Bill of Rights

The first 10 Amendments of the US Constitution, commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights. These amendments were considered crucial by many of the early founders and were necessary to gain support of some of the states.

9,000 Questions
Bill of Rights

What do you call the first 10 amendments to constitution?

The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are collectively called the Bill of Rights, because they deal with individual rights and freedoms that can not be abrogated by the government. These were added as a compromise between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists for ratification of the Constitution.

They are not there to safeguard the rights of an individual but to restrict Congress and the government. Citizens must be forever vigilant to protect their rights. When a government vehicle wrecked a man's car, the government offered to pay less than the car was worth. The man had to be vigilant and fight to get fair value. In a dictatorship, the governments first offer is what you get.

Among their provisions:

  • the freedoms of speech, press, religion, and the right to assemble peacefully, protest and demand changes (First Amendment)
  • the right to bear arms (Second Amendment)
  • Protection against quartering of soldiers (Third Amendment)
  • the protection against unreasonable searches, seizures of property and arrest (Fourth Amendment)
  • due process of law in all criminal cases (Fifth Amendment)
  • the right to a fair and speedy trial (Sixth Amendment)
  • The right to trial by jury (Seventh Amendment)
  • the protection against cruel and unusual punishment (Eighth Amendment)
  • Construction of constitution (ninth amendment)
  • the provision that the people/states retain additional rights not listed in the Constitution (Tenth Amendment).

the bill of rights
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Founding Fathers
History of the United States
US Constitution
Bill of Rights

What can accurately be said of the Bill of Rights?

That they are the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, ratified in 1791. The Bill was drafted by James Madison, a Federalist who would become the fourth US President. Madison drew mainly on English law in writing the amendments, but his sources were many, including earlier Colonial documents. The Bill was designed to appease anti-Federalists who believed the Constitution granted too many rights to the federal government. The Bill of Rights defines and protects individual rights, such as freedom of speech, the press, religion (the First Amendment), and the Second, the right to bear arms, while limiting the power of the federal government to curtail or deny these rights. The Third Amendment, covering quartering of soldiers, was a necessary piece of legislation at the time of ratification, but it is and will remain insignificant as long as the US is not occupied by an opposing army.

Amendments 4-8, the so-called "Judicial amendments" protect the rights of individuals suspected of or accused of a crime. They also outline the functions of criminal courts. The importance of the protection they grant cannot be overstated. Amendment 4 covers protection from search and seizure; the 5th guarantees due process and grand juries, and guarantees against double jeopardy and self-incrimination. The Sixth Amendment concerns speedy, impartial trials; trial by jury, the right to confront witnesses and the right to an attorney. Amendment 7 covers jury trials in Federal cases, and the 8th Amendment forbids excessive bail, fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.

The Ninth Amendment was smart and forward-thinking, although it may sound dull when read. It protects individual rights that are not covered by the Constitution, which includes the right to privacy in issues that did not exist 200 years ago. Reproductive rights cases have been argued and won on the Ninth Amendment. Finally, the Tenth, or "States' Rights" amendment specifically says that the Federal Government has no rights other than those outlined in the Constitution. So simple a statement leads to numerous forms of interpretation. Those whose interpretation is broad regard the rights of individual states to be on a par wih the federal governments'. Wikipedia presents a comprehensive explanation of the 10th Amendment, a lengthy list of categories under which it has been challenged, and detailed examples of cases that fall under those categories and their outcomes.

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Bill of Rights
Search and Seizure

What does the fourth amendment prohibit?

The 4th Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizures.

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Politics and Government
Bill of Rights

Who argued that a congressional ban on slavery in the territories would violate the Fifth Amendment?

Of course it will because that's the part of the part of the Bill of Rights, that is mented to protects against abuse of government authority... can consider the congress being abusive because they want to impose something in other countries that are not their motherland.

OR

John C. Calhoun...

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Bill of Rights

Is God mentioned in our Bill of Rights?

The short answer is neither God nor Jesus are mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Nor are they mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

Curiously Article VI Section (3) of the U.S. Constitution is the only reference to religion in the original Constitution and it says "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution: but no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or Public Trust under the United States

Despite being mostly Christian, our Founding Fathers and the government they created specifically avoided and banned the idea that our nation is identified by Christianity. The word "God" on many of our historic buildings in DC reflect at most that our Founding Fathers wanted to recognize a general sense of God- if their intent was to promote this nation specifically as a tolerant Christian nation, "Christ" or "Jesus" should appear in at least some of our documents or buildings. (Since Jesus Christ is the central character of Christianity that sets it apart from other godly religions.)

