W3BORV

Watch the following segment from the ‘The Bill of Rights: A Living Document’ video.Interpretation of Right to PrivacyWrite 150 word response about the video. What was the video about? What did you think was interesting? What did you learn from the video? Was there anything you agreed with or disagreed with? Explain your thoughts. No title page. Need to cite reference to support yor answer Citation for videoThe Bill of Rights: A living document [Video file]. (1997). Retrieved April 16, 2017, from http://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=18566&xtid=8097 Video Transcript WHAT OFFENSIVE MUSIC. THAT SHOULD BE BANNED. ACTUALLY IT CAN’T BE BECAUSE IT’S PROTECTED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENTWHICH GUARANTEES FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.THE FIRST AMENDMENT GIVES PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO OFFEND OTHERS? IT’S A BIT MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT. THE FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION WERE FIRM BELIEVERS THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD NO RIGHT TO INTERFERE WITH OR INHIBIT AN INDIVIDUAL’S RIGHT TO SAY WHAT THEY WANT OR PRINT WHAT THEY WANT.THEY THOUGHT IT WAS IMPERATIVE THAT OURNEW COUNTRY BE A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN EXPRESS THEIR IDEAS AND BELIEFS NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE. HOWEVER, THEY KNEW THERE WOULD BE TIMES WHEN CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS WOULD HAVE TO APPLY. THEY LEFT THE DECISION OF WHEN AND WHAT KIND OF LIMITATIONS UP TO THE SUPREME COURT. WELL, ULTIMATELY IT’S THE SUPREME COURT, IN A LEGAL SENSE, THAT DECIDES WHAT THE BILL OF RIGHTS MEANS. I GUESS EVEN BEYOND THAT IT’S THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT SOONER OR LATER DETERMINEWHAT THE BILL OF RIGHTS MEANS IN TERMS OFWHAT THEY’RE PREPARED TO ACCEPT. BUT THE REASON WHY THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS SUBJECT TO DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS IS THAT IT LISTS DIFFERENT RIGHTS BUT IT DOESN’T DEFINE THEM. IN 1919, THE COURT DID IN FACT PUT A RESTRICTION ON THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND FREE PRESS. THEY CAME UP WITH A TEST THAT WOULD SERVE AS A STANDARD FOR ALL CASES. THIS WAS THE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER TEST WHICH PROTECTED ALL FORMS OF SPEECH UNLESS IT CLEARLY POSED A THREAT TO SOMEONE. NOW, OVER TIME, THE TEST HAS BECOME MORE STRINGENT BECAUSE CLEARLY YOU CAN HAVE DIFFERENT JUDGES HAVING DIFFERENT IDEAS AS TO HOW CLEAR SOMETHING IS OR HOW PRESENT SOMETHING IS. THE CURRENT INTERPRETATION IS THAT THE DANGERREALLY HAS TO BE EXTREMELY IMMINENT. DOES THE FIRST AMENDMENT APPLY TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS? YOU BET. IN THE CASE TINKER VERSUS DES MOINES INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, THE SUPREME COURT GRANTED A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT THE RIGHT TO WEAR A BLACK ARM BAND TO PROTEST THE VIETNAM WAR,DECLARING THAT STUDENTS ARE ALSO PROTECTED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT. AND THERE’S BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE FROM THE SUPREME COURT WHICH SAYS THE RIGHTS OF THE CITIZEN DON’T END AT THE SCHOOLHOUSE GATE, AND ITS BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE. WHAT WE’VE SEEN SINCE THAT CASE IS THE SUPREME COURT HAS NOT BEEN WILLING TO EXTEND MANY OTHER RIGHTS TO KIDS IN SCHOOL SETTINGS.UNDER THE CURRENT INTERPRETATION OF THEFIRST AMENDMENT, STUDENTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE TWO CLASSES OF FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. THE TINKER PART