What Protections Do We Get From the Bill of Rights?

What Protections Do We Get From the Bill of Rights?

(IntegrityTimes.com) – Once the Constitution was completed, states began to call for protection of certain “natural” individual rights from the newly-formed centralized government. The idea was that as human beings, we are born with certain rights, and no authority should be able to infringe upon them. As a result, the Bill of Rights was crafted by James Madison and ratified by the last state in December of 1791. The House originally approved 17 amendments, and the Senate approved 12. It was sent to the states in 1789, for their approval.

Addressed Rights

The Bill of Rights addresses some very specific issues. They can be categorized as personal, legal, and national, though some cross over into more than one category. In the end, they are all simply basic human rights.

Personal

One of the most noted and personal amendments is the First Amendment. Those who came to the new land were often fleeing persecution based on religion. Thus, the First Amendment guarantees the ability to worship as you choose. It also grants the right to free speech but does not absolve anyone of the consequences of that speech. This specific right was aimed at allowing people to say what they would about the government without facing legal penalties. The Fifth Amendment also guarantees some personal rights in that it prevents you from having to testify against yourself.

Legal

The rights that pertain to legal aspects in the United States have to do with the process citizens go through when they are accused of a crime. The Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement entities to have probable cause before searching or seizing your property. In other words, they can’t just take your house, or items in your house, because someone says you did something illegal.

The Fifth Amendment defines which cases go before a grand jury, guarantees due process, prevents you from testifying against yourself or being tried more than once for the same crime and prevents your property from being taken without compensation (as in cases of eminent domain).

The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to a speedy trial by a jury of your peers (to prevent bias). It also affords you the ability to have legal counsel, face your witness/accuser, and obtain a witness in your defense.

The Seventh Amendment ensures that any case with a value exceeding $20 can be tried by a jury. On top of that, it cannot be retried by another jury in the future.

The Eighth Amendment prevents cruel and unusual punishment, as well as excessive bail and fines. This is why there are limits on how much time one can be sentenced for and how much the penalty can cost. It also prevents abuse within the penal system.

National

The Bill of Rights applies on a national level, but rights in the “National” category apply solely because they prevent government overreach while also affording citizens the ability to protect themselves and their property… from the government if need be.

The Second Amendment not only guarantees US citizens the right to bear arms but also to form a militia. One point of debate about this particular amendment is that some assume you must be a member of a militia to bear arms, and then, only in times of war.

The Third Amendment prevents anyone from having to give up their home to soldiers in times of war or peace. This amendment was written at a time when it was common practice for soldiers to take over homes and sometimes also take personal property from the homeowner.

The Ninth Amendment prohibits the use of the Constitution to take individual rights. Madison understood that in the future, this document might again be amended, and saw the need to prevent it from being done in such a way as to harm to the people.

The Tenth Amendment prevents the Federal government from having too much power over the states. It allows the states and the people to manage their own issues, as long as that management falls within the bounds of the rights given by the Constitution itself. This allows the states to make laws and form entities on their own, free from federal oversight.

Copyright 2020, IntegrityTimes.com