Home Constitutional Amendments

Constitutional Amendments

Understanding the 20th Amendment

Understanding the 20th Amendment

The Twentieth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution addresses the terms of elected Federal officials, including the President, Vice-President, and members of Congress. Specifically, it defines the actual dates on which those terms begin and end. The 20th Amendment also provides for guidelines to be followed in the scenario that there is no President-elect. The Twentieth Amendment was ratified into the U.S. Constitution on January 23, 1933. 

Of the Amendments to the Constitution, it is of particular interest that the terms of elected Federal officials remained unchanged or unrevised until 1933, when the Twentieth Amendment was ratified. It provides for important provisions that, at first glance, seem to have been crucial enough to be addressed in earlier times.

The Twentieth Amendment is divided into six sections, with the first four containing the substance of the proposed changes in legislature. The first section details that the terms of the President and Vice President are to end at noon on January 20th, and at noon on January 3rd for Senators and Representatives. The terms for the President and Vice President are a length of four years, while members of Congress retain their positions for a period of six years.

The Second Section mandates that Congress is to meet at least once a year, with the one meeting being on noon of the 3rd of January, which would be the first meeting with new Congress members in the event of the start of a new term.

The situation arising of no President-elect is addressed in Section Three of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution. If the President-elect dies before the term begins on the specified date, the Vice President-elect is to become President. This situation also applies if the President-elect has been chosen by the beginning of the term or if the President fails to qualify. In the extenuating circumstance that both the President and Vice President-elect fail to qualify, Congress is allowed by law to declare who is to become President until a President or Vice President qualifies for office. In the case that a person from the House of Representatives dies who has the responsibility to choose a President, and similarly for the person in the Senate choosing a Vice President, then Congress is allowed by law to undertake such responsibilities.

Finally, Sections Five and Six provide for a date on which the first two sections are to be enacted, 15th of October after the ratification of the Twentieth Amendment. The Amendment itself would have a period of seven years in which must be ratified; otherwise, it would be discarded. 

The Amendments to the Constitution regarding the terms of elected Federal officials changed the date on which a term was to begin, which was originally March 4th, four months after the actual elections were held. The implemented date was a consideration for the new officials in providing for ample time to move to the nation's capital. However, in modern times, this lapse in time would prove to be a hindrance rather than a positive consideration. Furthermore, Congressmen who were elected prior to the Twentieth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would not actually enter office until over a year after their election. The lapse in time would produce what are referred to "lame duck" sessions held by Congress, which were unproductive and obsolete.

Particularly importance instances which marked the need for the Twentieth Amendment were the secession of the Southern states and the Great Depression, in which the new elected officials would have to wait four months before they could address these serious concerns.

Understanding the 21st Amendment

Understanding the 21st Amendment

The 21st Amendment is the only one introduced that would completely repeal another Amendment, the 18th Amendment. The Eighteenth Amendment implemented a national ban on alcoholic or "intoxicating" substances, which was commonly referred to as Prohibition. The 21st Amendment would call for the prohibition repeal, which would no longer prohibit the sale, manufacture, or transportation of alcoholic beverages. The 21st Amendment was ratified on December 5th, 1933 and was the only Amendment to be ratified by state ratifying conventions rather by state legislature, which would mark the prohibition repeal. 

It is clear that the 21st Amendment was a result of the failed prohibition of alcohol in the United States. Though consumption generally declined, organized crime and crime rates soared to levels never experienced by Americans before. Prohibition only applied to the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, but not actual consumption. Even though this would make alcohol extremely difficult to obtain, there would be those that would find illegal means to get their hands on alcohol and ample opportunity existed to derive a profit from such practice.

Bootleggers, speakeasies, and the rise of organized crime all were birthed as a reaction to the 18th Amendment. Criminals, such as notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone, would become millionaires and a general lawlessness would proliferate in the United States. Many would simply ignore the provisions set forth by Prohibition. Corruption was common among law enforcement and drinking would become a symbol of rebelliousness, which heightened its appeal. It became apparent that Prohibition, though a noble attempt and experiment, generally brought on more negative impacts than any positive gains to be brought from reducing the consumption of alcohol. 

The apparent need to reverse Prohibition became the general sentiment of the country. However, its overturning would prove to be more complicated because of the political power the Temperance Movement had garnered through lobbying. Congress would then have to employ one of two methods for ratifying Constitutional Amendments, which had never been used before. Normally, ratification by State legislature was the avenue taken for Amendment ratification, requiring the approval of three-fourths of the states.