The Founding Fathers, the nation at the time, and the nation now is one that has a majority of Christians. It is quite another thing (and erroneous) to say that it is a Christian nation.

Interestingly enough but not surprisingly, there have been attempts to add God and Jesus to the US constitution. Christian attempts to amend the US Constitution occurred in 1864, 1874, 1896 and 1911.

The original version of these amendments stated "We, the people of the United States recognizing the being and attributes of Almighty God, the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, the law of God as the paramount rule, and Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior and Lord of all, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Wisely Congress never passed this or similar amendments. But that doesn't mean God didn't creep in in other ways. For example, there is our current national motto which is printed on our money. "In God We Trust"1.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Zenke, S. (2006, July 8). God is Not in the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from Majority Rules Blog: http://www.majorityrules.org/2006/07/god-is-not-in-us-constitution-or-bill.html

FOOTNOTES

1. "In God We Trust"1 is the national motto of the United States of America. It was so designated by an act of Congress in 1956 and officially supersedes "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of Many, One) according to United States Code, Title 36, Section 302. President Eisenhower signed the resolution into law on 30 July 1956.

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History of the United States
Bill of Rights

The man who proposed the Bill of Rights was?

James Madison

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US Constitution
Bill of Rights

What is the main idea of the tenth amendment?

Persons who are not attorneys often conclude that the 10th Amendment is a very powerful check against the federal government. However, this is a common misunderstanding.

The Tenth Amendment reserves to the states respectively, or to the people, all powers and rights not delegated to the Federal government by the Constitution [so long as these powers or rights are not prohibited to the states by the Constitution. eg. dormant commerce clause.]

How this principle is applied depends on whether the Federal Government, a State Government, or the people can be shown to be exercising authority that would undermine or usurp the powers reserved to one or to the other, i.e. exceeding the mandate of the Constitution.

To view a transcript of the Preamble as well as Articles I through VII of the Constitution of the United States of America, as well as a transcript of the 1st through the 10th Amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, please feel free to click on the links to the National Archives' website which are listed below under Related Links.

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What are the components of the fifth amendment?

the right to be informed of the charges against him or her, opportunity to be heard at the hearing, right to have a representative

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James Madison
Bill of Rights
Gun Laws

When did James Madison write the second amendment?

yes James Madison wrote the 10 amendments

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US Constitution
Same-Sex Marriage
Bill of Rights

What does the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution have to do with same-sex marriage?

Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The ninth amendment implies that if the right to gay marriage is not mentioned in the constitution, that does not mean it is denied to citizens.

The implication is that since marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution (either directly or indirectly), it cannot be regulated by either the Federal or State governments, and remains an inherent natural right of the citizen.

The current legal reading of the Constitution with respect to marriage is that the 9th Amendment allows for regulation of marriage by the States, but, as of Loving v Virginia (1967), marriage is considered a fundamental right of the people, and thus, any attempts to regulate marriage by the States must pass the Strict Scrutiny test for Constitutionality. The question is whether or not restrictions on same-sex marriage can pass this Strict Scrutiny test which the 9th Amendment requires of the States.

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Bill of Rights

What rights were the authors of the Bill of Rights primarily concerned about?

The Anti-Federalists, including Thomas Jefferson, thought that the Constitution was unfair. They were afraid of a strong central government; the Anti-Federalists did not want to ratify the Constitution, so, in order to make it fair for the Anti-Federalists, the authors of the Constitution added the Bill of Rights.

Richard "thinks" he's good in basketball, he's okay, but he can't beat the Monster (that's me).

And we can chat through here.

The accurate is that the authors were enshrining "Natural Rights". Sir William Blackstone defines this very well. John Locke in his two treatise on Government, brilliantly elaborates this. The mysterious 9th Amendment (mysterious to people of today- obviously it wasn't mysterious the those who wrote it), this is a clear reference to "Natural Law" in general. Understand the Bible, then understand Locke and Blackstone, then understand the Declaration of Independence (Laws of Nature and of Nature's God) and the Constitution (In the Year of our Lord-- deliberate language).

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Bill of Rights

Does the First Amendment mean there is to be a separation of church and state?

The First Amendment states the following:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The two parts relating to religion mean the following.

1. 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion' What this means is that it is unconstitutional to have or promote a national religion. Or a religion that is backed by the government. It doesn't mean that religion and government can't co-exist, but it does mean no endorsements. To teach any one religion in a public school, regardless of how the people may whine, would constitute an endorsement. Or to force prayer to any god.

