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.
The Fifth Amendment includes important personal rights such as the rights of due process under the law; the grand jury process; and protection from self-incrimination and double jeopardy.
This virtually obsolete provision was in response to anger over the British military practice of quartering soldiers in colonists’ homes.
Whether this provision protects the individual’s right to own firearms or deals only with the collective right of the people to arm and maintain a militia was long debated until the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the amendment protected individuals’ right to possess firearms unconnected to any service in a militia.
The first amendment protects religious freedom, free speech, a free press, and the freedom of assembly and petition.
Because many states continued to pass laws that restricted the rights of former slaves, on June 13, 1866, Congress passed and sent to the states for ratification, Amendment XIV.
Applying to arrests and to searches of persons, homes, and other private places, this amendment requires a warrant, thereby placing a neutral magistrate between the police and the citizen.
The legal victory secured by Fox News reporter Jana Winter this week could mark an important milestone in the fight for a national law that protects journalists’ First Amendment rights.