Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Amendment.

Amendment VII (1791)
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

This amendment guarantees every Americans the right to a trial, with a jury of their peers.

Amendment VIII (1791)
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

More basic human rights.

Amendment IX (1791)
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This is the Amendment that I’ve been wanting to get to. On the surface, it is just another say nothing, do nothing amendment, but actually I think that it is one of the most important amendments of all.

Back when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were being framed there was heated controversy over what they should say and mean. Some federalists claimed that there should be no Bill of Rights, because they were afraid that if they specifically listed those rights, that it would imply that Americans were not entitled to rights not listed. But the Anti-Federalists insisted that they wanted a Bill of Rights that list those rights that should not ever be taken away. The compromise was the ninth amendment, stating that if it is not listed anywhere that you don’t have a certain right, you indeed do have that right.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that; “You don’t have a right to privacy”. By extension, some scholars say that the ninth amendment guarantees your right to privacy.

One of the decisions made under the ninth amendment was Roe V Wade: “the District Court that heard the case of Roe v. Wade ruled in favor of a "Ninth Amendment right to choose to have an abortion."

Further: "Gun rights activists in recent decades have sometimes argued for a fundamental natural right to keep and bear arms that both predates the U.S. Constitution and is covered by the Constitution's Ninth Amendment; according to this viewpoint, the Second Amendment protects only a pre-existing right to keep and bear arms. In the related case of United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), the Supreme Court held that while Congress has broad lawmaking authority under the Commerce Clause, it is not unlimited, and does not apply to something as far from commerce as carrying handguns".

While the Ninth Amendment - and indeed the entire Bill of Rights - originally concerned restrictions upon federal power, the subsequently enacted Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the States as well from abridging fundamental personal liberties. And, the Ninth Amendment, in indicating that not all such liberties are specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments, is surely relevant in showing the existence of other fundamental personal rights, now protected from state, as well as federal, infringement.

Amendment X (1791)
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This gives the States the right to enact their own laws, as long as the don't conflict with federal laws.

And those folks, are your Rights! If you want to chime in about freeing the slaves or giving the women the Right to Vote, now is the time to chime in, because we are now moving away from the American Constitution.


Anonymous said...

Alright, now my eyes are glazing over.


Ernie Branscomb said...


I did a lot of studying while I did these posts. It was just like I was back in the Eighth grade, but I have a darn good feeling of what my rights are.

Unfortunately, It doesn’t make any difference what you know your rights are, What does make a difference, is when somebody breaks your door down, shots your dog, and gets away with it, is what counts. I guess that I’m a little hung up on that one.

How about if you are one crazy preacher, molesting kids and engaging in multiple sex acts like David Koresh, at his branch Davidian church filled with men women and children. Does your government have the right to engage in stupidity that kills them all?

How about if you take a hack saw and saw the stock and barrel off a shotgun. Does that give your government the right to shoot your dogs, kid, and wife, like happened at Ruby Ridge?

Fortunately most of our local lawmen are pretty decent and reasonable people. But, every now and then, outside forces and unsupervised forces move in. We’ve been lucky so far, but I don’t think some of those folks are as concerned about your rights as they should be.

Ernie Branscomb said...

My next post is about a damn fine nature picture. I already saw it, but now I've got to go take it. The picture is right under Kim Sallaways nose, but I don't think that he has seen it yet.

This is going to be good!

Robin Shelley said...

There may be more to your "we are now moving away from the American Constitution" remark than you intended, Ernie.