The Bill of Rights has set the foundation for ensuring every citizens’ safety, agency, and dignity. The constitution of each state shares principal ideas with the Bill of Rights, as the Constitution of Florid exemplifies. Although the Constitution of Florida does not mirror the Bill of Rights exactly, it still features most of its provisions, as the first three sections of Florida’s constitutional law (“Political power,” “Basic rights,” and “Religious freedom”) prove.
The Constitution of Florida opens with the section that emphasizes the importance of personal political power of each individual as a citizen the state. Specifically, the specified section of Florida Constitution asserts that “All political power is inherent in the people” (“Constitution of the State of Florida,” 1968, Section 1). A similar sentiment is conveyed in the Bill of Rights, even though the first ten amendments do not mention the concept off personal political power directly. Arguably, the idea of limiting the political power of the U.S. government by granting each citizen a set of rights and freedoms could be interpreted as the act of granting people political power and agency (“Constitution of the United States of America,” 1791). However, the specified issue represents a slight discrepancy between the Florida Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
In turn, the “Basic Rights” section as it is represented in the Constitution of Florida echoes the essential provisions listed in the Bill of Rights while expanding them. For instance, the right of liberty and life, in general, is mentioned in both documents. In addition, the Constitution of Florida also mentions the right to defend one’s life and liberty, which echoes the right to bear arms mentioned in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (“Constitution of the United States of America,” 1791). Therefore, the second section of the Florida Constitution also aligns quite accurately with the Bill of Rights while also introducing a certain nuance to the latter.
Finally, the concept of religious freedoms as the right to practice any religious traditions as long as they do not infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others is rendered in the Florida Constitution clearly. The third section specifically clarifies that “There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof” (“Constitution of the State of Florida,” 1968, Section 3”). The identified focus on ensuring that every citizen can retain their religious beliefs while being a part of the community aligns with the foundational democratic standards and, particularly, the very core of democracy as it was promoted in the Bill of Rights (Remler, 2019). Indeed, the latter also declares from the very start, namely, in the First Amendment, that the religious freedoms of individuals are to be respected. Specifically, the Bill of Rights announces that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (“Constitution of the United States of America,” 1791, Amendment I).
Although there are certain differences between the Bill of Rights, which provides a general framework for legal standards, and the Constitution of Florida, which has state-specific regulations, the general provisions aimed at securing people’s rights (“Political power,” “Basic rights,” and “Religious freedom”). The general idea of ensuring that the dignity, freedoms, and safety of an individual are recognized, upheld, and supported, is evident both in the three provisions of the Florida Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Thus, while the Constitution of Florida incorporates state-specific legal standards, the general principles of democracy are upheld by its Constitution strongly.
“Constitution of the State of Florida.” (1968). State of Florida Legislature. Web.
“Constitution of the United States of America.” (1791). Bill of Rights Institute. Web.
Remler, B. (2019). Foreign threats, local solutions: Assessing St. Petersburg, Florida’s ‘Defend Our Democracy’ Ordinance as potential model legislation to curb foreign influence in US Elections. Stetson L. Rev., 49, pp. 643-677.