Tuesday, March 31, 2009

9th Amendment

Sorry for the extended absence. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

I have started to work on the 9th amendment a few times but this is a hard one to write. The first eight amendments, which are fairly clearly written, have been subject to so much debate, the 9th makes them pale in comparison.

The amendment reads “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

At the convention attempting to form the Bill of Rights, Alexander Hamilton asked, "Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?" Oh if he could see the mess we have made.

James Madison stated, “It has been objected also against aBill of Rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution.”

To simplify,Randy Barnett, explained that the Ninth Amendment requires what he calls a "presumption of liberty."

A presumption of liberty. That is a phrase I can support. That may sound strange coming from a cop. A large part of my job specifically entails depriving people of their liberty. When I go to trial, the scales are not in balance. Everything is weighted in favor of the defense, he has the presumption of innocence and I much overcome that presumption with enough evidence to prove guilt. On the same logic, when the government decides it must take an action, the presumption of liberty will stand until the government can prove otherwise.