As most of you probably remember from your middle school civics' class, the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. What you probably do NOT know is those amendments only apply to the federal government. They were included in the Constitution as a way to insure the states that this newly created federal government would be limited in power. They would not be able to infringe upon the people's freedom of speech or their right to bear arms; they would not be able to quarter their soldiers in our homes, perform unreasonable search and seizures without probable cause, prosecute us without a speedy jury trial or impose excessive fines. But most importantly, the Tenth Amendment specifically states that any powers not granted to the federal government (mostly in Article I, Section 8) is left to the states.
Fast-forward a few decades later as the Civil War ended and the slaves were freed. Congress passed and the states ratified the Fourteenth Amendment in order to permanently codify the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which essentially insured that the newly freed slaves were treated equally under the law. It contained a few familiar phrases like, "privileges or immunities", "due process", and "equal protection".
Unfortunately for all of us, over the ensuing 150 years the Supreme Court, as it is apt to do, has perverted the Constitution (rather than protect and defend it) and found ways to apply the Bill of Rights to the states. This is known as the Incorporation Doctrine.
The American Ideology, Brian Vanyo
Power Divided is Power Checked, Jason Lewis
Government by Judiciary: the Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment, Raoul Berger
Founders Constitution - University of Chicago
What is Incorporation? Brion McClanahan Show - Episode #247
The Tenth Amendment Center
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