2In reviewThe Bill of Rights was the first step in making the Constitution a living document, one that can be amended to reflect the changes in society.The Constitutional Convention provided for such changes. Two-thirds of each house of Congress or two-thirds of the state legislatures can propose an amendment.To become law, an amendment then needs the approval of three-fourths of the states.By this process, the Bill of Rights became the first ten amendments.
3About the Bill of Rights In 1789, The United States Constitution was ratified by majority of states and established the U.S. government as it exists today.But a number of delegates were concerned that the Constitution did not included enough guarantees of personal liberty.Thomas Jefferson, who was living abroad in Paris at the time as U.S. ambassador to France, wrote to James Madison asking him to propose a Bill of Rights to Congress. Madison agreed. After revising Madison's draft, Congress approved a Bill of Rights which are the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.The Bill of Rights however was primarily a symbolic document until the U.S. Supreme Court established its power to strike down unconstitutional legislation in Marbury v. Madison 1803.It is important to understand that the Bill of Rights limits both federal and state powers while protecting individual rights from government oppression through the intervention of federal courts.
4Origins of the First Amendment Congress shall make no law restricting the 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.Origins of the First AmendmentThe founding fathers were concerned with the freedom of speech and freedom of religious exercise which had already implemented in several of the state constitutions.Thomas Jefferson who ultimately persuaded James Madison to propose the Bill of Rights, emphasized the First Amendment as the main priority.
5The second amendment Origins: Controversy: 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.Origins:Having been oppressed by a professional army, the United States had no use for establishing one of their own. Instead, they decided that an armed citizenry makes the best army of all. General George Washington created a "well-regulated militia," which would consist of every able-bodied man in the country.Controversy:The Second Amendment holds the distinction of being the only amendment to the Bill of Rights that essentially goes unenforced. The U.S. Supreme Court has never struck down any piece of legislation on Second Amendment grounds, in part because justices have disagreed on whether the amendment is intended to protect the right to bear arms as an individual right, or as a component of the "well-regulated militia."
6The third amendment Origins: Engblom v. Carey (1982): 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.Origins:In the years leading up to the American Revolution, private citizens were required to house British soldiers in their own homes. Given the tension that existed between British soldiers and colonial citizens, this was an unpleasant situation that the founding fathers did not want to repeat.Engblom v. Carey (1982):The Third Amendment has never been enforced by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was once addressed by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. In Engblom v. Carey, the circuit court held that the State of New York had violated the rights of prison guards who had been evicted from their on-site residences and replaced by National Guard troops after going on strike.
7The fourth amendment Writs of Assistance: The Exclusionary Rule: 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.Writs of Assistance:The Fourth Amendment was written directly in response to British general warrants (called Writs of Assistance), in which the Crown would grant general search powers to British law enforcement official. These officials could search virtually any home they liked, at any time they liked, for any reason they liked or for no reason at all. Since many of the founding fathers were smugglers, this was an especially unpopular concept in the colonies.The Exclusionary Rule:In Weeks v. United States (1914), the Supreme Court established what has been known as the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule states that evidence obtained through unconstitutional means is inadmissible in court and cannot be used as part of the prosecution's case. Before Weeks, law enforcement officials could violate the Fourth Amendment without being punished for it, secure the evidence, and use it at trial. The exclusionary rule establishes consequences for violating a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights.Warrantless Searches:The Supreme Court has held that searches and arrests can be performed without a warrant under some circumstances. Most notably, arrests and searches can be performed if the officer personally witnesses the suspect committing a misdemeanor, or has reasonable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a specific, documented felony.
