November 3, 2012
Attorney Charlene Bean
Assignment 1: Justifying the Bill of Rights
The amendments are an important part of the U.S. Constitution because the Bill of Rights has a remarkable effect on all Americans in our everyday lives and in our legal system. Therefore, I feel the 10th Amendment which refers to powers not given to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. This is the most important amendment in the definition of federal v. states’ powers. Since the early 1900s, the federal government has assumed a considerable amount of power that the states have let go. Much of this power has to do with regulation of the economy by the federal government, education, and the funding of government programs. One example was the denial of federal funding to states by the Reagan administration (1981-89) for highway construction unless the state reduced the speed limit to 55 mph. This amendment is the most important one in the Constitution for permitting the people of the states to decide their own lifestyle, their distribution of possessions, the way they educate their citizens, provide medical care, and control the environment. This provides a clear path to creating the living conditions that each American would like. The way to start asserting this power is to encourage state leaders to resist unfunded federal mandates. An example would be to not enforce the “No Child Left Behind” Act and its never-ending testing of students unless the federal government provides the funds to carry it out (Bates, N.D.). Furthermore, the 14th amendment is another of the big amendments to the Bill of Rights. It was written for the all states to stand by, in part “that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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” (Bureau of International Information Programs United States Department of State, 2004). Every business day, courts throughout the United States render decisions that together affect hundreds of thousands of people. However, some affect only the parties to a particular legal action, but others adjudicate rights, benefits, and legal principles that have an influence on virtually all Americans. Inevitably, many Americans welcome a given ruling while others, sometimes countless others, disapprove, accept for the legality of these decisions, and of the courts’ role as final translator of the law. There can be no more powerful demonstration of the trust that Americans place in the rule of law and their conﬁdence in the U.S. legal system (Bureau of International Information Programs United States Department of State, 2004). The one amendment that comprises the Bill of Rights for closer analysis, I feel is the Third Amendment and it definitely should be the first to get a closer analysis. It is ignored because it is, in fact, of no current importance whatsoever (although it did, for obvious reasons, have importance at the time of the founding). It has never, for a single minute, been viewed by any modern lawyers or groups of laypeople as highly relevant to their legal or political concerns. For this reason, there is almost no case law on Amendment III. (Levinson, N.D.). In my opinion, the 6th Amendment offers the most protection for defendants as it states, “[I]n 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...