March 11, 2009

On My Favorite Amendments

My personal favorite amendments are:

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

I like Amendment #2 because I like guns. Just a fact. Also, you never know when you might have to repel a foreign invader, hunt for food, defend yourself from a robber/burglar/murderer/solicitor, or even overthrow your government. :)

However, I think the last two amendments are perhaps the most important and most underappreciated of all of them.

Amendment #10 says that any powers not specifically given to the federal gov are automatically given to the people/states. That means if it was not listed as a federal power, the government has no right to handle it. It means "if it's not listed here and we did not specifically say they could do it, or that the states couldn't do it, then the federal gov cannot pass a law dealing with it".

Amendment #9 basically says, "just because these particular rights are specifically listed, it DOES NOT MEAN that those are the only rights you have". People have more rights than are listed or that the Founding Fathers didn't know about at the time, but they had the foresight to realize that they would and provided for it in this amendment.

It provides for the law of "the exception implies the rule". This is often misquoted as "the exception proves the rule", but this is incorrect. It was coined by a Roman lawyer (I believe it was Cicero) in the days of the Roman Republic as exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.

Now if I may quote:

"Cicero's defense of L. Cornelius Balbo (56 B.C.) is the earliest known citation of this logic and is sometimes cited as the origin of the phrase. Balbo was accused of having been illegally granted Roman citizenship. The prosecutor pointed out that treaties with some non-Roman peoples prohibited granting them citizenship and suggested this should be inferred in Balbo's case. Cicero replied "If the exception makes such an action unlawful, where there is no exception the action must necessarily be lawful." (Quod si exceptio facit ne liceat, ubi necesse est licere.) "

Here's the site and it has a link to the latin speech:

Just so long as people don't forget their freedoms.

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