In 1895 the Supreme Court had declared a federal income tax law unconstitutional. This amendment reversed that decision and authorized a tax on income.
This amendment was designed to protect the right of African-Americans to vote and has served as the foundation for such legislation as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
After the disputed election of 1800, this amendment required separate designation of presidential and vice presidential candidates. The 12th Amendment also specifies how the president and vice president are to be selected should neither candidate obtain the votes of a majority of the electors.
When the Supreme Court held in the 1793 case Chisholm v. Georgia that a state could be sued in federal court under Article III of the Constitution, this amendment was rapidly adopted.
The federal government is the recipient of constitutionally delegated powers. What is not delegated remains in the states or in the people.
Failure of the Constitution to mention a specific right does not mean that the government can abridge that right, but its protection has to be found elsewhere.
The National Security Agency’s massive program to collect basic phone information about Americans is probably unconstitutional, a federal judge said in a decision he expects to be appealed.
The “cruel and unusual punishments” clause has been the basis for challenges to the death penalty.
Mistrustful of judges, the people insisted on the right to jury trial in civil cases.
Defendants in criminal cases are entitled to public trials that follow relatively soon after initiation of the charges. Witnesses must be brought to the trial to testify before the defendant, judge, and jury.