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Questions about the Bill of Rights

What is the Bill of Rights?

The collective name which is provided to the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution is referred to as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is concerned with personal freedoms, restricting the power of the government in judicial proceedings and reserving authority for the states and public. It aims to protect the right to liberty and property. Originally, the amendments of the rights were applicable only to the federal government. However, through the fourteenth amendment, the provisions apply to the states as well. Listed below are a few questions answered by the Lawyers on issues related to the Bill of Rights.

Since the U.S. government does not recognize same sex marriages, is there any factor in the Bill of Rights which could support this discrimination?

In order to support same sex marriages and base an argument, you could use the first amendment and the ninth amendment in the Bill of Rights. The first amendment deals with freedom of religion and the ninth one is concerned with “other rights” which are not elaborated in the Bill of Rights or the constitution. These types of cases are referred to or described as the “penumbra” or the spirit of the constitution. This is because there is a certain obscurity surrounding them and there is no specific way to determine any particular or specific right. However they can be used to establish the right to privacy and used as an argument for rights which are not explicitly mentioned but may be implied. A case where the “penumbra” concept was depicted is the case of Roe versus Wade.

Does the Bill of Rights contain any right on the matter of how one can spend money earned by them as long as it is legal?

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights form the foundation of the laws and regulations of the United States. The Bill of Rights lists the first ten amendments in the constitution. None of these amendments specifically deal with how you can spend your money. However the laws and rights can be construed in different ways. You are allowed to do as you please as long as it is within a legal framework and does not violate another person’s rights. Prohibiting you from spending your own money is unlikely to be enforced unless there is a court order which has triggered this action due to other factors.

Based on the Bill of Rights’ tenth amendment, is dealing with the power to form and regulate corporations considered a federal or a state right?

As per the Bill of Rights, the states have always had the authority to regulate corporations, partnerships and other forms of businesses, organizations and associations. This means that forming and organizing business associations are part of the police powers of the individual states. The federal government would be concerned with standardization of business activities and organizations especially when there is interstate commerce involved.

Does the Bill of Rights contain provisions to protect the rights of undocumented citizens?

The Constitution or the Bill of Rights states that the rights are for the “person” or the “people” of the U.S. There is no differentiation or categorization of persons or people based on them being citizens of the U.S. Additionally, there is no particular provision that says that undocumented citizens are entitled to these rights. Hence the rights would apply to all people regardless of their citizenship status. This was why anti-slavery amendments were made to the Bill of Rights because, in the past, slaves were considered property and not “people” or “persons”.

Finally, there is only one section (Article IV, Section 2) which specifically mentions citizens and declares that the citizens of each state are eligible for all privileges and immunities enjoyed by citizens in several other states. Apart from this, there is no mention of citizen because most of the people who occupied the U.S. initially were undocumented aliens themselves

I am a firefighter from Florida who was given no written notice prior to the interrogation in my Bill of Rights hearing. Have my rights been violated and what are the penalties for this violation?

Based on the Florida Statute 112.82, Rights of Firefighters, if a firefighter is subject to an interrogation it should take place based on the following terms laid out in this section:

1. The firefighter would need to be issued a written notice, prior to the interrogation, which provides clear details of the incident along with the names of the complainants. This should be done in order to sufficiently inform and prepare the firefighter for the nature of the investigation he/she needs to undergo.

2. The investigation should take place at the investigating officer’s assigned facility or at a facility designated by the investigating officer which would have jurisdiction over the place where the incident occurred. Based on the case above, the firefighter’s rights could have been violated since these terms were not adhered to. The penalties for such an act could include suing for damages and/or injunctive remedies.

The Bill of Rights states your fundamental rights while living in the United States. These rights are powerful and enforceable. You, as a person, are allowed to do as you wish as long as your actions are legal and do not infringe on another person’s rights. If you wish to know more, or if someone has violated your rights, consult an Expert who can guide you with important information and clarify your doubts.
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