Fundamental Rights: What Defines Them
Rocheen Dawn Pearson
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Preamble – Constitution of the United States
Fundamental orders (rights) date back to biblical days, recorded by Moses in the first chapter of Deuteronomy (Skousen, 2009). In essence, religious order and belifs are the foundation of our Constitution. The Constitution was drafted by a wide variety of men who, although from different backgrounds and areas of the country, shared beliefs concerning religious principles, political guidelines, economic rudiments, and long-ranged social goals. Because individual liberty lies at the core of the American constitutional system, more rights are protected under law in the United States than in other societies (Hall, 2005).
The first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, were intended to delineate the fundamental rights of the people of the United States. The Ninth Amendment is short, but not simple: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Cavanaugh, 2010, February). But what does this mean? Four amendments have been added to the original Constitution to ensure that everyone enjoys equal rights: The Thirteenth Amendment to provide universal freedom; the Fourteenth Amendment to provide universal rights of citizenship; the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to provide universal voting rights regardless of race, color or sex; the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to provide the right to vote regardless of economic status (no poll tax). Fortunately, through the Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, the United States Constitution grants all fundamental rights to all people. If violations of fundamental rights are not remedied, then fundamental rights are denied. By definition, preservation of fundamental rights is essential to society. According to
Loving v. Virginia: The Right to Marry
Who are we to dictate who to fall in love with? Inter-racial relationships are no ones business except the people involved. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states in part that “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” (DeLeo, 2006) and the Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution grants all fundamental rights not already granted in other parts of the Constitution. Each right is a liberty and liberty is the ability to do whatever one wants.
The Fourteenth Amendment of our Constitution requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by racial discriminations. The freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed upon by the State. After the Civil War, especially in the south, states instituted anti-miscegenation laws which harshly prohibited interracial unions in an attempt to continue to assert white supremacy over blacks, despite the official abolishment of slavery. In the case Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled the State of Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, unconstitutional, ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. This statute was in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment right that protects life, liberty, and property. The Supreme Court was correct in this decision since Loving exemplified the rights afforded by the Constitution. The Virginia statute was written as a means to continue racism, discrimination, and segregation....