The Bill of Rights is part of the supreme laws in the US as it is contained in the constitution. By definition, the Bill of Rights are first 10 constitutional amendments, which spell the rights of the American citizens relative to their government. Besides outlining rights, this component of the constitution reserves all powers that the Federal Government is not delegated. Therefore, some of the rights are retained by the people and the government is prohibited from denying citizens a chance to exercise such freedom (Patrick, 2003). The following essay expounds on Bill of Rights by focusing on its history and evaluates its strengths and weaknesses before credible suggestions are outlined.
A Summary of the Bill of Rights: A History in Documents
The first ten constitutional amendments are called the Bill of Rights in the United States. Amendments to the Constitution protected the natural rights to liberty and property. An individual is guaranteed some personal liberties by the Bill of Rights, including the freedom to travel around, associate with others, and the freedom of expression (Patrick, 2003). The Bill of Rights restricts the federal government’s power over the judiciary’s independence, following amendments that granted the people and the states certain unalienable rights and freedoms.
The history of the Bill of Rights outlines the initial target, leading to the establishment of the constitutional amendments. The Bill of Rights was intended to apply to the government initially, but the 14th amendment allowed for its application in individual states (Patrick, 2003). Because they specify the interaction between the government and the general public, the Bill of Rights is essential in the United States. While the governed have various rights and obligations, the governor is supposed to act in a certain way. According to John Locke’s theories, a civilized society should be established to defend private property, which means that now the Bill of Rights is crucial in preserving the wealth of diverse people. Locke thought that everyone is free and equal in the natural world, meaning that a person’s inherent rights can be separated from them. The right to life, for instance, cannot be denied since it constitutes a person.
The Bill of Rights was primarily established to protect the nation against the federal government’s powers. If it did not get drafted because the federal government’s authority was expanding, the Bill of Rights might be abolished. Totalitarianism would be made possible by how the Constitution was written since the president would have sufficient authority over the governed. He might appoint the detention of people and the confiscation of assets. The Bill of Rights was unique to each settlement in the United States. The U. S. as a nation needed to create its own Rights Bill. The Declaration of Rights was adopted by Congress and included in our Constitution on December 15, 1791 (Patrick, 2003). Our Constitution’s first ten Amendments make up the Bill of Rights. In addition to laying out our government’s rights in full, the Bill of Rights guarantees our civil liberties and rights as citizens.
The freedoms of speech, religion, the press, assembly, and petition are all protected under the first amendment. It contained our fifth amendment’s protections against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and the right to a fair trial. In addition to our second amendment’s protection of the freedom to keep and bear weapons, our third amendment prohibits troops from residing in someone else’s house without that person’s permission. Freedom from arbitrary searches and seizures is guaranteed under the fourth amendment. Therefore, a warrant is no longer required to search someone (Patrick, 2003). The right to a prompt and open trial is guaranteed under the sixth amendment. The jury trial provision of the seventh amendment may be used in various non-criminal matters. The eighth amendment forbids levying exorbitant penalties.
According to Madison, the American people were the intended audience for the Bill of Rights. The goal of the Bill of Rights was to safeguard a citizen’s rights and shield the populace from excessive government influence. James Madison proposed the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and presented 12 amendments to Congress (Patrick, 2003). The 12 amendments were forwarded to Congress on September 25, 1789, for approval and then transmitted to the nation (Patrick, 2003). Generally, the main target leading to the establishment of the Bill of Rights were the US citizens and not the Federal Government.
Critical Evaluation of the Events Surrounding the Bill of Rights: Areas of Strength
The three main areas of strength in the Bill of rights, include speech, press and religion. Firstly, the Bill of Rights offers every citizen a chance to exercise their speech freely without any fear of intimidation. The Bill of Rights prohibits the government from depriving the citizens the ability to express their views and concerns. However, speech is not protected in cases of defamation, obscenity or even child pornography. Secondly, the Bill of Rights strongly protect the press from any threats both from the public and the government (Patrick, 2003). Through the press, the Bill of Rights ensured that democracy is adhered and that the government is accountable to the people. Lastly, religion has been held with esteem by the constitution through the Bill of Rights. Every citizen has been accorded the freedom to exercise and follow religious beliefs without any coercion or prevention by anyone.
Areas of Weakness
While the Bill of Rights is strong in protecting speech, the press and religion, it hosts some weaknesses in the power distribution of the judiciary and in definition of roles of the legislature. The Bill of Rights gives unelected judges powers similar to those of the executive. Some of these powers include negotiating with other countries and even signing treaties (Patrick, 2003). On the other hand, the Bill of Rights diminishes the sovereignty of the legislature in making laws as the unelected judges tend to partake in the law-making process, which is the function of the Congress. Generally, the Bill of Rights shows weakness in the definition of roles of the judiciary and the legislature, which often results to dysregulated checks and balances of the government.
Suggestions for Improvement
The following recommendations focus on alleviating the politicization of the judiciary and the limitation of the Congress. Firstly, the Bill of Rights should state the limits of the judicial power especially in law making process. Setting limits clarifies the functions and the roles that the judicial arm is tasked with. Secondly, the Bill of Rights should have an article that prohibits the judiciary from updating the existing laws or discovering new rights as this compromises the work of the Congress (Patrick, 2003). Lastly, the confirmation of new judges should be done by the judicial arm only to avoid exposing this arm of government to the political sideshow.
The Bill of Rights is part of the supreme law of the US as it is contained in the constitution. The history of this constitutional component outlines the rationale behind its inception. As shown by Madison, it was established to protect the citizens from the federal government and to promote their freedom of speech, the press and religion. Nevertheless, the Bill of Rights has strengths such as strong protection speech, press and religion and weaknesses as it tends to politicize the judiciary. To ensure judicial politicization is minimal, this constitutional component should clary limits and the roles of other governmental arms.
Patrick, J. J. (2003). The Bill of Rights: A History in Documents. Oxford University Press, USA