The other method, as provided by the United States Constitution, is by State conventions. State conventions abide by a loose ratification process, which is similar to that of the "one-state, one-vote" national referendum.  The 21sth Amendment would be the only Amendment to the United States Constitution to be ratified using this method. 

The overturning of Prohibition would, therefore, delegate responsibility of regulating alcohol laws to the states. Even though the 21st Amendment was approved, several states continued to follow the doctrine of Prohibition. For example, Missouri would remain alcohol-free until 1966, while Kansas did not allow public bars until 1987. Some states go as far as allowing counties and/or municipalities to impose their own regulations regarding alcoholic beverages. The interpretation of the provisions in the second section of the 21st Amendment allowed for the states to maintain the right to control alcoholic beverages.

Understanding the 22nd Amendment

Understanding the 22nd Amendment

Similar to the 20th Amendment, the 22nd Amendment outlines the term length of the President, specifically addressing the issue of how many terms an elected President may seek. Congress passed the 22nd Amendment on March 21st, 1947, and the Amendment process was completed when it was ratified on February 27th, 1951 by the necessary number of states. 

The 22nd Amendment strictly limits that the Presidential Office shall not be held by a person more than two times. The provision also holds that any person holding the position of President for more than two years of any given term cannot be elected to the office of President more than once.

The 22nd Amendment has roots as far back as the first President of the United States, George Washington. Washington limited his Presidency to only two terms, as well as did Thomas Jefferson. However, prior to the 22nd Amendment, there was no actual legislation in place restricting the amount of terms for which a President could be eligible. The Fathers of the Constitution simply implemented that a term would last four years. Their belief was a reliance on the people and the Electoral College and belief that a third term would be prevented based on these factors.

The restriction of two terms of Presidency simply became a respected standard and was adhered to until Franklin D. Roosevelt chose to run for a third term in 1940. Roosevelt even became elected for a fourth term in 1944, but died in office in 1945. Many cite the United States' future involvement in World War II as a reason that FDR was elected for a third term. However, Roosevelt was not the only one to seek a third term, but rather the only President to have served more than two terms. Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt both sought the office of President for more than two terms, but were unsuccessful.

The 22nd Amendment first applied to Dwight D. Eisenhower and he believed that running for a third term would essentially undermine the power that the Presidential Office would have in the world of politics. However, many have tried to repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment and have managed to introduce into the Amendment process certain bills and proposals either completely removing the two-term limit, or revising it to bar more than two consecutive terms. Since the ratification of the 22nd Amendment, there have only been three presidents who were eligible for a second term. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush only served one term, and current President Barack Obama is also eligible, this current term being only his first.

Under the 22nd Amendment, the only President that would have been eligible to serve more than two terms would be Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ became President as a result of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and served the remainder of his term which totaled fourteen months. Under the 22nd Amendment provisions, he did not exceed the two year restriction and would have been eligible to run and be elected in 1968. He was elected in 1964 as President after serving the remainder of JFK's term. 

Understanding the 12th Amendment

Understanding the 12th Amendment

The Twelfth Constitutional Amendment provides for one of the most important provisions in the United States Constitution and is one of the Amendments that would change how the United States Government would be shaped and select its leaders. The Twelfth Amendment was introduced by Congress on December 9th, 1803, and ratified by the states on June 15th, 1804.

This Constitutional Amendment would provide for the process in which the President and Vice-President of the United States would be elected, creating what is now known as the Electoral College. Though there was already a procedure in place to elect the President and Vice-President, the original proved to have some fallacies which were made apparent in the 1796 and 1800 elections. 

Prior to the inclusion of the Twelfth Amendment, the procedure called for each elector to cast two votes, and those two votes could not be for two people within the State of residency of said elector. If one person received the majority of votes, that person would win the election. If more than one would receive the majority of votes, it would be up to the House of Representatives to choose one of those individuals to become President. If no majority could be determined, the House would choose from five individuals with the most electoral votes.

The Vice-President would be chosen by appointing the person with the second highest number of electoral votes with the position. The majority of votes was not required for becoming Vice-President. If there was a tie for second place, the Senate would appoint the Vice-President, with each member casting a vote. However, it was never included in the Constitution whether or not the current Vice-President could cast a vote that could render a tie-breaking decision. 

