Bill of Rights

By Alyssia Tadic, US History, 7th period. 12/17/14

What are the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights is a list of amendments in the Constitution that explain an American's (or state's) rights.

Bill #1:

Freedom of Speech, Press, and Religion


You're allowed to say, write, or worship anything you want. The government isn't allowed to say anything about it.


Court Case: Supreme Court Rules to Protect Written Profanity


Court Case Summary: A person in 1968 wore a coat with profanity against Draft and was taken to court.

Bill #2:

Right to Bear Arms


You have the right to keep weapons/guns at home.


Court Case: US V. Miller


Court Case Summary: Miller was knowingly transporting a firearm (Shotgun).

Bill #3:

Privacy at Home


Authorities (anyone, really) aren't allowed to barge in and take over your property.


Court Case: Nevada Man Says the 3rd Amendment was violated


Court Case Summary: Homeowner said police forcibly entered to gain a "tactical advantage" in resolving a domestic violence incident next door.

Bill #4:

Unreasonable Search and Seizure


Authorities need a search warrant to be able to look through your property and/or confiscate it.


Court Case: John Wilkes


Court Case Summary: John Wilkes had papers against the king that were found while officials were searching him and his house. Along with that, the officials confiscated the papers.

Bill #5:

Double Jeopardy, Self incrimination, & Due Process of the Law


You can't go to court twice for a capital crime (A serious crime, usually involving murder). This amendment also gives you the right to choose not to answer questions during your trial.


Court Case: Salinas V. Texas


Court Case Summary: 2 brother were shot in Houston. There were no witnesses, but only shotgun shell casings as evidence. Salinas was a prime suspect, especially when he refused to talk after officials found his gun.

Bill #6:

Rights of Accused in Criminal Cases


Your trial should happen ASAP. You shouldn't just stay in jail and wait to be tried when there's a chance you are innocent. Also, your trial must be in public. You can have a lawyer (The government may provide you with one) and a witness. You are allowed to tell your side of the story.


Court Case: Barker V. Wingo


Court Case Summary: In 1958, an elderly couple was killed. One of the suspects was Willie Barker. Manning, another suspect, was tried six times. In 1963, after Manning was found guilty, the Commonwealth moved Barker’s trial. Barker believed that his right to a speedy trial had been violated.

Bill #7:

Right to Jury Trial


You can have the jury settle civil cases that involve a lot of money. Once the case is decided, it can't be brought up again (Even in other courts).


Court Case: Tull V. US


Court Case Summary: The Federal Government sued a real estate developer for a violation of the Clean Water Act, a law allowing the Government to recover civil penalties and request injunctions. The Petitioner, Tull, asked for a jury trial on the civil penalties issue and was denied. Government sought $22,890,00 in civil penalties.

Bill #8:

Preventing Cruel/Unusual Punishment


The punishment must fit the crime. If you are caught for stealing, for example, you cannot be punished with death, as it is too extreme.


Court Case: Waters-Pierce V. Crane


Court Case Summary: The Waters-Pierce Oil Co. was charged by Martin M. Crane for breaking the Texas antitrust law. Crane stated Waters-Pierce violated the Standard Oil of New Jersey trust agreement. The company was sentenced to a penalty of revocation of the company's charter and cancellation of its permit to do business in Texas, along with a fine of over $1.6 million dollars. In the 1900's, the U.S Supreme Court upheld the state courts' rulings. However, Water-Pierce declared in their counter suit that the large fine violated the eighth amendment.

Bill #9:

Rights Retained by People


The government is not allowed to take away any rights from the people.


Court Case: Roe V Wade


Court Case Summary: Roe wanted to abort a baby, but thought that the 9th amendment was being taken away from her because she thought her right to privacy was taken away.

Bill #10:

Limiting Federal Powers


If the Constitution doesn't specifically give a certain power to do something, the states automatically have that power.


Court Case: McCulloch V. Maryland


Court Case Summary: The Court ruled that the federal government had the power to create a national bank. It held that the creation of a bank was an implied power under Article I, section 8. Chief Justice John Marshall pointed out that while the word “bank” did not appear in Congress’s powers, the creation of a bank was a means of executing its listed powers.