OF IT SAYS THAT WHERE STUDENTS, FOR INSTANCE, SIMPLY WANT TO VOICE THEIR OWN OPINIONS ON THEIR OWN TIME IN THEIR OWN SPACE IN SCHOOL, THAT THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO DO SO UNLESS IT, IN THE COURT’S WORDS, IMPEDES THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. BUT IN THE CONTEXT OF SCHOOL SPONSORED EVENTS, THAT WOULD INCLUDE A STUDENT NEWSPAPER, A DRAMATIC PRODUCTION, SOME SORT OF ART EXHIBITION AND THE LIKE, THAT SCHOOL OFFICIALS HAVE THE AUTHORITY IN SPITE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO RESTRICT STUDENT EXPRESSION. AND IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, SOME PEOPLE ARE VERY UPSET BY THAT BECAUSE THE SCHOOL SHOULD BE THE PLACE WHERE WE INCULCATE THE SENSE OF YOUR AMERICAN FREEDOMS AND OTHER PEOPLE SAY WAIT A MINUTE, SCHOOLS SHOULD BE PLACES WHERE WE LEARN AND IF YOU ARE SO BUSY WITHEXPRESSING FREEDOMS YOU MAY INTERFERE WITH THAT LEARNING. SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US WITH OBNOXIOUS LYRICS? WELL, THE EASIEST SOLUTION IS TO KEEP THEM OUT OF YOUR SPACE BECAUSE ALTHOUGH FREE SPEECH IS GUARANTEED IN A PUBLIC FORUM, NO ONE CAN FORCE YOU TO LISTEN TO IT OR HAVE IT EXPRESSED IN YOUR HOME OR ON YOUR PROPERTY. A MORE ACTIVE SOLUTION THAT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED BY THE SUPREME COURT AND IS TRULY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPIRIT OF OUR COUNTRY IS COUNTER SPEECH. CHALLENGE NEGATIVE SPEECH WITH YOUR OWN IDEAS. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PUBLICLY PROTEST OR WRITE A LETTER OR PETITION AGAINST SOMETHING YOU THINK IS WRONG. BUT AT ITS HEART THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS ESSENTIALLY ANTI-DEMOCRATIC BECAUSE WHAT IT DOES IS IT PROTECTS THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS AGAINST THE RIGHTS OF THE MAJORITY. IT PROTECTS THE INDIVIDUAL NO MATTER HOW TERRIBLE THE THINGS THE INDIVIDUAL MAY WANT TO SAY, NO MATTER THE BEHAVIORS OF THE INDIVIDUALBEING BEHAVIORS THAT THE MAJORITY DON’T AGREE WITH. IT PROTECTS THOSE INDIVIDUALS AGAINST MAJORITY ACTIONS. IN ESSENCE IT IS THE CORE PROTECTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL AGAINST BOTH THE ACTIONS OF THE MAJORITY AND THE ACTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT. WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR BILL OF RIGHTS?WELL, IT WAS CREATED TO ENSURE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT TAKE AWAY THE PEOPLE’S RIGHTS. THAT’S SOMETHING WE AS AMERICANS TAKE FOR GRANTED, RIGHT?WELL, IT WAS NOT ALWAYS THAT WAY. PEOPLE FIRST STARTED RAISING THE ISSUE THATEVERYONE IS GUARANTEED CERTAIN BASIC RIGHTS IN ENGLAND IN THE LATE 10TH CENTURY.IN 1215, KING JOHN SIGNED THE MAGNA CARTA, A DOCUMENT SAYING THAT NOBILITY, NOT JUST ROYALTY, HAD CERTAIN RIGHTS. LATER MORE LAWS WERE PASSED THAT GAVE MOST ORDINARY PEOPLE SOME RIGHTS TOO. IN 1689, ENGLAND RATIFIED A BILL OF RIGHTS WHERE OUR DOCUMENT GOT ITS NAME. BUT THAT DOCUMENT GRANTED EXTREMELY LIMITED RIGHTS WHICH COULD BE TAKEN AWAY AT ANY TIME BY ENGLAND’S PARLIAMENT. GRADUALLY, ACTS GRANTING PEOPLE SPECIFIC PRIVILEGES,ESPECIALLY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, WERE PASSED BY INDIVIDUAL COLONIES. PENNSYLVANIA, FOR INSTANCE, WAS A PLACE WHERE ANYONE COULD PEACEFULLY PRACTICE THE RELIGION OF THEIR CHOICE. BUT THE FIRST GENERAL STATEMENT OF CIVIL LIBERTIES WAS MASSACHUSETTS’ NEW ENGLAND BODY OF LIBERTIES OF 1641 WHICH GAVE THE PEOPLE CERTAIN LEGAL RIGHTS SUCH AS DUE PROCESS AND THE RIGHT TO PETITION.THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENT ABOUT PEOPLE’S RIGHTS WAS THE VIRGINIA DECLARATION OF RIGHTS WHICH WAS PASSED IN 1776. MANY OF THE PEOPLE IN COLONIAL AMERICA HAD STRONG BELIEFS IN PERSONAL RIGHTS. THEY WERE INFLUENCED BY JOHN LOCKE’S LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION.LOCKE’S IDEAS HAD A PROFOUND INFLUENCE ON THOMAS JEFFERSON WHO WROTE THEDECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. IN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE JEFFERSON SAID ‘WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT. ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. THEY’RE ENDOWED BY THE CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS. AMONG THESE RIGHTS ARE THE RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. GOVERNMENT IS CREATED TO SECURE AND PROTECT THESE RIGHTS. THE AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNMENT RESTS ON THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. IF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THOSE RIGHTS, CONSENT CAN BE WITHDRAWN. WELL, IT WAS ONE THING TO DECLARE INDEPENDENCE BUTANOTHER THING ALTOGETHER TO COME UP WITH A PLAN ON HOW A NEW CENTRAL GOVERNMENT WOULD WORK. WHEN THE 13 NEW STATES WERE PRESENTED WITH THE CONSTITUTION, MANY PEOPLE FEARED THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULD BECOME TOO POWERFULUNDER THIS NEW DOCUMENT. MANY REFUSED TO VOTE FOR THE RATIFICATION OF THECONSTITUTION AT FIRST, BUT AFTER MUCH LOBBYING IT WAS RATIFIED IN ONE STATE AFTER ANOTHER. FIVE STATES RATIFIED IT ONLY WITH THE PROVISION THAT A BILL OF RIGHTS WOULD SOON FOLLOW. WHAT HAPPENS IS YOU’RE CREATING THIS NEW CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. IT’S AN UNTRIED, IT’S AN UNPROVEN THING. AND SO WHAT YOU HAVE IS THE STATES INSISTING ONLIMITATIONS ON THE POWER TO MAKE SURE THAT THESE ARE THINGS THAT THIS NEW CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CANNOT DO. WHEN THE BILL OF RIGHTS FIRST WERE WRITTEN AND WHEN THEY WERE RATIFIED THEY PROTECTED A VERY SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE. THEY BASICALLY PROTECTED WHITE MALE PROPERTY OWNERS.MANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WATCHING THIS TODAY WOULD NOT BE COVERED BY IT. BUT THE GREAT STRENGTHS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND OF THE CONSTITUTION IS THAT OVER TIME WE HAVE EXPANDED THOSE PROTECTIONS TO PROTECT PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT COVERED.WE’VE PROTECTED PEOPLE WHO AT ONE TIME WERE SLAVES. WE PROTECT WOMEN, A WHOLE CLASS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE EXCLUDED IN THE ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION. WE PROTECT IMMIGRANTS COMING INTO OUR COUNTRY TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. WE’VE EXPANDED THE PROTECTIONS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS TO INCLUDE PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE WHO IS UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT. I DON’T THINK THIS CITY IS VERY SAFE ANYMORE. I WISH I COULD CARRY A GUN TO PROTECT MYSELF. WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT? GUNS ARE DANGEROUS. I THINK THIS CITY WOULD BE A SAFER PLACE IF CARRYING A GUN WAS MADE ILLEGAL. YOU KNOW THEY CAN’T DO THAT. THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS IS PROTECTEDUNDER THE SECOND AMENDMENT. THAT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT. IN MY OPINION, THE SECOND AMENDMENT DOESN’T APPLY TO AN INDIVIDUAL’S RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS.OUR YOUNG FRIENDS AREN’T THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE ON THIS SUBJECT. A DEBATE OVER THE SECOND AMENDMENT AND THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS HAS BEEN GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY FOR OVER A CENTURY. TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT WE SHOULD LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT. NOW REMEMBER WHEN THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS WRITTEN THERE WAS NO NATIONAL ARMY SO EVERYONE RELIED ON THEIR COMMUNITY MILITIA FOR A COMMON DEFENSE. AT THAT TIME, A MILITIA WAS A GROUP OF CITIZENSWHO SERVED AS AN UNPROFESSIONAL MILITARYFOR LOCAL DEFENSE. FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, EARLY SETTLEMENTS ALL HAD MILITIAS TO PROTECT THEM AGAINST RAIDS AND OTHER ATTACKS. THE MILITIAS WERE RETAINED AS THE 13 COLONIES GREW IN SIZE AND POPULATION. IN FACT, MILITIA TROOPS MADE UP A LARGE PART OF THE FORCES IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. AFTER THE COLONIES WON INDEPENDENCE THE NEW STATES FEARED THAT A CENTRAL GOVERNMENTMIGHT TRY TO TAKE OVER THEIR MILITIAS. THE SECOND AMENDMENT WAS PASSED SO THAT THEFEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULDN’T DO THAT. IN COLONIAL TIMES IT WAS VERY COMMON FOR PEOPLE TO OWN GUNS, ESPECIALLY IN THE WESTERN FRONTIERS, FOR DEFENSE AND FOR HUNTING. THE SECOND AMENDMENT GUARANTEED THIS RIGHT. IN THIS CENTURY A FEW SECOND AMENDMENT CASES HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO THE SUPREME COURT AND THECOURT HAS ALMOST ALWAYS FAVORED THE INTERPRETATION THAT THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS IS A COLLECTIVE RIGHT FOR COMMON DEFENSE RATHER THAN AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT.WE HAVE A NATION WHERE INDIVIDUALS HAVE USED GUNS AND WE HAVE A NATION WHERE THE FOLKLORE OF THE INDIVIDUAL WITH HIS RIFLE OR HER RIFLE GOING OUT TO PROTECT THE HOMESTEAD FROM EITHER INVASION BY FOREIGNFORCES OR INVASIONS BY SOME DANGEROUS FOE. THAT’S ALL PART OF OUR AMERICAN CULTURE, OUR AMERICAN FOLKLORE. THERE ARE STRONG GROUPS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DEBATE. ONE OF THE BIGGEST IS THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION. THE NRA LOBBIES ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO PASS LEGISLATION MAKING IT EASIER TO CARRY WEAPONS. GROUPS SUCH AS THE NRA INTERPRET THE SECONDAMENDMENT TO PROTECT AN INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY TO BEAR ARMS AND THEY BELIEVE THAT IT IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT THAT SHOULD NOT BE INFRINGED UPON. GUN CONTROL GROUPS INTERPRET THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO PROTECT PEOPLE IN A WELL REGULATED MILITIA, NOT INDIVIDUALS WHO WANT TO OWN A GUN. WE TALKED ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT WHICH GRANTS FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. IT ALSO GRANTS FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND GUARANTEES OUR FREEDOM TO GATHER PEACEFULLY AND TO PROTEST AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. AND WE DISCUSSED THE SECOND AMENDMENT – THE RIGHT TO HAVE A WELL REGULATED MILITIA AND THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. HERE’S THE THIRD AMENDMENT. THIS AMENDMENT SAYS THAT SOLDIERS CAN’T TAKE OVER PRIVATE HOMES DURING TIMES OF PEACE.IT IMPLIES THAT THINGS COULD CHANGE DURING TIMES OF WAR, ALTHOUGH THANKFULLY THAT RULE HAS NEVER BEEN TESTED. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT IS DESIGNED TO PROTECT PEOPLEFROM HAVING THEIR HOUSE, THEIR BELONGINGS,OR THEIR PERSON SEARCHED WITHOUT DUE CAUSE. YOU KNOW, LYNN’S LOCKER WAS SEARCHED YESTERDAY AND SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHY. ARE SCHOOL OFFICIALS ALLOWED TO DO THAT? ISN’T THERE SOMETHING IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS THAT PROTECTS US FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES? YEAH, IT’S THE FOURTH AMENDMENT. BUT SINCE WE’RE STUDENTS, I THINK THINGS MAY BE A LITTLE DIFFERENT. DURING COLONIAL TIMES, CERTAIN