Politics/Law/Government

American vs. unAmerican values, according to the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution

The Ninth Amendment reserves rights for the people that aren’t strictly listed in the Constitution – but not all rights.

The Bill of Rights

Without the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, the United States of America would not exist. As such, the values laid out in these two documents are, by definition, American values. And any values held in opposition to the values in these documents are, again by definition, unAmerican.

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

The Ninth Amendment doesn’t really get talked about much because it’s a “catch-all” type of amendment. The Supreme Court has interpreted it to mean that there are rights not expressly defined in the other Amendments that are still protected by the Constitution. For example, the right to personal privacy is not expressly mentioned in the Constitution, but since privacy rights are implied by other Amendments, individuals have a Constitutional right to privacy.

However, the Supreme Court has also ruled that the Ninth Amendment is not a blank check for all rights to be transferred to the people. Rights that are implied by other defined rights are transferred to the people, but rights that are not implied are retained by either the states or the federal government. And furthermore, which implied rights are retained by the people and which rights are retained by the states or the federal government is a question for the Supreme Court to decide.

What this means is that the Ninth Amendment allows the Supreme Court to “create” new individual rights that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. One of the more famous examples of this was when the Court “created” a right to personal privacy out of the Due Process Clause used it in Roe v. Wade. That individual right was found to be implied in the other individual rights of the Constitution, and it was the Ninth Amendment that granted the Supreme Court the authority to find it.

Given the Ninth Amendment, it is unAmerican to reject individual rights that are not explicitly listed in the Constitution. Similarly, however, it’s also unAmerican to assume that all rights that are not explicitly retained by the federal government and the states in Articles I through IV are automatically individual rights. Unless an individual right can be from an existing individual right and successfully argued for, it’s a right that is retained either by the states or the federal government

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