GOV199905100752 Brock Wilcox Reaction Paper Due to the fact that I practicaly live at David's house, seeing as how my family moved to Idaho and my truck broke so I can't go home if I intend to come back to school, I stole David's Dad and asked him what Amendments he thought were most important. He chose freedom of speech, powers reserved to the states, and freedom of religion. Seeing as how I am not allowed to choose any that he already did, I chose search and seizure, due process, and our unenumerated rights. The first amendment Mr. Smith chose was the freedom of speech, press, and assembly, as stated in the First Amendment. The amendment keeps the government from significantly limiting these rights. In discussion with Mr. Smith, he says that he thinks this is one of our very fundamental rights. Each individual has the right not only to have their own opinion, but to publish it in such a way that others may experience it as well if they so desire. He said that without the recognition of this right, we would be one step closer to a police state... or that perhaps we would be in a police state already. Next is the Tenth Amendment, which deals with powers reserved for the state, versus powers for the national government. Mr. Smith said that this was mainly a central vs. local law making rule. He said that this amendment is important because it sets boundaries for the national government, and sets up where the local governments should step in. Local laws can also better reflect any economic, social, or cultural aspects of the local area not addressed, or addressed incorrectly in the national laws. The last amendment that Mr. Smith chose was another sub-part of the First Amendment, freedom of religion. His reasoning for why this was important was very similar to that of the other two. It gives the citizens the freedom to choose their own religion, unencumbered by the state and its opinions. Mr. Smith pointed out that primarily this was to keep the government from adopting and imposing any one religion on the people. Once again, without this, or most of the amendments, we would be living in a police state instead of a democracy. One I chose is search and seizure, Amendment 4, which keeps the government from taking or searching your belongings without "probable cause". It is my belief that this is a very important Amendment, since this keeps the government from just walking in our houses and taking whatever they want... our wives or children.... heck, our house itself. This Amendment pretty much guarantees the right to private property. Amendment 5, concerning due process, is definitely one of the most important amendments in the constitution to me. The amendment makes it so that the government can't persecute you at the drop of a hat and for no reason and for any length of time. The first part says that the only way a person can be held to answer for a capital crime is through indictment by grand jury. The ideal here is to keep one judge from making such accusations, and instead making the judgment through a board of the accused peers. Next, the amendment keeps a person from being tried twice for the same crime. Doing this ensures that they won't try a person again and again until some idiot jury finds them guilty. And the last part, the most important in my eyes, says that a person does not have to witness against themselves. This is vital... a person should never have to give testimony that would put themselves in danger of any kind. The Amendment also says that a person cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. This is pretty much just a compound of the first parts, but is still very important. And the very last line says that private property can't be taken for public use without just compensation. This is needed to keep the government from taking away everything. You see this one a lot in zoning issues... like where there is a residence and the area is re-zoned for commercial use or something. The person must move, but are justly compensated. The last amendment I chose is the Ninth Amendment, which says that we have certain rights which may not have been explicitly stated in the constitution, but that that doesn't mean they don't exist. This keeps people from going around saying "That isn't in the constitution, so you don't have the right to do it,". The main reason that this is important is for rights that we have not even considered yet. Most people don't even think about their right to do something until that right becomes jeopardized. Slavery, for instance, was something that could fit under this. People do not have the right to enslave another, and just because it wasn't explicitly stated, that doesn't mean it isn't so. One that I think may be coming up soon is gay rights, rights pertaining to same-sex relationships or marriages. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that there can be no gay marriages, but that doesn't mean that gay people don't have the right to get married. It is interesting to see different peoples opinions on why a particular amendment is important. I most generally agreed with Mr. Smith, and in fact would have chosen at least freedom of speech as one of my choices for most important had the assignment not directed me to do otherwise. I think that almost all of the amendments are very important, and narrowing it down isn't all that fair. The ideal, however, is to demonstrate which rights are most important, perhaps which ones should be defended the greatest. Well, in all truth, we need to defend them all. Take away one and they can take away another. This is why all of them are important and should be defended with the lives that it protects.