P1: The back round of the United States of America, and the legal documents that founded it.
MP1: The Constitution of the United States of America
The Constitution of the United States
was adopted by the country on
September 17, 1787. This document alone forms the basis of federal law, and is considered to be the highest law of the land. That is to say that no
law may be made that changes the US Constitution. Changes made to the constitution must be done via the Ammendment Process. I'll not cover the process
here, but I will link it in the final post. (01)
SP1 - The Bill Of Rights
The Bill of Rights
is the first ten amendments to the
constitution. I will give a breif explanation for each.
A1: "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" This is commonly called
'The freedom of speach' Amendment. What it says is that no religion shall get special treatment, for good or for ill. This is important because it has
been used to allow tax breaks ( covered later) to religious groups. As long as every ligitimate religious group gets the same break then no offence
has been commited.
A2: "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." This has been called the Right to Bear Arms amendment. This allows citizens to own thier own fire arms. This is important for a number of
reasons, but it is important to know that the Militia refrenced in the amendment is the National Guard, which is under the command of the state in
which it is raised. The President of the United States (From here on called the POTUS) actually needs the approval of the Governer to activate a guard
unit for Federal service. It is also important to note that the amendment only protects your rights to own weapons. It does not say that the
government cannot put reasonable restriction on fire arms. If you read the amendment the word used is 'Arms' which can be used to discribe anything
from Spears and Crossbows to Missile Launchers. So in that light your really do not have a right to own a gun per se, but just an Arm.
A3: "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." A direct responce to the Quartering Act
. Please pay special attention to
the last nine words of that amendment.
A4: "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." This is the serch and seizure amendment. It is pretty clear about what it means. That said, if a
law enforcement office can prove his case to a judge then they can get a warrant to do just about anything.
A5: "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"
This one is a big one. It established the Grand Jury, Military Law, Double Jepordy, The right to not self incriminate, And the right to seek
compensation if your assets are wrongly taken or damaged by the government. Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, so if your assets are
taken by the government during your arrest, and you are later found not guilty, they must return or pay for all of your assets. This is also the
reason why people who do twenty years and then are cleared of all charges get back pay for the time in prison. If you are found not guilty then it is
as if you were never found guilty at all.
A6: "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." This is the right to due process, the right to have your case heard in a timely manner, and the right to be
able to face your accusers. This is all to prevent abuses by the government against the people.
A7: "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." Basicly this is
saying that you cannot be sued in every court in the land until one finds in your favor.
A8: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted" This is the cruel and unusual
punishment ammendment. It allows for the people to be defended against government abuses. This is where the argument against the death sentance is
taken from. Please note that what is curel and unusual is based on the culture where the offence took place. This is what allows Utal to kill by
fireing squad if the condemned wishes.
A9: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" This one is
very important as it tell the government that it may not use one amendment to void another, nor may it base a law on an ammendment that would violate
another ammendment. This means that if via due process of the law excessive bail was set, that would violate this ammendment.
A10: "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" This is to some people the most important ammendment in the books. To them, it means that unless it is clearly layed out here then
it cannot be done. Taxes come up alot for this. However, one would have to answer the question of how the government could pay for the following,
"establish Justice(the court system), insure domestic Tranquility(Law enforcement), provide for the common defence(Military), promote the general
Welfare(Health and Human services), and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for
the United States of America."?
SP2 - The rest of the constitution
I lined the rest of the document above. But here I will cover some of the ammendments that are hot right now. Note that there are 27 Amendments to the
Constitution, But never ever ignore the actual constitution which has 7 Articles and over twenty sections (10 in article one and less in the following
ones, seven has no sections for example)
MP2: What is not a legal document
SP1 - The Decleration of Independance
SP2 - The Articals of Confederation
edit on 10-12-2010 by Obinhi because: Added content
edit on 10-12-2010 by Obinhi because:
(no reason given)