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The Bill of Rights

  

Category:  News & Politics

By:  robert-in-ohio  •  one month ago  •  32 comments

The Bill of Rights
"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." James Madison

The Bill of Rights – the basis for our way of life or a list of items wielded as a weapon by political opportunists to serve their own rather than the country’s best interests.

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press

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.

Amendment 2 - The Right to Bear Arms

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.

Amendment 3 - The Housing of Soldiers

No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment 4 - Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5 - Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property

No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Amendment 6 - Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment 7 - Rights in Civil Cases

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.

Amendment 8 - Excessive Bail, Fines, and Punishments Forbidden

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment 9 - Other Rights Kept by the People

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

Amendment 10 - Undelegated Powers Kept by the States and the People

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.

Future articles will provide for discussion of each of these “rights” individually, but for now let us look at the following, regards the entire Bill of Rights.

Are these rights of equal importance? 

Is it possible that one or more these rights could be at odds with the one more of the remaining on the list? 

Should some of these rights be interpreted as written” while others should “evolve with the time we live in”?


Red Box Rules

This article is not about Trump or Biden

This article is not about the 2016 or 2020 or the 2024 election

This article is not about MAGA, or the ultra-left

This article is about the Bill of Rights extraneous and off topic comments will be deleted


 

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Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
1  author  Robert in Ohio    one month ago

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.'

To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power not longer susceptible of any definition.

This is what Mr. Jefferson said, what say you?
 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2  Vic Eldred    one month ago

I say it is all in danger.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    one month ago

Bring on the blame game.

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
2.2  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    one month ago

'I say it is all in danger.'

Why and from what?

In my view, the constitution and the bill of rights have withstood the test of time, a civil war, world wars, internal strife (both social and economic), changing demographics and still serves as the base on which our country stands?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.2.1  JBB  replied to  Robert in Ohio @2.2    one month ago

[removed]

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.2.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Robert in Ohio @2.2    one month ago
Why and from what?

Censorship from the federal government and American Universities.

Two standards of law currently in force.

 
 
 
George
Sophomore Guide
2.2.3  George  replied to  Robert in Ohio @2.2    one month ago

[removed]

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.2.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.2.2    one month ago

[removed]

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
2.2.5  bugsy  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.2.4    one month ago

[removed]

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3  JBB    one month ago

[removed]

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Junior Guide
3.1  Right Down the Center  replied to  JBB @3    one month ago

removed for context by charger

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
3.2  bugsy  replied to  JBB @3    one month ago

[removed]

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.3  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @3    one month ago

removed for context by charger

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4  JohnRussell    one month ago

I did a word count on the "Bill Of Rights"  ten amendments. In total , including the individual amendment titles, there are 553 words, or about the length of a short opinion column in a daily newspaper, in the Bill Of Rights. 

My point being that these amendments are NOT sufficiently specific and are always subject to current interpretation. If everything had been made crystal clear by the founders, there would be no need for a Supreme Court, we could just refer to what the founding text said on what constitutes "free speech" in the 21st century. Unfortunately all the constitution says on the subject of free speech is "no law .....abridging the freedom of speech". Thats it. 

Nothing in there about not being able to yell "fire" in a crowded theater.  But who decides whether yelling fire in a crowded theater is free speech or not?  Who decides the municipal codes that might regulate conduct within a theater?  A theater is presumably a private business thus not required to allow constitutional "free speech", but how can there be "free" speech if it doesnt apply at all times in all situations? 

My point being that all the ten amendments are subject to ongoing interpretation. 

One day the second amendment will be interpreted by another Supreme Court as prohibiting private ownership of guns. And that prohibition will be entirely constitutional. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @4    one month ago

There it is. The defense of censorship.

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
4.2  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  JohnRussell @4    one month ago
But who decides whether yelling fire in a crowded theater is free speech or not? 

That would be the judicial branch - judicial review

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
4.3  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  JohnRussell @4    one month ago
But who decides whether yelling fire in a crowded theater is free speech or not? 

That would be the judicial branch - judicial review

My point being that all the ten amendments are subject to ongoing interpretation. 

I agree with this point completely.

One day the second amendment will be interpreted by another Supreme Court as prohibiting private ownership of guns. And that prohibition will be entirely constitutional. 

I am not sure that I agree with this point, if it indeed happens we will all be long dead when it does - it is years away at this point.

Thanks for contributing some great points

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
5  charger 383    one month ago

The Second gives Citizens the ability to protect the others.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  charger 383 @5    one month ago

That's the best definition of the 2nd I've ever read. I like to think that the 2nd is what makes the 1st possible

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
5.1.1  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1    one month ago

Considering when the first 10 amendments were adopted and ratified,mho is that they all work together and protect not only themselves, but the entire main body deliniating the powers of government along with the restrictions placed on governments themselves, which some could argue is exactly what we call the bill of rights is in essence.

From the time period of adoption , if the people could not protect themselves, how could they be expected to protect the government elected by them?

My feeling is the USCON, is to be viewed as a whole, not just the parts one likes or wants, and each part is required to be used in the application of any one part.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @5.1.1    one month ago

good points

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
5.1.3  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1.2    one month ago

Thank you

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
5.2  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  charger 383 @5    one month ago

A point for the upcoming article on the second amendment

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Junior Guide
6  Right Down the Center    one month ago

IMO there seems to be more disagreement about what the feds can do that will extend to all the states and what the states should be able to do.  RvW has brought that to the forefront.  Also it seems that the supreme court has become predictable with the idea of what the founders wanted vs evolving constitution/BOR and even how much power they have.  It is not  perfect but it is what we have and it is still better than most (if not all) places on earth.

