An Interesting Coincidence
On February 26, 1900, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Maxwell v. Dow and rejected the argument that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated the Bill of Rights. In that opinion, Justice Peckham said the following:
What speeches were made by other Senators and by Representatives in the House upon this subject is not stated by counsel, nor does he state what construction was given to it, if any, by other members of Congress. It is clear that what is said in Congress upon such an occasion may or may not express the views of the majority of those who favor the adoption of the measure which may be before that body, and the question whether the proposed amendment itself expresses the meaning which those who spoke in its favor may have assumed that it did, is one to be determined by the language actually therein used, and not by the speeches made regarding it.
What individual Senators or Representatives may have urged in debate, in regard to the meaning to be given to a proposed constitutional amendment, or bill, or resolution, does not furnish a firm ground for its proper construction, nor is it important as explanatory of the grounds upon which the members voted in adopting it.”
Three weeks later, John Bingham died. (March 19, 1900).