In 1988, I was privileged to be asked to write the Introduction to the reprint of Robert Yates' Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Convention to Form the US Constitution. Judge Yates was the leading Anti-Federalist, and sought to defeat the Constitution in Philadelphia, and later in the New York Ratification Convention.
That lengthy Introduction pointed out that the ratification nearly failed in both Virginia and New York. Most importantly, it pointed out that the claims of the Anti-Federalists were coming true not in their time, but in ours.
Though it was written almost a quarter century ago, I stand by every word of that. And, BTW, it was not just the Anti-Federalists who feared an over-reaching federal judiciary. Thomas Jefferson called it "the most dangerous branch," and gave his reasons.
John / Billybob / Ben
And extolling the virtues of the Anti-federalist ideas ignores the simple fact that they came up with absolutely nothing. They never produced a document, an “Anti-federalist Constitution”, either before, during, or after the adoption of the Constitution. What prevented them from holding their own Constitutional convention, even after the Constitution actually went into effect and proposing their own, better document?
I'm reminded of Churchill's statement: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
So it is with the Constitution: the worst organizational document, except for all the others proposed. The only other document that was ever come up with was the Articles of Confederation, and its flaws were what led to the Constitution.
In the end there are two types of Anti-federalists:
1) those that have come up with something better,
2) the critics, whiners and complainers.
So far there are no Anti-federalists who qualify for 1).
Perhaps it is long past time for Anti-federalists to actually come up with a document.