and of nature's God." This idea of the state and law of nature is indeed a Christian influenced idea as brought forward by logical and reasoning men during the period of the Enlightenment. Why did the founders do this? Because they saw that throughout history, all governments were established on severely arbitrary and subjective grounds that couldn't stand the test of scrutiny and time. They sought to establish a firm foundation of law; a foundation that would not change over time.

Democracies create their own law from the will of the majority -- even representative ones. The basis of democracy is not in law, but in the will of the majority. Republics are fundamentally different, because they automatically assume the foundation of some kind of law. Again, in our situation as Americans, our founders based our Republic on the most objective system of laws they could possibly fathom: Nature in accordance to the will of God. As such, they established what they thought was the most firm foundation of law -- a foundation that would protect the minority from the majority and have a firm basis that would answer the call of time. By basing our Republic's laws on that of nature, they were then able to claim that man had "inalienable rights". Inalienable rights do not exist in democracy, because "rights" are subject to the will of the majority. If they would have based our government on the will of the majority, there would never be any real protection at the law. Why? Because whatever "right" was given to the minority on one day could be taken away from him by a majority vote on another. What sure foundation of government does THIS establish? It is insane to defend such a position. It is a fundamental flaw to say that men are equal in democracies, because they are not -- how equal is the minority in a democracy? Only in Republican governments, where the foundation for government is based on law, can the people ever hope to be equal. In all places whereof our founders spoke, they fought, bled, and died to give us a Republic. It is dishonor to them to accept or support anything less.

We stand today as Americans who have lost our heritage, because we have been taught what to think and not how to think. The Constitution specifically states that we were given a Republic (Article IV, Section IV). When I place my hand over my heart to swear allegiance to my flag I do not do it for the "democracy for which it stands" nor do I do it to the "representative democracy," but I pledge my alligiance to my "Republic". Only once we accept the foundations of our own heritage can we possibly fathom the attrocities we're committing around the world by setting up democratic constitutions. The constitution that we wrote for Iraq is horrible! It is based solely and independently on democracy. Our own founders KNEW that such a system would fail! And we're giving it to them anyway! There is no sure foundation upon which the Iraqi people have to look to -- they will be subject to the will of the majority. Such is a very sad situation, but worse because the American people have no idea what they're supporting.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Thanks Logan for your extensive efforts. I agree with you that we are a republic. One posting in my dictionary says that a republic is any government that is not a monarchy. Britain is a monarchy, it is not a republic, yet it is considered one of the greatest democracies in the world. The idea of the republic revolutionized Europe with the overthrow of the monarchy in France. Churchill called democracy the worst type of government in the world, except for all of the others. I like the term republic, I have no quarrel with the term republic, I do have a quarrel with those who say that it is fundamentally different than a democracy. I think the term is a little more mystical or unclear to some as what it means. I have always understood the place and respect that minority views have in a democracy and was taught this in PUBLIC school. Democracy takes patience. I still feel you enthusiasts for the Republic Vs. Democracy argument are wasting your time and have probably been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh (is he in or out of jail now or drying out from drugs or what). I cast some aspersions on F. Lee Bailey the other day so I have looked him up. He was disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts and was jailed for about 6 months for "stealing" his clients funds. After returning the funds he was freed. We all make mistakes. He may like the Bill of Rights for its protections from forcible siezures and stuff but he did not practice them himself. Sounds like the law/government enforced the Bill of Rights upon him for him trying to seize the property of others. Hypocrite!

Moody, Todd

Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure reading the posts, reminding me of passionate debate teams in high school, and the fact that this medium allows us such freedoms. I do think SRQRobert, much like myself, enjoys the quick peek but Rotary obligations prevent detailed & lengthy postings.

Mark Sand, Anytown, USA

Today we live in a nation- which has become- by the corporation, of the corporation & for the corporation. The corporate development of Central and South America- away from indigenous livelihood towards serving North American consumer needs is a prime example of these facts.

Aranarth, Big Rapids, MI

Waffler - As a Brit I would say you are incorrect! England WAS a Monarchy, it became a Republic, and now just like U.S. (I live in Mich.) it is an Democracy - mob rule and your rights can be voted away - with definite leanings toward being a Oligarchy. (Feel free to look that big word up.) It is interesting to note that those countries that have strong central banks seem to lean towards Fascism. Another big word you should look up. (In other words I fully agree with Mark Sand)

Cowboy Bob, Calgary, Canuckistan

Waffler - There is definitely a difference between republic and democracy. Sad that you cannot understand the posts that so clearly differentiate between the two concepts, it's really not that difficult, it's all in the meanings of words, son. So drop your tawdry, selfish little excuses and pathetic, assinine, cliche insults built on Rush's failure and THINK for a change or you're going to blow it in Iran too just like you did in Iraq, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, etc. Or do we Canadians have to come down there and show you how to run a school system and educate yourselves? Yeeeesh! The thought of you people building nations anywhere other than in a computer simulation scares the pants off me. Now, Logan, Ken, Mike - your republic is just a grander oligarchy, rule by more than just a few but not rule by the people. And what's with that Electoral College you have down there? The people are too stupid to elect the representatives? The people can only be trusted to elect some people who actually elect the reps? Sounds bloody elitist to me but maybe Waffler makes the case.

