Bill of Rights Project

By: Jaxs Peal

What are the Bill of Rights?

The first 10 amendments to the constitution that protects all citizens and cannot be taken away.
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The First Amendment: Freedom of speech, the press, and religion

You can say and write whatever you want, follow any religion you choose, and if you have complaints about the government you can speak up because nobody can stop you.


Court Case: Charles T. Schenk vs. United States

Charles was charged with breaking the Espionage Act. Wendell Holms said there should be restrictions of free speech; he said it was a danger to have everybody allowed to say anything they wanted.

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The Second Amendment: The right to bear arms

To protect the country, citizens sometimes must serve as soldiers. Citizens also have the right to protect themselves and government can't take away their guns or other weapons.


Court Case: Bliss vs. Commonwealth

A man named Bliss was fined $100 for carrying a sword hidden in a cane. He appealed the verdict and pointed to the state constitution, which said: "The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned." The Kentucky Supreme Court agreed with Bliss.

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The Third Amendment: The right to privacy in the home

Soldiers can't barge in and demand to live in your house and eat your food.


Court Case: Nevada Man

Homeowner in Henderson, Nevada, filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the police had violated his Third Amendment rights by forcibly entering his home to gain a "tactical advantage" in resolving a domestic violence incident next door.

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The Fourth Amendment: Unreasonable search and seizure

Police can't just walk into your house, search through your stuff, and take it away. They need a search warrant, a really good reason, and they have to say exactly where they want to search and what they're searching for.


Court Case: Mapps vs. Ohio

The police came to the home of Dollree Mapp demanding that she allow them to search her home because they were looking for a suspect who could have been a potential bomber. Mapp didn't let the police in and demanded that she see a warrant before they enter her home. The police came back with a warrant and barged inside her home, but they did not find any evidence pertaining to the bombing.

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The Fifth Amendment: Double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and due process of law

For a capital crime, a grand jury has to decide if there is enough evidence to charge you and you can be charged only once for a crime. They are required to give you a fair trial and if the government takes any of your stuff, they are required to pay for it.


Court Case: Chavez vs. Martinez

Ben Chavez interrogated Oliverio Martinez, who was at the hospital having just been shot, and Martinez claimed that his right against self-incrimination and his right against coercive questioning had been violated. The court found that Chavez did not violate the 5th Amendment Rights of Martinez because he was never charged with a crime and his answers were not vied against him in a criminal case.

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The Sixth Amendment: The rights of the accused in criminal cases

If you're charged with a crime, your trial should happen as soon as possible; you shouldn't sit in jail for years waiting for a trial. The government must be specific as to what you're being accused of and you have the right to a fair trial.


Court Case: Barker vs. Wingo

The court ruled that Barker's right to a speedy trial had not been violated. First, he didn't demand his right until 7 years had passed. Second, the justices concluded that a set amount of time could not be applied to the term "speedy".

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The Seventh Amendment: The right to a jury trial

You can have a jury settle civil cases involving a lot of money. Once the case is decided, it can't be brought up again in another court.


Court Case: Katz vs. United States

By a 7-1 vote, the United States Supreme Court agreed with Katz and held that placing of a warrant-less wiretap on a public phone booth constitutes as unreasonable search violation of the Fourth Amendment. The majority opinion did not state the case from the perspective of a "constitutionally protected area".

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The Eighth Amendment: Preventing cruel and unusual punishment

Your punishment should fit your crime. You shouldn't have to pay too much bail or unreasonable fines. The government can't punish you in a cruel/ unusual way.


Court Case: Gregg vs. Georgia

Troy Gregg was convicted of murder and robbery in a hitchhiking case in Georgia. The jury first sentenced Gregg to the death penalty. By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty could no longer be considered arbitrary and the case prompted the states to revise their death penalty laws.

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The Ninth Amendment: Rights retained by the people

Just because we made this list doesn't mean these are the only rights you have. The government can't take away any rights from people, whether they're mentioned here or not.


Court Case: Roe vs. Wade

Jane Roe had a hard life and couldn't support another child, so she wanted an abortion. At the time, abortions were illegal because they considered it murder, but the judges in the case sided with Roe. They declared the state law unconstitutional because they deprive single women and couples of their right whether to have children.

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The Tenth Amendment: Limiting federal powers

What if the constitution doesn't give a certain power to do something? As long as it doesn't say anywhere that the states can't do something, then the states have that power.


Court Case:

The state of Maryland believed that the federal government didn't have the power to establish a national bank because it wasn't listed as a right in the constitution. The United States government had created the 2nd bank of the United States. The federal government won because creating a national bank with branches throughout the country encouraged business between states.

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