2. "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" What this means is that the government can't tell you what to believe, or what not to believe, as far as religion is concerned. Many religious rights activists confuse this idea with that any idea or thought that is contested falls under the same category, but no, just religion. If it is your religion you are welcome to it, and no religions can be banned. However it does not mean that you can do whatever you want whenever you want, say that it is part of your religion and have it be ok. Free exercise, basically includes things that don't affect the ability of others to go about and do as they please. Basic principles of human rights.

These two taken together although they don't forbid church and state interactions, they do make it very difficult for the two to co-exist without it seeming like one or the other is in violation. The current political trend has been to avoid the issue all together with the pure separation of church and state, which eliminates the possibility of either happening.

Supreme Court Interpretation

The US Supreme Court has developed a three-prong test (Lemon-Kurtzman test) it uses to evaluate whether a public activity involves government to the extent of violating the Establishment Clause.

Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. summarized the Court's interpretation of this clause very succinctly in his written opinion for the case Edwards v. Aguillard, (1987):

"The Establishment Clause forbids the enactment of any law 'respecting an establishment of religion.' The Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether legislation comports with the Establishment Clause. First, the legislature must have adopted the law with a secular purpose. Second, the statute's principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion. Third, the statute must not result in an excessive entanglement of government with religion. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602, (1971). State action violates the Establishment Clause if it fails to satisfy any of these prongs."

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Legal Definitions
Bill of Rights

What is judicial history of a case?

Judicial history is where president has been set in previous cases.

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History of the United States
Bill of Rights

Why is it important that the bill of rights protects people accused of crime?

it is important because the courts have a duty to respect the rights listed in the bill of rights because it is part of the unchangable constitution

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What does the eighth amendment mean in plain language?

Bail money should not be too high that it is unpayable with no fines and no cruel punishments

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US Supreme Court
Bill of Rights

Who are the US Supreme Court Justices in order from most liberal to most conservative?

The following a breakdown of most liberal to most conservative justices on the Supreme Court:

Ruth Bader Ginsberg: very liberal, consistently votes against the conservatives

Sonia Sotomayor: consistently votes with the progressive bloc

Elena Kagan: has consistently voted with the liberal bloc since joining the bench, but still fairly unproven

Stephen G. Breyer: usually votes with the liberal bloc, but has proven centrist in the past

Anthony Kennedy: the swing vote; considered a conservative; sometimes votes with the liberal faction

Samuel A. Alito: consistently conservative

Chief Justice John G. Roberts: consistently conservative

Clarence Thomas: extremely conservative

The current court is considered conservative in composition, although Kennedy tends to be the "swing vote" and sometimes favors a more liberal view of personal liberty issues, lending some balance to the court.

The remaining justice likely to leave the court during Obama's administration is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal member. If Obama doesn't replace her with a liberal justice, but with a centrist, the court may become more conservative than it is at the moment. It is likely the Senate Republicans would filibuster any nominee they considered too liberal, which would undoubtedly influence Obama's choice of successor.

Roberts, Thomas and Alito are considered extremely conservative. Alito and Roberts are both young, and may serve on the bench another two decades or more; Thomas is about ten years older, but still probably has at least another ten years service ahead of him.

Four of the eight current Supreme Court Justices were nominated by Republican Presidents.

Four, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Clinton, 1993), Associate Justice Stephen Breyer (Clinton, 1994), Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Obama, 2009), and Associate Justice Elena Kagan (Obama, 2010) were nominated by Democratic Presidents.

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Founding Fathers
US Constitution
Bill of Rights
Gun Laws

Why did the founding fathers include the Second Amendment?

Because they believed that an armed populace, organized into a well regulated militia, was a good way to defend the country without a large professional army and that it would give the people the ability to defend their liberties if the government ever became tyrannical. Look at modern Switzerland. That is the kind of model that our founders were thinking of.

Michael Montagne

I figure it is partly due to the fact that British forces marched into Lexington and Concord with the intent to seize the militia's arms. This imprinted into the American mind a direct relationship between firearms and freedom.

It is'NT even conjectural as many made coment on it. Not for self protection, not for hunting, not even to protect from foreign invaders. Simply that the people, the militia, be able to wrest power from a government, overtly or insideously, removing power form the people. Every political figure knows that to impose the governments will on the people you must disarm them. Our second amendment has been broken already with the 1934 nfa and all subsequent gun control. They are convincing the sheeple of Amereica that they need protecting from themselves. Don't let it happen.

