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    2nd_semester_The bill of rights

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    charradi myriam

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    2nd_semester_The bill of rights

    Post by charradi myriam on Sun Apr 08, 2007 1:33 am

    The Constitution has a total of 27 amendments. The first ten, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified simultaneously. The following seventeen were ratified separately.

    [edit] The Bill of Rights (1–10)
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    United States Bill of Rights
    United States Bill of Rights currently housed in the National Archives
    United States Bill of Rights currently housed in the National Archives

    Main article: United States Bill of Rights

    The Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Those amendments were adopted between 1789 and 1791, and all relate to limiting the power of the federal government. They were added in response to criticisms of the Constitution by the state ratification conventions and by prominent individuals such as Thomas Jefferson (who was not a delegate to the Constitutional Convention). These critics argued that without further restraints, the strong central government would become tyrannical. The amendments were proposed by Congress as part of a block of twelve in September 1789. By December 1791 a sufficient number of states had ratified ten of the twelve proposals, and the Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution.

    It is commonly understood that the Bill of Rights was not originally intended to apply to the states, though except where amendments refer specifically to the Federal Government or a branch thereof (as in the first amendment, under which some states in the early years of the nation officially established a religion), there is no such delineation in the text itself. Nevertheless, a general interpretation of inapplicability to the states remained until 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, which stated, in part, that:
    “ No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ”

    The Supreme Court has interpreted this clause to extend most, but not all, parts of the Bill of Rights to the states. Nevertheless, the balance of state and federal power has remained a battle in the Supreme Court.

    The amendments that became the Bill of Rights were actually the last ten of the twelve amendments proposed in 1789. The second of the twelve proposed amendments, regarding the compensation of members of Congress, remained unratified until 1992, when the legislatures of enough states finally approved it and, as a result, it became the Twenty-seventh Amendment despite more than two centuries of pendency. The first of the twelve—still technically pending before the state legislatures for ratification—pertains to the apportionment of the United States House of Representatives after each decennial census. The most recent state whose lawmakers are known to have ratified this proposal is Kentucky in 1792 during that commonwealth's first month of statehood.

    * First Amendment: addresses the rights of freedom of religion (prohibiting the Congress establishment of religion over another religion through Law and protecting the right to free exercise of religion), freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition.

    * Second Amendment: declares "a well regulated militia" as "necessary" to maintaining a free state, and as explanation for prohibiting infringement of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms."

    * Third Amendment: prohibits the government from using private homes as quarters for soldiers without the consent of the owners. The only existing case law regarding this amendment is a lower court decision in the case of Engblom v. Carey. [1]

    * Fourth Amendment: guards against searches, arrests, and seizures of property without a specific warrant or a "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed. Some rights to privacy have been inferred from this amendment and others by the Supreme Court.

    * Fifth Amendment: forbids trial for a major crime except after indictment by a grand jury; prohibits double jeopardy (repeated trials), except in certain very limited circumstances; forbids punishment without due process of law; and provides that an accused person may not be compelled to testify against himself (this is also known as "Taking the fifth" or "Pleading the fifth"). This is regarded as the "rights of the accused" amendment. It also prohibits government from taking private property without "just compensation," the basis of eminent domain in the United States.

    * Sixth Amendment: guarantees a speedy public trial for criminal offenses. It requires trial by a jury (of peers), guarantees the right to legal counsel for the accused, and guarantees that the accused may require witnesses to attend the trial and testify in the presence of the accused. It also guarantees the accused a right to know the charges against him. The Sixth Amendment has several court cases associated with it, including Powell v. Alabama, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Crawford v. Washington. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that the fifth amendment prohibition on forced self incrimination and the sixth amendment clause on right to counsel were to be made known to all persons placed under arrest, and these clauses have become known as the Miranda rights.

    * Seventh Amendment: assures trial by jury in civil cases involving anything valued at more than 20 United States dollars at the time, which is currently worth $300, when accounting for inflation.

    * Eighth Amendment: forbids excessive bail or fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.

    * Ninth Amendment: declares that the listing of individual rights in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is not meant to be comprehensive; and that the people have other rights not specifically mentioned, but rather retained elsewhere by the people.

    * Tenth Amendment: provides that powers that the Constitution does not delegate to the United States and does not prohibit the states from exercising, are "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

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