The Bill of Rights

Zoe Johnson 11-17-14 Period 6 Williams

What are the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments that list the rights that belong to the Americans.

Amendment I Freedom of Speech, Press, and Religion

You can write or say anything you want, follow whatever religion you choose, and speak out if you have a disagreement with the government.



Court Case: Charles T. vs U.S

Charles Schenck was convicted of violating the Espionage Act, a federal legislature that punishes and criminalizes the use of spies to gain government information, and for sending leaflets to recently drafted men opposing conscript, and challenged the conviction based on free the free speech clause in the 1st Amendment. However, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction, basing It off of trying to obtain government info, making their choice constitutional.

Amendment II Right to Bear Arms

The right to own a gun or weapon for self protection or when fighting for your country.


Court Case: Bliss vs Commonwealth

First major court ruling over the right to keep and bear arms for personal use. Based on a man named Bliss who carried a hidden blade in his cane and pointed out the 2nd amendment's "right to bear arms in self defense." Due to the majority vote to overturn his conviction, the court had ruled the law unconstitutional and void.

Amendment III Quartering Troops

No soldier has the right to demand a living space or food in your home.


Court Case: Engblom vs Carey

Engblom worked as guard in a New York State prison and lived in a home provided by the prison as part of her payment. The guards went of strike, causing the State to call their National guardsmen to guard the prison instead. The state evicted the strikers from the prison owned home and used them to house the National guardsmen. Engblom sued on behalf of the State violating the 3rd amendment quartering soldiers ban.


The Supreme Court ruled that the ban included tenants as well as owners, making it illegal for the State to quarter guardsmen in the prison homes without their consent. However, the case was remanded to district court, where it was in favor of Engblom.

Amendment IV Search without Warranty Clause

No police can search your house or go through and take away your possessions without a search warrant with a good enough stated reason. ******



Court Case: Mapp vs Ohio

The police arrived at Dollree Mapp's home demanding that she allow them to search her home to look for a person who was wanted for questioning in a recent bombing. Mapp didn't let them in, but instead demanded that they first provide a warranty. The officers left and came back shortly to force their way into her house and waving a piece of paper that they claimed to be a warrant. They did not find their suspect, but instead books and photographs going against Ohio laws. Mapp was arrested and convicted for her possessions. Her case eventually made it to Supreme Court where they overruled Mapp's conviction based on the evidence that the police collected to convict her.

Amendment V Plead the Fifth

You have the right to remain silent or not answer questions given.



Court Case: Brown vs Mississippi

Three black men are convicted of the murder of a white man. Police had beaten and tortured the men until they confessed, however, the conviction was based off of their confession. The court overturned the conviction based off of the fact that they were forced confessions, and using them in court was a violation to the 5th amendment, making it unconstitutional.

Amendment VI Right to a Fair Trial

Right to a fair and public trial with a lawyer, either your own or provided for you.



Court Case: Johnson vs Zerbst

This case made it mandatory for all defendants in criminal trials to know that they have the right to counsel. If a defender cannot afford one, the federal government has to provide an attorney.

Amendment VII Rights in Civil Cases

You cannot be judged by a jury once a case, or your case, has come to a final decision.



Court Case: Lavender vs Kurn

Lavender sued on behalf of Haney, who had died from head injuries while working as a switch tender for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway and the Illinois Central Railroad, both being represented by Kurn. At the trial, Lavender attempted to prove that Haney died due to a protruding mail hook that struck him on the head when the trail passed. However, Haney's defendant claimed that he was murdered after leaving the switch as the train passed open. Verdict was in favor of Lavender, but was revisited by the Missouri Supreme Court on the grounds that it was only speculation that Haney had been by the mail hook. Lavender's verdict was reinstated.

Amendment VIII Fair Punishment

Your bail and/or punishment must be equal to, or match, the severity of the case.



Court Case: Francis vs Resweber

Francis, Willie was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by electric shock. Due to malfunctions, it didn't kill him. Authorities were planning a second try, but were stopped because the Supreme Court deemed it as a cruel and unusual punishment, making it unconstitutional. However, in the Francis vs Resweber court case, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to send him to the chair, which did not violate the constitution.

Amendment IX Rights Retained by the People

The amendments of the Constitution cannot be used to deny or discredit the rights retained by the people.


Court Case: Ashwander vs Tennessee

It is argued that the Federal government overstepped its boundaries setting up the TVA, or Tennessee Valley Authority. It was agreed as a part of former Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt's new plan to end the Great Depression. The government took control of the valley's rivers including the territory of the following: . The TVA forbade the private power companies from using any of its infrastructure or equipment. In order the solve the case, the court had to bring up the states 9th amendment. The Supreme Court, after much debating, stated that the government could use the land for the greater public good and that it had not abused its powers. The government's right to protect the people who make up the public overrides rights not named in the Constitution, making it constitutional.

X Amendment State's Power

States have the power to do anything as long as it is constitutional.



Court Case: Pritz vs United States

Former Pres. Clinton signed the Brady Bill, a law that requires a waiting period for handgun purchases. That also makes it so that federal background checks were required for anyone purchasing firearm in the U.S. This was hope that people would consider public safety.