Under this system, the 1796 election resulted in having a President, John Adams, a member of the Federalist Party, and Thomas Jefferson, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, being elected Vice-President. This occurred because members of the Federalist Party decided to use their second vote and disperse them among various candidates, which allowed for Jefferson to garner the second most electoral votes, and thus, being appointed to the position. In having two different party members elected to the President and Vice-President positions, the inherent differences in political agendas and philosophies would ultimately clash, thus making it extremely difficult to work together.

The 1800 election posed another problem with the original procedure, where a tie could potentially always occur if the Electoral College voted in accordance to their political party affiliation. This would result in the House of Representatives undertaking multiple ballots to determine a President. 

With the introduction of the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, a new system would be implemented regarding the casting of votes. The actual structure of the Electoral College would not change, however. Instead of casting two votes for a Presidential candidate, the new Amendment required two distinct votes: one for President and the other for Vice President. A majority of electoral votes was still required to be elected to either office or position. In the event that there was no majority, the House of Representatives would choose a President under the guidelines of the original procedure.

The only difference under the Twelfth Constitutional Amendment is that the House would choose among three of the people receiving the most electoral votes, rather than the five prescribed in the original process. The Senate would choose a Vice President in the case of no majority, among the two having the most votes. If in the case that there are multiple individuals in a tie for second place, they would also be considered.

A new procedure introduced by the new Amendment was the requirement of a two-thirds quorum for balloting procedures. It also provided that if no decision could be reached for a President by March 4th, the first day of the Presidential term, then the elected Vice-President would act as the President. However, the Presidency term date would be eventually revised and changed to January 20th. If no President or Vice-President were to be elected upon that date, Congress would appoint a President who would meet the necessary qualifications to take that position. 

Understanding the 13th Amendment

Understanding the 13th Amendment

The Thirteenth Amendment is arguably one the most important Amendments to the United States Constitution and the impact it had on the history of the United States. It would become a change to the landscape of America and secured a more appropriate application of human and equal rights to its citizens. 

The 13th Amendment is the provision that officially called for the abolishing of slavery and the prohibition of such practice, including involuntary servitude. Involuntary servitude would only be acceptable as a form of punishment for a crime. The 13th Amendment was adopted on December 6th, 1865, but was introduced for approval earlier the same year. 

The Thirteenth Amendment is divided into two sections and was the first of what are now referred to as the Reconstruction Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment is as follows:


  Section 1: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.

  Section 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


The 13th Amendment would prove to be an important part of United States history, not only affecting the future of further generations, but as well as the times in which it was enacted, providing for the spark of the Civil War. Prior to the 13th Amendment, all legislation regarding slavery related to its protection as an accepted practice. As a country, the United States had stopped importing slaves, but on the domestic front, little was done to abolish the practice of slavery.

However, the movement toward abolishing slavery had begun as early as 1839 by a proposal submitted by John Quincy Adams. More proposals were to follow, but it would not be until 1863 when James Mitchell Ashley submitted his proposal. Others would follow, as drafted by James F. Wilson and John B. Henderson. The combination of these three proposals would become the original Amendment proposal presented to the Senate. In the same year, Abraham Lincoln would issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which would mark the beginning of the movement to abolish slavery. 

The Thirteenth Amendment would provide for several clauses for consideration, such as involuntary servitude. Involuntary servitude would be classified when the master subjects a servant to the following conditions:

  Threats of or actual use of physical force; 

  Threats of or actual state-imposed coercion;

  Fraud or deceit involving a minor, an immigrant, or a mentally incompetent individual.


Any of these conditions, combined with the imposing of a person to labor or service against his/her will, would be in violation of the 13th Amendment. The ban on involuntary servitude was first tried by the U.S Supreme Court in 1911 in the Baily v. Alabama case, in which the decision was upheld.

The concept of peonage is also related to involuntary servitude. This refers to a person bound to involuntary servitude, in which the service constitutes the payment of a debt. However, if peonage is to be found to violate the same conditions prohibited under the Thirteenth Amendment for involuntary servitude, it is also considered unconstitutional. 

Understanding the 14th Amendment

Understanding the 14th Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment is another of the Reconstruction Amendments which were adopted after the Civil War. The 14th Amendment was proposed on June 13, 1866. It was finally ratified by three-fourths of the States on July 9th, 1868. The Fourteenth Amendment has been commonly argued as the most important piece of legislation in the Constitution, and quite possibly, the most important of all laws in the United States.

