Justifying the Bill of Rights
Introduction to paralegal
February 2, 2014
The Constitution of the United States of America is perhaps the most valued and important document in our country. The basis of all law in the United States is the Constitution. This Constitution is a document written by “outcasts" of England. The Constitution of the United States sets forth the nation's fundamental laws. It establishes the form of the national government and defines the rights and liberties of the American people. It also lists the aims of the government and the methods of achieving them.
The Constitution was written to organize a strong national government for the ...view middle of the document...
States also can limit voting rights to people who have registered to vote. Freedom of speech does not allow a person to tell lies that damage someone's reputation. Many other civil rights also have limits.
The U.S. Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights (Amendments 1 to 10), protects individuals from wrong or unjust accusations and punishments by law enforcement officials. Amendment 4 protects individuals against unreasonable and unwarranted searches and seizures of their property. It establishes conditions for the lawful issuing and use of search warrants by government officials in order to protect the right of individuals to security “in their persons, houses, papers and effects.” There must be a “probable cause” for issuing a warrant to authorize a search or arrest, and the place to be searched, the objects sought, and the person to be arrested must be precisely described. Amendment 5 states certain legal and procedural rights of individuals. For example, the government may not act against an individual in the following ways:
• Hold an individual to answer for a serious crime unless the prosecution presents appropriate evidence to a grand jury that indicates the likely guilt of the individual.
• Try an individual more than once for the same offense.
• Force an individual to act as a witness against himself in a criminal case.
• Deprive an individual of life, liberty, or property without due process of law (fair and proper legal proceedings).
Amendment 6 guarantees people suspected or accused of a crime certain protections against the power of government. It provides these rights to individuals:
• A speedy public trial before an unbiased jury picked from the state and community in which the crime was committed.
• Information about what the individual has been accused of and why the accusation has been made.
• A meeting with witnesses offering testimony against the individual.
• Means of obtaining favorable witnesses, including the right to subpoena, or legally compel, witnesses to testify in court.
• Help from a lawyer.
Amendment 8 protects individuals from overly harsh punishments and excessive fines and bail (the amount of money required to secure a person's release from custody while awaiting trial). Amendment 14 provides general protection for the rights of the accused against the powers of state governments. This amendment forbids state governments from making and enforcing laws that will deprive any individual of life, liberty, or property “without due process of law"; it also says that a state government may not deny to any person under its authority “the equal protection of the laws” (us history, pg 2, 2012).
The U.S. Constitution includes other protections of individual rights that are not in the Bill of Rights or subsequent amendments. For...