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4 U.S.A.F. JAG Bull. 6 (1962)
The Bill of Rights and the Military

handle is hein.journals/airfor4 and id is 68 raw text is: THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE MILITARY
Earl Warren
Chief Justice of the United States
The James Madison Lecture for 1962, delivered at the
School of Law, New York University, Feb. 1, 1962, and
reprinted with permission of New York University.

It is almost a commonplace to say that free
government is on trial for its life. But it is
the truth. And it has been throughout his-
tory. What is almost as certain: It will
probably be true throughout the foreseeable
future. Why should this be so? Why is it
that, over the centuries of world history, the
right to liberty that our Declaration of In-
dependence declares to be inalienable has
been more often abridged than enforced?
One important reason, surely, is that the
members of a free society are called upon to
bear an extraordinarily heavy responsibility,
for such a society is based upon the recipro-
cal self-imposed discipline of both the gov-
erned and their government. Many nations
in the past have attempted to develop demo-
cratic institutions,- only to lose them when
either the people or their government lapsed
from the rigorous self-control that is essen-
tial to the maintenance of a proper relation
between freedom and order. Such failures
have produced the totalitarianism or the
anarchy that, however masked, are the twin
mortal enemies of an ordered liberty.
Our forebears, well understanding this
problem, sought to solve it in unique fashion
by incorporating the concept of mutual re-
straint into our Nation's basic Charter. In
the body of our Constitution, the Founding
Fathers insured that the Government would
have the power necessary to govern. Most
of them felt that the self-discipline basic to

a democratic government of delegated powers
was implicit in that document in the light of
our Anglo-Saxon heritage. But our people
wanted explicit assurances. The Bill of
Rights was the result.
This act of political creation was a re-
markable beginning. It was only that, of
course, for every generation of Americans
must preserve its own freedoms. In so doing,
we must turn time and again to the Bill of
Rights, for it is that document that solemnly
set forth the political consensus that is our
heritage. Nor should we confine ourselves to
examining the diverse, complicated, and
sometimes subordinate issues that arise in
the the day-to-day application of the Bill of
Rights. It is perhaps more Important that
we seek to understand in its fullness the
nature of the spirit of liberty that gave that
document its birth.
Thus it is in keeping with the high pur-
poses of this great University that its School
of Law sponsor a series of lectures emphasiz-
ing the role of the Bill of Rights in contem-
porary American life. And it is particularly
appropriate, after the splendid lectures of
Mr. Justice Black and Mr. Justice Brennan
on the relationship of the Bill of Rights to
the Federal and State Governments, respec-
tively, that you should delegate to someone
the task of discussing the relationship of the
Bill of Rights to the military establishment.
This is a relationship that, perhaps more
Vol. IV, No. 3

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