Alderman Lisle Baker Baker Alderman for Ward 7

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Remarks at ACLU Meeting in Newton on March 5, 2006

Thank you, Ms. Rose. I appreciate the chance to talk briefly with you today about liberty. I have served as a member of the armed forces, whose valor and sacrifices to preserve our freedoms we should we should always honor. I have also served as a member of the Newton Board of Aldermen for over 22 years. When we take office, each of us solemnly swears to support the Constitution of the United States. What does that mean for us as elected officials, and for the Newton citizens we represent?

Justice Louis Brandeis, like me an immigrant to Massachusetts from Kentucky, wrote these words in a U. S. Supreme Court concurring opinion almost 80 years ago. They are still relevant today: "Those who won our independence.... valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth...; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; ....that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies .... Those who won our independence ... did not exalt order at the cost of liberty."

Neither should we now -- for ultimately, our Constitution is not self--executing. It depends on each of us -- whether elected officials or electing citizens -- to uphold its guarantees. Thank you.

R. Lisle Baker is the ward alderman for Newton's Ward 7 and president of the board.

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