The Second Amendment allowed for state militias on the cheep, by using citizens arms. It also was a counter balance to the power of the federal government. But the Second Amendment has been an anachronism for over 150 years. State Militias , now known as the National Guard, issue arms to its members. In addition, the most significant arms in the modern military include fighter jets, misiles, artillery, heavy weapons and such, not the kind of things most parents want floating around the neighbor. To allow anyone to own such arms by right is completely uncivilized and not the kind of world most sane people would want to raise a family in.

The 2nd Amendment was intended as a final check of government authority

The militia interpetaion...that some how the National Guard constitutes a "well regulated militia" is ridiculous...any force who ultimately is completely controlled by the regular federal armed forces is in no way securing the right of the people to keep and bear arms...even if the governor can call on them to help with hurricane relief...it still in no way means that they are the kind of militia that the Founders had in mind

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." - Thomas Jefferson

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -Thomas Jefferson

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of The United States reads as follows:

'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' The capitalisation and punctuation are as the original version passed by Congress

Now the issue here it seems is largely what is meant by 'Militia' but before I address that consider this. When the amendments were written and passed by congress they and the constitution they amended were intended to be read in conjunction with and to provide the means to defend both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The drafters of the Declaration of Independence had experience of the use of a standing army to oppress the people.

A standing army is a tool of government and can be used by a government to enforce its rule in defiance of the wishes of the people.

A standing army tends to be distanced from the people and its members are often not from the locality in which they are stationed. They do not have much of a connection with the locals making their use against the local population much easier.

The drafters of the second amendment were fully aware of this. They had seen standing armies in Europe used against their own people when those people objected to government oppression or indifference.

Their intention was that there would be no standing army in their new country to prevent a future government using such an army against its own people.

The defence of the country was to be carried out by the armed citizens who would form a Militia as and when needed for that purpose. And should a government become oppressive to the people, to provide the means for the people to remove the government and replace it.

So despite arguments to the contrary from some. The term 'Militia' does not mean the National Guard nor does it mean the regular military forces which are under the direct control of the federal government.

The meaning of 'Militia' intended by the drafters of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of The United States, and The Bill of Rights, of which the Second Amendment is a part is, literally, THE PEOPLE. The individuals who make up the population of the United States.

When the Second Amendment is read, as it should be read, in conjunction with the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of The United States. The meaning of the word 'Militia' intended by the founders of the United States is clear and unambiguous.

Brian Thwaites LL.B (Hons)

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History of the United States
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Bill of Rights

What are facts about the first amendment?


The five freedoms expressed in the First Amendment are the rights to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.

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US Constitution
US Government
Bill of Rights

Put the Tenth Amendment in your own words?

All powers not explicitly given to the Federal Government are allocated to the States, unless the Constitution prohibits those powers from the States, in which case the power remains a "natural right" of the citizenry.

In short, for a specific Power:

(1) the Federal government can exercise it if the Constitution says it belongs to the Federal government.

(2) if the power isn't directly given to the Federal Government, then the State has it

(3) however, if the Constitution prohibits the States from having a power, and does not give it to the Federal government, then that power remains a "reserved" right of the people - that is, the people retain this power, and it cannot be modified or challenged by the Federal or State government.

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History of the United States
US Constitution
Bill of Rights

What does the First Amendment to the US Constitution say?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The First Amendment contains a number of different rights:

  • Freedom of Religion (The Establishment Clause and The Free Exercise Clause)
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of Assembly; and
  • Right to Petition the Government
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History of the United States
US Constitution
Bill of Rights

What is the Bill of Rights?

Amendments that protect individual rights (apex)
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US in WW2
Bill of Rights

How did The Bill of Rights protect us citizens?

The bill of rights protects citizens by allowing them certain rights and freedoms like freedom of speech, religion, etc. It also lets us not do certain things.

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Gay Lesbian and Bisexual
Discrimination
Bill of Rights

Why is it illegal to call gay people faggots even though we have free speech in America?

It is not illegal in the US to call gay men "faggots", any more than it's illegal to use the "N-word" for African Americans; but it is extremely unpopular to do so, and just might get you punched in the face.

In some states, disorderly conduct is defined in part as using words which are likely to result in immediate physical retaliation by others. So the use of either slur might fit that category in certain circumstances. So a person yelling such things can in some cases create a public safety hazard.

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Bill of Rights

What are the procedural restraints found in the bill of rights?

The procedural restraints found in the Bill of Rights are that before the Government can deprive you of life, liberty, or property certain procedures need to be followed. An example is the court process used to deprive people of their freedom and sometimes their life.

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US Constitution
Civil Rights
Bill of Rights

How does the tenth amendment balance powers between national state governments?

it forbids laws limiting states' power

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