A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country.

Court Case

In Barron v. Baltimore (1833), the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution's Bill of Rights restricts only the powers of the federal government and not those of the state governments. The case began with a lawsuit filed by John Barron against the city of Baltimore, claiming that the city had deprived him of his property in violation of the Fifth Amendment, which provides that the government may not take private property without just compensation. He alleged that the city ruined his busy wharf in Baltimore Harbor by depositing around the wharf sand and earth cleared from a road construction project that made the waters around the wharf too shallow to dock most vessels. The state court found that the city had unconstitutionally deprived Barron of private property and awarded him $4,500 in damages, to be paid by the city in compensation. An appellate court then reversed this award. Barron appealed to the Supreme Court, which reviewed the case in 1833.


In United States v. Williams, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in Monday’s 7-2 opinion, defending the Congressional law making the promotion of child pornography a crime deserving a mandatory five-year prison term.

Justice David Souter and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, arguing that the law, which can include cases involving computer-generated images and older actors portraying younger children, goes too far.

Bill Of Rights Word For Word Amendment 5

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.