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
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.
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
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.