August 2, 2012
The Framers Intent Paper
In this paper I will describe the original intent of the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to privacy, and criminals’ rights. I will explain current views of the provisions of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to privacy, and criminals’ rights. I will assess which events and opinions have changed the intent of each of these provisions over time. I will evaluate the effects of Supreme Court decisions related to these provisions and express consideration for the future of these provisions. Freedom of speech and of the press served one purpose in America: To remove the fear of the common law doctrine of seditious libel so citizens could freely speak or publish without license their grievances against public policy or conduct of public officials. One of the distasteful things found under the common law was the government practice of criminalizing or shielding itself through requiring license to publish of any criticism it felt made people dissatisfied with their government or government established religion. The Constitutional Framers understood that government encouragement of religion was not equal to the establishment of religion; that, as George Washington said, "Religion and morality were indispensable supports" to political prosperity. Indeed, on the day the First Amendment was passed by the Congress in 1789, Washington accepted Congress' charge to proclaim a day of "public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God." As Chief Justice Rehnquist opined in the Jaffree case, "History must judge whether it was the Father of our country in 1789, or the Court which has strayed from the meaning of the Establishment Clause." Under original intent, the third, fourth and fifth amendments would imply that a constitutional right to privacy exists. These...