Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The ninth Amendment: Power to the People!

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

-the Ninth Amendment

Actually this one here is one of the ones that may be used to declare the individual mandate of Obamacare unconstitutional.  Much like the Tenth Amendment this one doesn't lay out any rights per se, but it is very clear that you can not take rights from the people.  It is typically used as a means for stating that Government can not expand its powers past what is enumerated in the Constitution.  That to do so would be destructive to the individual's rights.  This one comes from the Anti-Federalists, Madison mostly, and is actually something that Republicans are very fond of even if they don't cite it too often. 

It states in essence that the constitution already says what powers the separate branches have (Articles I-III) and the responsibilities of the Federal Government as a whole (Articles IV, and V).  Well what about those cases that the Constitution could not possibly foresee, like say the Internet or say Airplanes.  Well again point to this Amendment.  Is it in the Constitution?  No?  Then no more power for you Mr Government man!  See the Ant-Federalists, what would become known as the Democratic Republican Party (NOT to be confused with the Democratic party which was actually a consolidation of the remaining Federalists and founded a generation later) were really concerned with individual rights.  Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty or give me Death!"  The Anti-Federalists had fought the Revolution because of the destructiveness that a State could have on the individual.  It was assumed that a legislature or a president, could take power just as surely as a King, Oligarchy, or mob could.  That those forms of government were distinctly not in favor of the individual. 

Indeed as this Constitution was being sorted out the French Revolution was ongoing.  Anyone that has actually  studied the French Revolution will know that it was the exact opposite of the American, and that it very quickly turned into something horrific (actually almost as soon as it began, but I digress).  The individual was no more protected from the rampages of the Mob than it was from the ineptitude of the King.  Americans are big into individualism.  While hardly ever cited (much like the Tenth) it is nonetheless vital to ensuring that the Government can not encroach too far upon the individual Citizen's Powers and Rights. 

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