8The fifth amendment Indictment by a Grand Jury: Double Jeopardy: 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.Indictment by a Grand Jury:Nobody can go to trial for a serious crime, except in a military setting, without first being indicted by a grand jury.Double Jeopardy:The Fifth Amendment also mandates that defendants, once acquitted on a charge, may not be tried again for the same offense at the same jurisdictional level.Pleading the Fifth:The best known clause in the Fifth Amendment protects suspects from forced self-incrimination. When a suspect invokes his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, this is referred to in the vernacular as "pleading the Fifth."The Miranda Rule:Just because a suspect has rights doesn't mean that a suspect knows about those rights. Officers have often used, and sometimes still use, a suspect's ignorance regarding his or her own civil rights to build a case. This all changed with Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the Supreme Court case that created the statement officers are now required to issue upon arrest--beginning with the words "You have the right to remain silent..."
9The sixth amendment The Right to a Speedy Trial: 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.The Right to a Speedy Trial:The "speedy trial" clause is intended to prevent long-term incarceration and detention without trial--which amounts to a prison sentence without a guilty verdict.The Right to a Public Trial:Although public trials would ordinarily seem to be a condition that would work against the defendant, they also ensure that the proceedings are not conducted in an underhanded way. One question currently under debate in the court system is whether televised trials further protect this right, or do they just exploit it?
10The seventh amendment To Summarize: 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.To Summarize:The Seventh Amendment requires jury trials in civil lawsuits where ordinary damages are sought.
11The eighth amendmentExcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.Why Bail is Crucial:Defendants who are not released on bail have greater difficulty preparing their defense They are also, in effect, punished with imprisonment for the duration that they are forced to remain in prison. For this reason, decisions regarding bail should not be made lightly. Bail is extremely high, and sometimes denied, if the client is being charged with an extremely serious offense and poses a flight risk and/or great potential danger to the community, but in the majority of criminal trials bail should be available and affordable.Torture and Prison Conditions:In a contemporary context, the Eighth Amendment certainly prohibits the torture of U.S. citizens--even though torture is generally used as an interrogation method, not as an official form of punishment. Inhumane prison conditions also violate the Eighth Amendment, even though they do not constitute part of the official sentence. The Eighth Amendment, in other words, refers to de facto punishments--whether they are officially handed down as punishments or not.
12The ninth amendmentThe enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.Why This Amendment Exists:When the Bill of Rights was first proposed, the major argument against it was that by specifying some rights that the government was not free to violate, there would be the implication that the government was free to violate any rights not specifically protected in the Constitution. The Ninth Amendment was written to address this concern.Practical Effect:Of all the amendments in the Bill of Rights, none is stranger or harder to interpret than the Ninth. At the time it was proposed, there was no mechanism by which the Bill of Rights could be enforced. The Supreme Court had not yet established the power to strike down unconstitutional legislation, and it was not widely expected to. The Bill of Rights was, in other words, unenforceable. So what would an enforceable Ninth Amendment look like?
13The tenth amendment What the...: Explanation: 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.What the...:You might be asking yourself: Doesn't this contradict the Ninth Amendment? Why state that the Constitution does not disparage unremunerated personal rights, then say that any powers not specifically laid out in the Constitution are reserved for the states?Explanation:When the Tenth Amendment was originally proposed, the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states; it applied only to federal law. States had their own constitutions and their own bills of rights. Some states also had slavery, which was protected under the Tenth Amendment. The American Civil War made it clear that this wasn't a workable system, so the Fourteenth Amendment extended the Bill of Rights and made it applicable to both state and federal law. For this reason, the Tenth Amendment, while still relevant, no longer holds as much power as it once did.
14In Summary and common language Freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly, and petition government.Right to bear armsNo soldier shall stay in anyone's house without the owner's consent.No searches of a person's belongings without a warrant or probable cause.Not required to answer to a court. Nobody can be brought to trial twice for the same crime (no double jeopardy) and no self-intimidation (can’t be a witness against yourself).Right to a speedy and fair trial.When there is a suit of $20 or more, you have the right to a trial.No excessive bail, or cruel punishmentsThe Constitution doesn't deny pre-existing rights.Everything not in the Constitution will be up to the states to decide.