Its original purpose was to simply define what United States citizenship was and provide for an outline of all the rights that were to be recognized by law and not infringed upon by any body of Government, as well as other individuals. For the first time in the United States, citizenship rights were granted to others who were not white male property owners. It was also a result from the Dred Scott v. Sandford case, which ruled that all slaves and their descendants did not possess Constitutional rights. Needless to say, the 14th Amendment would overrule that judgment.

The Fourteenth Amendment also came into fruition as a contingency to the 13th Amendment, in order to protect the civil and human rights of recently freed slaves. The Fourteenth Amendment would prohibit any person from being deprived of his/her life, property, or liberty without due process of the law or equal protection under law. 

The Fourteenth Amendment would include five distinct sections. The First Section would provide for the equal protection of rights and laws to any citizen of the United States, and no person or governmental faction would have any authority on infringing such liberties and rights. 

The Second Section details the representation of the States in regards to elections of the President and Vice-President, as well as Congress Representatives, State Officers, and members of the Legislature. It also provided for the basic qualifications for a voter including that they must be males over the age of 21, residents of that particular state, and citizens of the United States. Those excluded for consideration would be if they were held guilty of a crime, such as a rebellion. This section also required that Representatives of the states be in direct correlation to the number of inhabitants within its borders, excluding non-taxpaying Indians. 

The Third Section prescribes the details of those eligible for office or positions in Congress, the military, and civil offices, as well as the President and Vice-President. Any person that had previous taken an oath as a member of such offices or positions that had in any way rebelled against the Government or aided enemies of the State would not be eligible for such considerations. However, Congress may issue an exception by a two-thirds vote of each House. 

The Fourth Section addresses the idea of compensation of pensions or bounties and other costs incurred by the Civil War. The public debt of the United States, as authorized by law, would be compensated as necessary. However, neither the United States nor any state could collect damages incurred in the Civil War that relate to the loss or emancipation of a slave. These claims would be held illegal under this provision and would not be recognized under law.

The last Section simply provide for the authorization of Congress to employ the provisions of Fourteenth Amendment, as allowed by law. 

Understanding the 15th Amendment

Understanding the 15th Amendment

The 15th Amendment is one that is considered to be one of the Reconstruction Amendments. It has close ties to the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides for a general definition of a citizen and enumerates certain rights. The 15th Amendment provides for protection to citizens by preventing the government–Federal, state, and local–from denying any citizen the right to vote based on race, color, or if they were bound to slavery in an earlier time.

The 15th Amendment was ratified on February 3rd, 1870, but certain states, such as Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia, were required to ratify the Amendment in order to be recognized for representation in Congress. 

Though the 15th Amendment was a revolutionary one in the sense that it would extend the rights of African-American citizens, its passage into law did not mean that the general population would thoroughly enforce the new legislation. The original draft of the 15th Amendment also included that the right to hold office would not be denied to any citizen based on race, color, or prior slave status. However, this provision would eventually be removed from the draft in order to ratify the 15th Amendment by the necessary 3/4 votes.

The protection guaranteed by the 15th Amendment can be argued to have been implemented to extend voting rights to African-Americans, for politicians were not necessarily or explicitly concerned with the rights of Irish and Chinese immigrants. That is not to say that the voting rights for African-Americans, though included into law, were observed in all the states. 

In many of the Southern states, groups such as the Ku Klux Klan would employ violence and intimidation to deter many Black voters from exercising their rights. In many instances, many Blacks and even White Republicans were killed as a result, and many times with the help of law enforcement, either directly or by willingly not intervening.

Other ways in which many of the Southern states employed tactics to prevent African-Americans from reaching the voting polls were by imposing and administering literacy tests and poll taxes. Some states would go so far as making the locations to register to vote extremely hard to find or not easily available or accessible to Blacks. 

Even though there was opposition to the inclusion and enforcement of the 15th Amendment by many, it was still a step forward in ensuring equal rights for all men under the United States Constitution. The first African-American to vote under the protection of the Fifteenth Amendment was Thomas Mundy Peterson, who cast his vote in Perth Amboy, New Jersey in a school board election.

The passage of the 15th Amendment also allowed for what at the time were radical programs to be created. Many states would implement public education systems, as well as laws preventing the prohibition of interracial marriage. Furthermore, between the years of 1865 and 1880, more blacks were elected to hold a public office than any other period in the United States. It is important to note, however, that no African-American governors were elected by any state. 