CITIES SUCH AS BOSTON WERE OCCUPIED BY BRITISH TROOPS. PEOPLE WERE OFTEN ACCUSED OF CRIMES OR SENT TO JAIL WITHOUT ANY APPARENT REASON. PEOPLE AND THEIR HOMES AND PROPERTIES WERE OFTEN SEARCHED UNREASONABLY. MOST COLONISTS WERE ENRAGED AT THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR AND THEY KNEW THAT IT WAS A VIOLATION OF THEIR PERSONAL SPACE. THAT WAS WHY IT WAS SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE THIS SPECIFIC RIGHT SPELLED OUT IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS. THE WORD ‘PRIVACY’ APPEARS NOWHERE IN THECONSTITUTION, AND YET THE SUPREME COURT IN 1965 DECIDED THAT THE RIGHT OF PRIVACY WAS IMPLIED BY THE CONSTITUTION, THAT DIFFERENT SPECIFIC PROVISIONS SUCH AS THE PROTECTION AGAINST SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, FOR INSTANCE, SUGGESTED THAT THERE WAS A RIGHT OF PRIVACY. JUSTICES OF THE SUPREME COURT LOOKING AT THAT HAVE COME UP WITH WHAT MAY SEEM LIKE A VERY CLEVER APPROACH.WHAT THEY’VE DONE IS LOOKED TO THE OTHERAMENDMENTS AND SAID THAT THERE IS A SHADOW, A ‘PENUMBRA’ IS THE FANCY WORD THEY USED, A SHADOW OF PRIVACY AROUND MANY OF THE AMENDMENTS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS – THE FIRST 10 AMENDMENTS- THAT SAYS THERE MUST BE A RIGHT OF PRIVACYIN THE BILL OF RIGHTS. AND SO THE COURT BASICALLY CREATED A RIGHT OF PRIVACY OUT OF THE WORDS OF THE CONSTITUTION AS IF THEYWERE PLAYING SCRABBLE WITH THE BILL OF RIGHTS. TODAY, THE FOURTH AMENDMENT GUARANTEES US THE SAME BASIC POLICY REGARDING SEARCHES. IN ORDER FOR A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL TO SEARCH YOU, THEY HAVE TO HAVE REASONABLE CAUSE AND A WARRANT SIGNED BY A JUDGE THAT GIVES A NAME OR A DESCRIPTION OF YOU OR YOUR PROPERTY. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT DOES PROTECT MINORS BUT IN A LESSER WAY BECAUSE MINORS ARE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF PEOPLE SUCH AS PARENTS AND SCHOOL OFFICIALS. DOES THAT MEAN YOUNG PEOPLE IN SCHOOLS HAVE NO RIGHTS? ABSOLUTELY NOT. THEY HAVE A LOT OF RIGHTS. IN THE FAMOUS SEARCH AND SEIZURE CASE WHERE THEY SAID THAT CHILDREN HAD AN EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY IN THEIR LOCKERS, WHAT HAPPENED AS A RESULT AFTER THAT IS MANY SCHOOL DISTRICTS SIMPLY CHANGED THE WAY THEY GAVE OUT LOCKERS SO THAT YOUNG PEOPLE WERE NO LONGER BEING TOLD ‘HERE’S YOUR LOCKER WHICH YOU HAVE A RIGHT OF PRIVACY IN’, THEY WERE TOLD ‘HERE’S OUR LOCKER WHICH YOU HAVE NO RIGHT OF PRIVACY IN AND IF YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE NO RIGHT OF PRIVACY YOU MAY USE OUR LOCKER’.OTHER LAWS CONCERNING SEARCHING STUDENTS IN SCHOOL VARY FROM STATE TO STATE. IN 1995, THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT AN OREGON SCHOOL DISTRICT COULD CARRY OUT RANDOM DRUG TESTS ON STUDENT ATHLETES. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE POLICIES FOR SEARCHES ARE IN YOUR SCHOOL AND YOUR STATE? WE AS A SOCIETY, I THINK, ARE QUICK TO ANNOUNCE OUR RIGHTS, BUT ATTENDANT WITH RIGHTS ARE RESPONSIBILITIES AND THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY YOU HAVE AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN IS TO KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHTS ARE AND TO KNOW THAT WITHOUTACTIVELY PROTECTING THOSE RIGHTS, WITHOUT KNOWING YOUR RIGHTS, WITHOUT GOING ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS AND ALSO PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF THE LEAST AMONG US, THOSE RIGHTS ARE WORTH NOTHING. DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT THE BILL OF RIGHTS? OKAY, POP QUIZ. WHO WROTE IT? IN SEPTEMBER 1789, JAMES MADISON SET TO WORK WRITING DOWN THE PEOPLE’S RIGHTS. HE WASN’T TOO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THE