PS LWNJ vs RWNJ

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
6.1  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  Right Down the Center @6    one month ago

Good points, except for the PS which is not relevant to our discussion here.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Expert
7  Nerm_L    one month ago

Controversy invites pontification.  So controversy, itself, becomes the obstacle for discussing consensus.  The means undermines the ends.

IMO the significance of the Bill of Rights, as a whole, was to establish intent as guiding principle.  The rather obvious intent was to declare that the central government was not to have unilateral authority over the newly formed country.  The men who wrote, negotiated, and ratified the Constitution were not very far removed from monarchs, emperors, and the concentrated authority of government over the governed.  The founders still lived at a time when rights accrued to government at the expense of those governed. 

Democracy that concentrates authority over the governed is not truly democracy; the Greeks had made a mistake.  A popular (or populist) autocrat is still just an autocrat.  The founders attempted to address the flaws of democracy by establishing a republic requiring consensus from decentralized state governments.  The founders' intent was to establish a guiding principle that those who are governed retain independent, inalienable authority that could not be infringed by democracy.

So, the question raised by current politics is whether or not those claiming to defend democracy are actually espousing tyranny?  It seems apparent that the Bill of Rights laid out a guiding principle that the Federal government was not intended to be a democracy.  

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
7.1  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  Nerm_L @7    one month ago

Nerm

Thanks for a thoughtful response

A couple of points/counterpoints if I may

The founders still lived at a time when rights accrued to government at the expense of those governed. 

A very good point, some might even offer that this point is still true today.

Not everyone wants to accept it, but the US is a hybrid - neither a true democracy or simply a federal republic (which is what the founders intended)

"In a republic, an official set of fundamental laws, like the   U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights , prohibits the government from limiting or taking away certain “inalienable” rights of the people, even if that government was freely chosen by a majority of the people. In a pure democracy, the voting majority has almost limitless power over the minority. 

The United States, like most modern nations, is neither a pure republic nor a pure democracy. Instead, it is a hybrid democratic republic.

The main difference between a democracy and a republic is the extent to which the people control the process of making laws under each form of government."

Read further at Republic vs. Democracy: What Is the Difference? (thoughtco.com)

So, the question raised by current politics is whether or not those claiming to defend democracy are actually espousing tyranny?  It seems apparent that the Bill of Rights laid out a guiding principle that the Federal government was not intended to be a democracy.  

Another good point

I am not sure that I totally agree with your conclusion, but here is plenty of source material that would agree.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Expert
7.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Robert in Ohio @7.1    one month ago
Thanks for a thoughtful response

Thanks.  I do try.  Expending the effort is worthwhile when the response is discussion or, even, meaningful debate.  Throwing insults can be entertaining but doesn't hold interest for long.

 Not everyone wants to accept it, but the US is a hybrid - neither a true democracy or simply a federal republic (which is what the founders intended)

I can accept that the US government is a hybrid by academic standards.  But I contend that the form of government in the United States is unique and was something new and untried in the history of civilizations.  That's why the United States was (and continues to be, perhaps) an experiment.  To me the important aspect of the US government is not how government functions but, rather, how government shares authority.  

IMO the United States is not either a democracy or a republican.  And I do not see the United States as being both a democracy and a republic.  To me the United States is something unique that stands apart.  The European Union attempted to follow the model of the United States.  Even the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics attempted to follow the model of the United States.

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
7.1.2  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.1    one month ago

I am not sur I understand your point about the USSR - how did they follow the model established by the United States through the constitution and ensuing amendments thereto.  

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Expert
7.1.3  Nerm_L  replied to  Robert in Ohio @7.1.2    one month ago
I am not sur I understand your point about the USSR - how did they follow the model established by the United States through the constitution and ensuing amendments thereto.  

The original USSR (version 1.0, founded in 1922) consisted of a confederation of four states (Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and a Caucasian country that later split into Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia).  Each of the states (Republics in the USSR) were supposed to function with autonomous sovereignty (as worker collectives, the socialist form of democracy) and the union of the Republics was to function as a federated republic.  Originally Moscow was the headquarters of the confederation somewhat like New York is the headquarters of the United Nations.  (Ukraine did try to have the headquarters moved to Kiev which is one reason why Kiev plays a larger role in Soviet history.  Ukraine was challenging Russia for control of Soviet government in the USSR.)

The USSR really was originally created to function in a manner similar to the United States.  However, civil wars and insurrections (real and politically imagined) provided justification to concentrate power and authority in Moscow (which favored Russia by default).  The Soviet bloc countries acquired as a result of WWII established the USSR 2.0 which further concentrated power and authority in Moscow (and Russia).

Note that when the USSR collapsed it was because the supposedly autonomous Republics chose to become independent through a mechanism loosely similar to Brexit.  

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
8  Kavika     one month ago

Interestingly enough Native Americans are not covered (protected) by the Bill of Rights.

It wasn't until 1968 that congress passed the ''Indian Bill of Rights''..

 
 
 
Robert in Ohio
Professor Guide
8.1  author  Robert in Ohio  replied to  Kavika @8    one month ago

Kavika

There are many things about the way Native Americans were and are treated by the government that are stains on our history and the conscience of the nation.

Excellent point in this context

 
 

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