The Bill of Rights is Dead – Other Amendments Also Missing

So, as I read today that Edward Snowden has had his citizenship revoked (quite illegally), it got me thinking about which amendments that violated. Then I started looking at the whole list, and I realized that a case can be made for each one being dead (or at least in some sort of vegetative state). Some of the cases I might not agree with, but the arguments are there. For example, if I argue “gun control isn’t preventing gun ownership, it’s just regulating it for safety”, note that the same argument is made against things like protests – “We’re just moving them off-site and disbursing people for safety”. I don’t like it, but it’s fair. Watch how often “for safety” comes up.

First:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zone

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/opinion/spying-on-the-associated-press.html?_r=0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street

Second:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_Weapons_Ban

Third:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/mag_article/how_did_americas_police_become_a_military_force_on_the_streets

http://www.volokh.com/2013/07/04/a-real-live-third-amendment-case

Fourth:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/06/a-reflection-in-the-nsas-prism.html

http://reason.com/blog/2012/10/02/fourth-amendment-challenge-to-tsa-scanne

Fifth:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

http://www.aclu.org/national-security/al-aulaqi-v-panetta

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/30/scotus_no_right_to_remain_silence_unless_you_speak_up_partner/

Sixth:

In 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 shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp (166 people at the time of this writing)

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/6-degrees-sequestration/sequester-may-slow-federal-court-proceedings

http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/Statistics/JudicialBusiness/2010/appendices/D12Sep10.pdf

Seventh:

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

http://www.inc.com/jeremy-quittner/supreme-court-arbitration-class-action.html (can’t file suit quite so easily anymore, so no jury for you!)

Eighth:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment#Contemporary_use

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130702_Prosecutor__Ex-cop_s_alleged_victim_threatened.html ($60 million bail)

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/04/opinion/mentally-retarded-and-on-death-row.html

Ninth:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The right of privacy usually has to fall back on this amendment. http://www.livescience.com/37398-right-to-privacy.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/02/why-does-privacy-matter-one-scholars-answer/273521/

Tenth:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#State_legislative_actions_in_protest_of_federal_actions

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/us/14pot.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/index.html (I agree with healthcare reform in general, don’t agree with SCOTUS that ACA fell under the commerce clause)

 

Also missing:

 

Fourteenth, Section 1:

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.

http://rt.com/news/snowden-moscow-wikileaks-statement-509/

http://americablog.com/2013/07/indiana-makes-crime-preacher-conduct-gay-marriage.html

Fifteenth, Section 1:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

http://www.diversityinc.com/diversity-and-inclusion/how-to-end-racist-voter-id-laws-what-these-new-requirements-are-really-about/

 

Tip of the iceberg on all of these issues, and surely there are many more examples of each.

About the author

Jeremy Vyska Jeremy is a technology enthusiast and often plays the part of “wise old man” to his friends and peers.