JOB BECAUSE HE BELIEVED THAT STATING SPECIFIC RIGHTS WOULD IN THE LONG RUN HINDER PEOPLE FROM OBTAINING THE UNWRITTEN RIGHTS THAT WERE THEIRS. WHAT IF WE INADVERTENTLY OMITTED SOME RIGHTS THAT WE SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED? THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT AT SOME FUTURE POINT SEIZE UPON THAT OMISSION AS BEING AN ADMISSION ON OUR PART THAT WE DIDN’T WISH TO PROTECT THAT RIGHT. SO HE SAW THE ADDITION OF A WRITTEN BILL OF RIGHTS TO BE BOTH UNNECESSARY AND DANGEROUS. THOMAS JEFFERSON CONVINCED HIM THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO CONTROL THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT AND MAINTAININDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN A COURT OF LAW. ELECTED TO THE FIRST CONGRESS, MADISON DRAFTED A SET OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS. 12 WERE APPROVED BY CONGRESS. OF THESE, 10 WERE RATIFIED AND ADDED TO THE CONSTITUTION.THESE 10 ARE KNOWN AS THE BILL OF RIGHTS.THE FIFTH, SIXTH, SEVENTH, AND EIGHTH AMENDMENTS ALL CONCERN THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS ACCUSED OF CRIMES. THE FIFTH AMENDMENT SAYS THAT NO PERSON MAY BE TRIED IN A FEDERAL COURT UNLESS A GRAND JURY SAYS SO. NOR CAN A PERSON BE TRIED TWICE FOR THE SAME CRIME. NO ONE CAN BE FORCED TO TESTIFY AGAINST THEMSELVES. AND AN ACCUSED’S PRIVATE PROPERTY CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY FOR PUBLIC USE. THE SIXTH AMENDMENT GUARANTEES THESE RIGHTS TOTHE ACCUSED: THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL. THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN YOUR DEFENSE. THE RIGHT TO HAVE YOUR CASE DECIDED BY AN IMPARTIAL JURY. THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT YOU’VE BEEN ACCUSED OF AND WHO ACCUSED YOU. THE RIGHT TO SEE PEOPLE TESTIFY AGAINST YOU. AND THE RIGHT TO HAVE WITNESSES IN YOUR DEFENSE. THE SIXTH AMENDMENT GUARANTEES THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL BY AN IMPARTIAL JURY. WHAT’S A SPEEDY TRIAL? WHAT’S AN IMPARTIAL JURY? THE FRAMERS DIDN’T SAY. THEY LEFT IT OPEN. THE 8TH AMENDMENT PROHIBITS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. WHAT’S CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT? THE FRAMERS DIDN’T SAY. THEY LEFT IT UP TO US. BUT IF IT WEREN’T FOR THAT AMBIGUITY, THE CONSTITUTION WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO LAST AS LONG AS IT HAS.THE SEVENTH AMENDMENT PROMISES THAT IN NON-CRIMINAL TRIALS YOU STILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE YOUR CASE TRIED BY A JURY AND TO HAVE ALL LAWS UPHELD DURING YOUR TRIALFOR VALUES IN DISPUTE FOR AS LITTLE AS $20.ACTUALLY, THIS ONE’S A LITTLE OUT OF DATE.LAWSUITS ARE NOT TRIED IN FEDERAL COURTSUNLESS VERY LARGE SUMS OF MONEY ARE INVOLVED. THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT SAYS THAT BAILS AND FINES SHALL NOT BE EXCESSIVE, NOR SHOULD PUNISHMENTS BE CRUEL OR UNUSUAL.THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS OVERWHELMINGLY CONCERNED WITH THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED SIMPLY BECAUSE EACH OF ITS PROVISIONS IS IN RESPONSE TO A SPECIFIC ABUSE OF POWER BY THE BRITISH. SO YOU’RE BUILDING A NEW GOVERNMENT. YOU WANT TO BUILD INTO THAT LIMITATIONS TO SAY, FOR INSTANCE, THAT THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT COMPEL A PERSON TO TESTIFY AGAINST HIMSELF AT TRIAL. TO GUARANTEE A PERSON THE RIGHT TO HAVE AN ATTORNEY. AT THE CORE OF OUR COURT SYSTEM AND AT THE CORE OF MANY OF THOSE RIGHTS WAS THE SENSE THAT IT’S BETTER TO LET A LOT OF GUILTY PEOPLE GO FREE SO THAT THE INNOCENT ARE PROTECTED. WE OBVIOUSLY ARE OFFENDED WHEN PEOPLE WE THINK ARE GUILTY GO FREE. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENS GENERALLY ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, NOT MANY PEOPLE ARE GOING FREE BECAUSE THEY WERE AFFORDED RIGHTS. THOSE RIGHTS JUST KEEP EVERYBODY IN THE SYSTEM PLAYING BY THE CORRECT RULES. I THINK A WHOLE LOT MORE WOULD GO BAD IF WE DIDN’T HAVE THOSE RIGHTS. WELL, HOPEFULLY I’LL NEVER HAVE TO EXERCISE MY FIFTH, SIXTH, SEVENTH, OR EIGHTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS. BUT ARE THOSE ALL OF MY RIGHTS? HOW CAN THE CONSTITUTION POSSIBLY LIST THEM ALL? THAT’S WHY THE NINTH AMENDMENT WAS ADDED. IT SAYS THAT ALL THE RIGHTS THAT ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY SPELLED OUT IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS ARE RESERVED BY THE PEOPLE. LIKE VOTING – SEVERAL AMENDMENTS HAVE BEEN ADDED GUARANTEEING EVERY SINGLE ADULT CITIZEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THAT’S CORRECT. THE CONSTITUTION IS A LIVING DOCUMENT AND CHANGING TIMES CAN CREATE THE NEED FOR NEW LAWS. 16 AMENDMENTS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE CONSTITUTION SINCE THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS WRITTEN. SO CALL IT A WORK IN PROGRESS. THE NINTH AMENDMENT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL WILDCARD THAT SLIPPED INTO THE DECK, AND IT SERVES AS A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF UNWRITTEN RIGHTS, OF SILENT RIGHTS, OF RIGHTS LIKE A RIGHT TO MARRIAGE, A RIGHT TO EDUCATION, A RIGHT TO TRAVEL, A RIGHT OF PRIVACY. THERE’S ONE MORE AMENDMENT IN THE ORIGINAL BILL OF RIGHTS, AND WHILE NOT AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT, IT IS STILL AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ONE. THE 10TH AMENDMENT MAINTAINS THAT POWERS NOT SPECIFICALLY GIVEN TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ARE RESERVED BY THE STATES AND THE PEOPLE. THESE ARE CALLED THE RESERVED POWERS. IT’S IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN’T SUDDENLY THINK UP A NEW POWER AND ADD IT. NOT WITHOUT OUR APPROVAL. I GUESS THAT’S WHY THE CONSTITUTION IS AMERICA’S MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT AND WHY IT IS A MODEL FOR NEW GOVERNMENTS ALL OVER THE WORLD. AS MANY NATIONS AROUND THE WORLD GO ABOUT THE PROCESS OF CREATING NEW CONSTITUTIONS,THEY COME TO THE UNITED STATES TO STUDY OR THEY CALL OUR SCHOLARS OVER TO ASK THEM QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR CONSTITUTION AND OUR BILL OF RIGHTS. IT MAY BE OVER 200 YEARS OLD BUT IT’S A DOCUMENT WHICH STILL HAS TREMENDOUS RESPECT AND PRESTIGE AROUND THE WORLD. THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS NOT SELF INTERPRETING, ITS NOT SELF ENDURING. THE FACT THAT IT MEANS SOMETHING TODAY IS NO GUARANTEE THAT 50 YEARS FROM NOW OR EVEN20 YEARS FROM NOW IT’S GOING TO MEAN VERY MUCH. EACH GENERATION HAS TO PROTECT ITS OWN LIBERTIES AND ITS OWN FREEDOMS.WITHOUT SUPPORT BY THE PEOPLE, THE PROVISIONS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS ARE SIMPLY PLATITUDES WRITTEN ON PAPER. OUR FOUNDING FATHERS SOUGHT TO BOTH CREATE AND LIMIT GOVERNMENT POWER. THEY BELIEVED THAT REGULAR PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME ARE ABLE TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS AND GOVERN OURSELVES.WE ARE A REPUBLIC BECAUSE WE CHOOSE TO ALLOW REPRESENTATIVES TO ACT FOR US IN GOVERNING. WE ARE A DEMOCRACY BECAUSE WE EXERCISE OUR RIGHT AND PRIVILEGE TO VOTE.BUT WHAT UNITES US AS A PEOPLE IS GREATER EVEN THAN THESE THINGS. WE ARE UNITED IN OUR FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF IN THE RIGHTS OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS TO THE BLESSINGS OF JUSTICE AND LIBERTY.

 

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