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Why do people think the bill of rights only apply to the government?

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posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 11:39 AM
I've been arguing with a number of people and a lot of people who seem to not have read the constitution believe that the constitution only applies to government. That is true- the constitution does only apply to government. But they use that argument to make it seem like the bill of rights doesn't apply to everyone else. A lot of people seem to not understand that the bill of rights is separate from the constitution- and while it is a document of equal importance to the constitution- it serves a different purpose than the constitution itself.

The constitution provides a framework of checks and balances. It defines what branches of government do what. It lists the powers of the states, of the judicial and legislative and executive branches and not in their eternity- it gives some room left to just define the branches of government- but it doesn't limit everything they necessarily can or can't do. It does put limits on their powers and gives them set powers- that's the system of checks and balances.

That's what the constitution does. The bill of rights on the other hand is a securing of our liberty. The founding framers- Thomas Jefferson, and, James Madison, and even Alexander Hamilton (even if you agree with him or not) all were for to secure the liberty of each American citizen. That's what the bill of rights was supposed to do. The constitution granted us a Republican form of government. The bill of rights guaranteed the liberties of each citizen and has the full force of law. There is no reason to think that the founding fathers wanted the bill of rights only to apply to the public sphere and not to the private sphere- for if it were not to apply to the private sphere the bill of rights would be rendered completely ineffectual.

We can tell what the founding fathers wanted through their essays and their writings. They wanted a country of liberty. It makes little sense to say that they did not want the bill of rights to not apply to American citizens.

On the one hand it seems absurd as to why people would not want their liberty secure. It is true that most of the amendments in the bill of rights are restrictions on what the government can't do- it states that we have these individual liberty to do what we want- and that they are ours. A quick look at the bill of rights will tell you that.

Amendment I

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.
Amendment II

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.
Amendment III

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.
Amendment IV

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.
Amendment V

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 offense 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.
Amendment VI

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 defense.
Amendment VII

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 reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII

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

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

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.

Just why do they ignore the bill of rights? It is a matter of convenience for them. They don't want to have liberty by law. They think they are a believer in liberty- and the bill of rights can't force private companies, or, private individuals to be free. But on the onset their arguments are false- that it only applies to government. The courts have ruled consistently in many court cases that corporations have the same rights in the bill of rights. Ought we not- the American people- to have these rights as well?

People don't like thinking that an ancient document could be the safeguard of our liberty and that if we just did without it we could be okay. But I say that is not so. We deserve the liberties that the bill of rights enshrined us with, and, we should cherish it- and not be so quick to get rid of them as many of these people seem to be.

[edit on 13-6-2010 by Frankidealist35]

posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 11:58 AM
Er, you do realize that the Bill of Rights is part of the US Constitution, right? That's what an amendment is: a change to the original document, not a new document.

The Bill of Rights is a further restriction in the Constitution on the powers of government as it applies to the citizenry.


posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 11:58 AM
The Constitution is only good if we also remember that the Declaration of Independence is First above it

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That statement is why the Constitution was written.

We are all equal with the right to pursue Life , Liberty and Happiness

We do not need a large Government to govern us If We the People were to be Honorable like the Men and Women of that day.

Common law:....................Do what you say you will do and Do Not Harm Others. That is in any way..........Simple to do..........But............Money is the Root of All Evil.

As for your signature it is Biblical

Matthew 12:

[25] And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by TheRedneck

Okay fair enough- I was wrong on that- but my original point still stands. We can't be sure of our protections of liberty unless the bill of rights applies to everyone and that it applies to more people than government. We aren't supposed to have an aristocracy are we- where the government officials only have the rights, and, we don't?

posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 12:19 PM
reply to post by ACTS 2:38

You bring up an interesting point about the declaration of independence. The declaration of independence has been ruled unconstitutional in courts because of its reference to a God. But- while on one hand that is true- that it does reference to God, I think that it was before the constitution- so it should be treated as a document from before the constitution. It should be called pre-constitutional and lawyers should use it to refer to how we should interpret constitiutional amendments and the constitution itself. They already use the federalist papers to argue about the constitution right? So why not argue for the use of the declaration of independence? It is an important document and should be treated as such.

posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 12:34 PM
I'm confused. Are you saying that the Bill of Rights is 1) not part of the Constitution and 2) not applicable to individuals?

It is part of the Constitution.

It does apply to individuals as most of it sets limits on what the goverment can do to you.

Or, wait, are you trying to make an argument for holding corporations to the same standards as we hold the government in their dealings with individuals?

posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 12:37 PM
reply to post by 35Foxtrot

I'm not saying that it's separate from the original constitution. I realized my error with that argument. My main point is that the bill of rights is the law of the land- and it applies to everyone- and should also apply to people as well. The people that want to make a distinction here- mainly don't like the first or second amendment, and, that's why they believe that incorporation applies to the bill of rights with regards to the private level.

[edit on 13-6-2010 by Frankidealist35]

posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 05:33 PM
reply to post by Frankidealist35

Technically, it does apply to the government, since it establishes rights for the people that government cannot take away... that is it's purpose. But since it does deal with individual rights much more than the rest of the Constitution, I can see where you;re coming from.

And I agree. No aristocracy. Here's a little snippet from Article I, Section 9:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Seems to sum things up...


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