The Bill of Rights
of the U.S. Constitution

Article I.

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.

Article II.

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.

Article III.

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.

Article IV.

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.

Article V.

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 offence 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.

Article VI.

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 defence.

Article VII.

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 re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article VIII.

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

Article IX.

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

Article X.

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.

The Forgotten Ninth Amendment

The Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution was enacted into the Constitution with the same formalities as any other amendment. The wording is simple:

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

This clearly states that the list of rights in the Constitution is not the complete list of rights people have that government is bound to respect. The Constitution itself says that people retain rights even though they are not mentioned expressly in the Constitution.

What is a constitution? It is a charter of government. It is the rule by which the governing authorities are supposed to be guided. A bill of rights recognizes rights that the citizen has against the government. It is a limitation on government power. Unfortunately, the provisions of the Constitution that give power to government are respected quite a bit more than the provisions that limit that power.

If you ever happen to meet a US Supreme Court justices (or, indeed, any judge), please ask him or her one question:
Have you ever cast a vote recognizing under the Ninth Amendment that somebody had a right?

The answer, if you get one, will be no. If you get the chance to ask a second question, ask:
Why do you think they bothered passing a whole constitutional amendment if the courts are going to say it doesn't mean anything?

Only Justice Rehnquist has publicly announced (in a speech) his view of the Ninth Amendment. He thinks that despite the discussion in the amendment of "rights," the Ninth Amendment provides nobody any rights whatsoever.

This is typical of the entrenched judiciary's method of interpreting away constitutional rights. The Second Amendment provides that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The framers of the constitution in some cases gave rights to states, in other cases, directly to the people. So, what right did the framers give to people in the Second Amendment? If you ask a Supreme Court justice, you will learn, no rights whatsoever. If the Government wants to throw you in jail for bearing arms, that violates none of your rights, because the Second Amendment gives you no rights. According to the courts, the Second Amendment is there just to take up space. It provides no limit on Government power, and no right to any person.

The Commerce Clause permits federal regulation of interstate commerce. The Supreme Court thinks that this permits the federal government to criminalize any act they choose, as long as something used in the activity once traveled in interstate commerce. For example, a man was recently convicted in federal court of possessing a firearm because it had traveled in interstate commerce in 1913, before he was born. His activity in bearing the firearm did not involve other states, nor was it commerce. Yet, the Government's power to regulate "interstate commerce" that is neither interstate nor commerce trumps the people's right to "bear arms." In American courts, the powers of government are given the most expansive definition. Rights against government power, in contrast, get the narrowest possible definition.

Today, the US constitution is in serious decline. If the Justices like a constitutional provision, they give it full enforcement. (First Amendment, Commerce clause). If they dislike a constitutional provision, they give it only the most limited enforcement. (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Amendments). If they really hate the constitutional provision, they give it no enforcement at all. (Second, Ninth Amendments).

Before the fall of the Soviet Union, it had a great constitution, which provided all sorts of rights to people. The problem was, no courts would ever enforce those rights. So, they became thoroughly without value, and the constitution was just a sham. So too with our constitution. It has only the value that entrenched government officials are willing to concede, and nothing more.

So, while we trumpet that we are the great land of freedom that beat the Soviet Union, in reality we are becoming more and more like them every day.

Read more about the decline of the constitution.
Read more about expansion of Government power.
Return to The Injustice Line.