Phil, Birmingham-UK

Is it bollux the oldest Democracy in the world. (Waffler, Smith, Arkansas) Democracy first showed signs in the Isle of Man near England, and it's the British who have done the most world wide to promote its existance. Unfortunately this Deomcracy we both have is not it! They have perverted the very concept with two party polotics. I'm currently reading a book and perhaps you should all have a go, it's by a lady name Mary Elizabeth Croft called "How I Clobbered every Bureaucratic Cash-Confiscationary Agency Known to Man" - I highly recommend reading this as apart from her impeccable logic she gives a very freatful explination for what's really going on behind the scenes with the Banks. She said that the whole world is now at 'Endgame' for global domination, and how the Central Banks of the Globe are being run by the same few English Families. This is a must read, I have no connection with her but I'm finding it facinating. You can get it here, http://www.hackcanada.com/canadian/freedom/mary_croft.pdf

Scott, Tucson, AZ

A person doesn't have to be agreeable to our senses to be correct. The quote is absolutely correct. Also, we are a Republic on a collision course with becoming a Dictatorship. How much more power will the executive branch take and/or be granted?

brio, San Francisco

Waffler, dear: The world's oldest "DEMOCRACY" is Iceland. Look it up, if you know how.

  • Reply
Anonymous    1/19/08

True, thank God that it was passed before.

warren, olathe

I get tired of hearing how we are hated all over the world as if the hatred was warranted. The fact is that this is greatly exaggerated. Hate often comes from envy. Other governments use propaganda against the U.S. to try to improve their image among their people. Most other countries are very socialistic. We are the biggest target for socialists because our existence is proof that less socialism is better. The other problem we have is our generosity. We feel bad when we see starvation and strife around the world so we send aid. Of course the aid has to be administered by the government of the country we are trying to help. The fact that the people in question are hurting is usually due to their government. The aid we give ends up helping the government stay in power with little help actually going to the people we intended to help. This results in the people seeing the U.S. as a partner in their oppression. So my point is - when pissing off socialists, keep it up, when handing out foreign aid, quit it, and if you really want to help starving people give them freedom.

Jesse, Greensboro

It's Ironic that we based our constitution on ideas taken from the same people who's land we also took later to build this nation.

Lee, Citrus Heights

The argument is moot. The people of the united States of America forfeited their Sovereignty in 1913 when they allowed the establishment of the not "Federal" Reserve bank system. The world bankers own and control the U.S., not to mention many other nations around the world. The 16th Amendment in the same year was just icing on the cake. How many people in this country today do you know who don't cringe when the IRS is mentioned? We've all become serfs and slaves to our own government and until the people of this Federal Republic are ready to stand up and shout to the corrupt little tyrants in Washington " Enough" there is no point in arguing the difference between republics and democracies.

warren, olathe

Real creative history there Jesse.

E Archer, NYC

Lee, you are absolutely right -- America is no more a Democracy than it is a Republic. The Constitution is mute and without constituency. The US government is merely a tool for the Fed/IMF/World Bank as are nearly every other nation's government. We are comfortable slaves unaware of our bondage as we chain up the rest of our brothers and sisters. Ignorance is our creed, and slavery is our birthright. When will we awaken from this delusion? -- there are a hell of a lot more of us than there are of them!! If only we realized it. The link above from Phil in Birmingham to How I Clobbered every Bureaucratic Cash-Confiscationary Agency Known to Man by Mary Croft is excellent -- send it to a liberal today -- they will get it! I think conservatives won't make it past the Preface. ;-)

Dana, Lincoln

Jesse, what on earth are you even talking about? As to being hated around the world: we all saw the protests when Bush went to Europe. But did we see anything of the full two page spread thanking American forces for their service when our military left? Anything of the teary-eyed farewells from a generation that still remembered the Berlin airlift?

Dana, Lincoln

Oh, and a Bill of Rights would go through. But it would be ten pages long, guaranteeing us everything from an equitable education, to job security, healthcare and welfare. Because our entire idea of a "right" has shifted and we are no longer concerned with such "antiquated" ideas such as the right to the fruits of your own labor.

Ronw13, OR

Shared "sovereignty" for the common man, in defence of a Freed people. Natural law provides the solid foundation in defence of our Christian principles. 3 key liberties and 13 attributes in harmony with nature by design of our Creator. The foundation of freedom from any oppression. 

Mary, MI
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  • Reply
Mary, MI    9/21/18

"A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic, replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”


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