Analyzing the Bill of Rights: Ninth and Tenth Amendments

Topics: United States Constitution, Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. state Pages: 5 (1547 words) Published: April 4, 2013
Analyzing the Bill of Rights: Ninth and Tenth Amendments
Mississippi College

The first eight amendments in the Bill of Rights were intended to protect Americans' specific personal rights. The Founding Fathers recognized the importance of these rights and fought so that the people in the United States would have the independence that no other nation had known. These same men were well aware of the unavoidable sacrifices they were going to have to make. Listing every right that a person should possess was impossible to fit into ten amendments. Therefore, congress made the final two amendments in the Bill of Rights to be an all inclusive statute in an effort to prevent the United States government from discovering a loophole and gaining too much power. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are the final two statutes in the Bill of Rights which outlines the limited control of the government and even more importantly the power of the people.

Analyzing the Bill of Rights: Ninth and Tenth Amendments
History and Explanation of the Ninth Amendment
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” the Bill of Rights (as cited in Costello, Killian, & Thomas, 2002, p. 1605). While the first eight amendments protected personal rights for each citizen, not every member congress supported that each of these rights be listed. Some Federalists were concerned that if specific rights of the people were listed in such an important document, the government would take control over that which was not included or mentioned. The freedom of expression, right to keep and bear arms, protection from forced quartering, right to life, liberty, and property, protection from unwarranted search and seizure, right to a speedy trial, right to a trial by jury, and protection from cruel or unusual punishment are all imperative to American's livelihood. The Ninth Amendment was to explain that the first eight amendments were not an exclusive lists to limit the rights of the people by any means (Costello, Killian, & Thomas, 2002, p. 1605).

Questions arose on how every right that Americans should ideally posses could be included. James Madison still supported the idea of the Bill of Rights and moved to make an amendment protecting these rights that remain unnamed. In a rather ambiguous amendment, he wrote a statute to empower the people and permit them to retain their rights as citizens to which the first eight amendments did not specifically entitle them. A gray area was created where the judicial system must utilize interpretation to ascertain which rights to which this law was referring. This amendment was not written in an effort to list all the rights, but in order to limit the governments' opportunity to take advantage of the American people (Costello, Killian, & Thomas, 2002, p. 1605).

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
The United States Supreme Court ruled that marital privacy in reference to contraception was one of the rights that the Ninth Amendment protected. In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the Supreme Court ruled that Connecticut's law against contraception was unconstitutional. A Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut gave counseling, medical information, and instructions for contraception to married couples who were not intending to have children at that time. The Executive Director Griswold and the Medical Director were willing to give advice to these couples about birth control (Douglas, 1965).

Connecticut State Law prohibited the use of contraceptives or counseling in any capacity which aids in inhibiting conception. Both Griswold and the Medical Director were charged with breaking this law. When this case went to the Supreme Court, they ruled that this law was null and void because this rule violated the people's personal rights. In a seven...

References: Barney, W.L. (2004). Secession of the southern states. Civil War Home, Retrieved from
Costello, G.A., Killian, J.H., & Thomas, K.R. (Ed.). (2002). The Constitution of the united states of america analysis and interpretation. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Douglas, W.O. . (1965). Griswold v. connecticut. Supreme Court Media Oyez, Retrieved from
Outline of the american government. (2010). From Revolution to Reconstruction, Retrieved from
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