United States Constitution Essay
United States Constitution
In May 1787, the oldest federal Constitution was framed by a gathering of the 12 State delegates. The four-month convention was headed by George Washington that eventually resulted to the drafting of the first federal constitution. The said Constitution went into effect on the first Wednesday in March 1789. First Amendment of the United States Constitution “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.
” The First Amendment freedoms are largely in threat when the administration seeks to justify its laws, or control thought for that unacceptable end. The freedom to think is the foundation of freedom, and speech must be guarded from the government since speech is the foundation of thought. In the earlier jurisprudence of Whitney v. California, 274 U. S. 357 (1927), United States Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote in his decision that “Men feared witches and burnt women.
It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. ” The citizens of the country shall not be abridged or divested of their right to speak, right to write, or the right to publish their opinions; and the liberty of the press, as one of the massive barricades of freedom, shall not be violated. More than the constitutional safeguard, the First Amendment is one of the country’s primary cultural and normative symbols. It reflects very important features of the American character and is the foundation of the country’s independence.
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution “The right of the people to b 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. ” The right is maintained sacred and inexpressible in all occurrences where it has not been abridged or taken away by some public law for the good of all.
Every incursion of private property, be it ever so slight, is considered a trespass. It is a fundamental rule in our justice system today that no person can set foot upon another person’s ground without the latter’s authorization; otherwise he will be liable to the encroachment though the harm be nothing (U. S. Government Printing Office, n. d. , p. 1287). Individuals who have had their privacy invaded or have been unlawfully arrested will generally have a tort action on hand under common or State statutory law.
It is therefore advisable that police officers must, whenever possible, acquire advance judicial authorization of searches and seizures through a procedure of warrant. On the other hand a police officers performing under colour of state law who infringe an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights are subject to a legal complaint for damages and other remedies in federal courts under a civil rights statute. However, police officers have existing accustomed common-law justifications, most significant of which is the allegation of good faith. Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution
“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 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.
” All people are extended with the protection of indictment by grand jury except those serving in the armed forces. Regular armed forces personnel are subject to court martial instead of trial by jury or grand jury indictment. A person can be tried only upon the indictment as established by the grand jury, and particularly upon the indictment’s language established in the instrument’s charging part.
Primary function of grand juries is their investigative role, which is presented generally through the summons they served the witnesses and requiring the latter the production of evidence and testimony (Find Law, 2008, n. p. ). Conversely the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy is intended to safeguard a person from being placed to the exposures of trial and potential conviction more than once for an alleged crime.
The State with all its power and resources should not be tolerated to make repeated efforts to convict an individual for an alleged offence, thereby exposing him to shame, ordeal and expense and requiring him to live in a continuing condition of insecurity and anxiety as well as increasing the potentiality that even though innocent he may be declared guilty. Self-incrimination is rooted on the maxim “nemo tenetur seipsum accusare,” or simply means that “no man is bound to accuse himself” (Find Law, 2008, n. p. ).
The privilege was designed to safeguard the innocent and to promote the search for truth. The exclusive concern of the right against self-incrimination is with the risk to a witness compelled to offer testimony leading to the infliction of punishments attached to the criminal acts. Finally, property which is owned privately shall not be taken by the government for a public use without just compensation. It was intended to prevent Government from forcing some people to single-handedly put up with public burdens which, in all justice and fairness, should be borne by the whole public.
Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution “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 guarantee can be attributed to the upholding of the rights of and prevention of injuries to both society and defendants. The provision is a significant protection to deter oppressive and undue imprisonment previous to trial, to reduce concern and anxiety accompanying public accusation and to minimize the potentiality that long postponement will weaken the capacity of an accused to protect himself.
The right of an accused to confront the witnesses against him is to avoid depositions of ex parte affidavits being employed against the accused in lieu of a cross-examination and personal examination of the witness in which the accused has a chance of testing and straining the conscience and recollection of the witness. The confrontation would also oblige the witness to stand in person with the jury in order that the latter may look at the witness, and evaluate the witness’ conduct upon the manner and the stand in which the testimony is offered.
The provision which affords the defendant the right to legal process is designed to compel witnesses to appear during the trial. The right to present the statement of witnesses, and to require their attendance, if essential, is in simple terms the right to present a defence, the right to present each of the defendant and prosecution’s side of the facts to the jury so it may make a decision where the truth lies. Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution “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. Section. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.
But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.
But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. Section. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. ” Section one prevents the United States Government from expatriating United States citizens against their will. Once citizenship is acquired, it cannot be diluted, cancelled, or shifted at the will of the States, the Federal Government, or any other government unit. However, citizens of the United States within the implication of the provision must be natural persons and not artificial persons as the latter is a corporate body which is not a citizen of the country.
Section two creates rules for the allocation of Representatives in Congress to States, necessarily counting all inhabitants for apportionment and decreasing apportionment if a state wrongfully disallows a person his right to vote. Nevertheless, the provision calling for the House representation’s proportional decreases for States that disallowed men 21 and older the right to vote was by no means implemented, notwithstanding the fact that Southern States prevented several Blacks from voting before the passage in 1965 of the Voting Rights Act.
Section two was the consequential settlement as it placed Southern States to a choice; that is enfranchise Black voters or lose representation in congress. The said section presents a special remedy of reducing representation in order to alleviate a particular form of electoral exploitation of disenfranchisement of Blacks. Section three avoids the appointment or election to any State or federal office of any person who had assumed any of certain offices and thereafter engaged in treason, insurrection, or rebellion.
Nevertheless, a two-thirds vote by Congress can reverse the said restriction. On the other hand Section four validated that neither the United States or any other State would compensate damages for the loss of slaves, or amount outstanding that had been incurred by the Confederacy. Conclusion The United States Constitution has been amended to incorporate a list of rights collectively identified as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights plays an essential role in American government and law, and remains a central symbol of the culture and freedoms of the nation.
Clearly, the United States Constitution is designed to safeguard the country’s administration of justice and every citizen’s fundamental securities. Reference Find Law. (2008). Indictment by Grand Jury. Retrieved September 5, 2008, from http://caselaw. lp. findlaw. com/data/constitution/amendment05/01. html#1 Find Law. (2008). Self-Incrimination. Retrieved September 5, 2008, from http://caselaw. lp. findlaw. com/data/constitution/amendment05/07. html#1 U. S. Government Printing Office. (n. d. ). Fourth Amendment. Retrieved September 5, 2008, from www. gpoaccess. gov/constitution/pdf2002/022. pdf