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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Amendment is often unnoticed

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

The idea of a Bill of Rights worried some of the founders greatly. They feared that, by listing rights not to be infringed by the government, rights that were not listed might be subject to government interference because such interference was not specifically prohibited. The Ninth Amendment was written in an attempt to preclude such abuse.

Originally, the Ninth Amendment was a negative statement. In other words, it prevented the Bill of Rights from increasing government powers by limiting those powers solely to what was listed. In more recent years, however, the amendment has been considered in some court cases to be positive, that it confirmed the existence of rights not otherwise listed but still protected. The right to privacy, for example, while not otherwise listed (although strongly implied in the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments) has enjoyed such decisions under the protections of the Ninth Amendment as Griswold v. Connecticut (see also Privacy).

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