The Bill of Rights Effectiveness

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The Bill of Rights as a document experienced the ratification process, which brought about several state legislatures, who showed their concern for the lack of individual liberties protection. Concerning this, twelve amendments to the Constitution were passed by the first Congress, where ten of them were ratified by the states and ended up becoming collectively known as the Bill of Rights. Seemingly, Constitutional Amendment can be referred to as the constitutional modification of the organization and policy of the constitutional entity. Usually, amendments are intertwined in the various existing sections of the constitution, therefore, directly altering the original text. Besides, the amendments can be added to the constitution as supplemental, thus, changing how we view the government frame without altering the existing document text. However, despite the Amendments attempt of protecting individual’s rights from the government powers, my stance is that the first ten Amendments of the Constitution are not effective enough in protecting our individual rights. Instead, the Bill of Rights simply lulls us into thinking that we have freedom in this country, which is not the case.


Apparently, the Bill of Rights First Amendment on Basic Liberties happens to be the most significant part of the entire document. It protects five of the most basic liberties that are freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and the freedom of petitioning the government to wrongs or rights. A Supreme Court case decision on Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, eroded the First Amendment rights of anti-union public-sector employees against interests of pro-union employers and employees. Instead of the court making a balanced ruling, the court ended up siding with the rights of some over the rights of others, thus, violating the First Amendment, which should be democracy protector that brings about open debate rather than picking winners and losers. From this, we clearly see how this Amendment failed to protect against governmental abuse. However, the limitation associated with this Constitutional Amendment is revocation. The courts should know that they are rights given to the minority, sensitive constitutional part, to the religion and to sensitive issues that historically have caused bitterness and thus should not be subject to revocation at any given point.


Further, the Second Amendment on the Right to Bear Arms guarantees rights to individual states to maintain a militia that is well regulated and the citizens are given the right to bear and keep arms. United States v. Cruikshank (1875) case involved white men, who were the defendants and had been involved in killing over sixty black people in Colfax massacre and were charged to their conspiracy of preventing blacks from exercising their rights of bearing arms. However, the charges were dismissed by the court stating that the Bill of Rights restricted the Congress rather not private individuals. Therefore, the court concluded that for them to enjoy their protection, they must look at the State. Therefore, the limitation experienced here is of vague constitutional provisions that end up only prohibiting amendments that run counter to their spirit and principles, without even going the process of identifying them. The outcome that results is that it remains unclear what might end up being amended or not, therefore, causing more uncertainty rather than stability. Moreover, the declaration of basic structure by the parliament makes the basic structure inelastic and rigid. Therefore, it becomes difficult to term something as basic structure because it is essentially a value judgment, which is not susceptible of precise description.


Further, Third Amendment on Housing Troops states that during peacetimes, citizens are not required to keep soldiers in their homes with no consent. However, in 1979, there was an initiated case during the New York State correction officer’s strike, where there was the eviction of striking   employees from the employee housing, which were then used to house some of the National Guard. Two officers who were evicted, Marianne E. Engblom and Charles E. Palmer, filed a case against New York State and its Governor, Hugh L. Carey. The petitioners saw the violation of the Third Amendment; however, the Court ruling was in favor of the defendants, thereby, dismissing the suit. This shows how the Bill of Rights is not effective enough to protect our rights because the case decision favored the defendants’ who were termed to be covered by qualified immunity and that the standard of establishing illegality was not met. Nonetheless, the limitation here is that Amending the constitution do not actually focus on the substantive issues, but only prevents the altering of the constitution during emergency or times of war. For instance, we may end up saying that housing soldiers are part of the basic structure, but that does not guarantee that it should be unamendable. Thus, if a particular amendment affects the entire Constitution structure, and found to destroy essential features of the structure, then it has no option left but being struck down.


My stance is that the Bill of Rights is not effective enough to protect our rights. The Bill of Rights effectiveness is evaluated by how it has helped in the provision of civil rights to all the citizens. However, these ten Amendments have not succeeded in protecting individual rights because \\there are too many limitations that hinder them to be effective. Predominantly, the Bill of Right makes us think we have freedom or there are prohibitions on government powers, but that is not the case. The Bill of Rights perhaps was not necessary and may be the most dangerous proposition. Actually, people’s rights are not secured by the Bill of Rights, but by auxiliary precautions, separation, and division of powers, representative and bicameralism type of government where officeholders are responsible to the people and would end up suffering the loss of basic rights.

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The Bill Of Rights Effectiveness. (2019, Jul 11). Retrieved February 26, 2024 , from

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