Understanding the 16th Amendment

Understanding the 16th Amendment

The Sixteenth Amendment provided for a uniform law regarding the collection of income tax on the national level. The introduction and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment would prove to be crucial, impacting the financial growth and economic standing of the United States.

The main concept of the Sixteenth Amendment is that under the new legislation, Congress would not need to apportion an income tax among the states or have it based upon the numbers produced by the Census. The Sixteenth Amendment would revise the previous Constitutional provisions regarding direct taxes and except income taxes on rent, interests, and dividends from those requirements as a result of the Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. in 1895. The Sixteenth Amendment would be ratified on February 3rd, 1913.

The Sixteenth Amendment reads, "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." The new legislation created for Congress' right to impose a Federal income tax, which was the subject of much change and, at times, confusion prior to the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment.

The first income tax was imposed as a result of the Civil War, which was introduced in 1861. It consisted of a three-percent flat tax on incomes greater than $800. This would be changed a year later to introduce a graduated tax ranging from three to five percent on incomes over $600. All income taxes were considered to be indirect taxes and were imposed according to geographic uniformity. Direct taxes were required to be apportioned according to the population of the states.

Prior to the Sixteenth Amendment, the income tax system was an issue of dispute between farmers and those involved in industrial professions. The argument was that the low prices set upon for their farm products and the requirement to pay high prices for manufactured goods and products was unfair. Many farmers would form coalitions and organizations to introduce their tax platforms, consisting of a graduated income. 

The Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. case would declare that some income taxes were unconstitutional because they were not apportioned direct taxes. The case would determine that the source of income would be used in order to classify whether the income was direct or indirect, and thus, allowing for the definition of what kind of income tax would be levied. Income taxes on wages were not to be apportioned by the population numbers, while those on interests, dividends and rent were.

The growing dispute prior to the case reflected the sentiment of the Government protecting industrial and financial markets by protecting the economic elite created by Industrialization. The Sixteenth Amendment would finally address and solve the dispute as to how income was to be taxed and under what determinations such income tax is to be considered to be properly enacted and enforced.  

Understanding the 17th Amendment

Understanding the 17th Amendment

The 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution is one that determines the manner or system in which United States Senators are to be appointed. It also provided for a term length for Senators, as well as procedures to be considered in the event that a State has a vacancy in the Senate.

The 17th Amendment was proposed in May 13th, 1912, with Connecticut being the last state needed to complete the ratification process for Constitutional Amendments on April 8th, 1913. From that date forward, all United States Senators would be appointed through a direct election by popular vote. 

The 17th Amendment proposes that the Senate will be composed of two Senators from each state. Each Senator is to hold the position for a term of six years. Each Senator of a state will have one vote. In the case that a vacancy in the Senate in any state arises, the governor or executive authority of that state has the right to fill the vacancy by appointing a replacement through a popular vote.

Prior to the 17th Amendment, a governor had the authority to appoint a replacement of his choosing on an immediate basis. The appointed official would have to meet the requirements for such office and would only serve until the next legislature would meet. One of the reasons that the 17th Amendment was adopted as one of the Constitutional Amendments is in direct relation to vacancies in the Senate existing for long periods of time. The election of Senators would often be deadlocked due to different parties holding control over the different Houses and their political interests would be a matter of conflict.

Prior to the popular vote election system, Senators would be appointed, and thus, several situations arose where officials would be appointed through the influence of outside factors, such as industries and financial interest groups, and investigations of bribery and corruption were a concern. Therefore, it became more apparent that Senators should be elected by the general populace of the State. 

Before it became one of the Constitutional Amendments, the concept of Senator elections through a popular vote was being implemented by certain states. The "Oregon System" referred to the practice of states using their primary elections as a way to elect the citizen's choice for a Senator position. More and more states would adopt this system as their choice for the election of Senators. However, investigations regarding the election of an Illinois Senator through unlawful practices made it clear that only Constitutional Amendments would solve this growing concern.

By 1910, almost two-thirds of the United States had implemented the practice of Senatorial elections through popular vote which, under Article V of the United States Constitution, allows for creation of a convention to proposed Amendments, pressuring Congress to propose an Amendment. 

Although the 17th Amendment has proven to be one of the more successful Constitutional Amendments, it has been much disputed in recent years, with some factions even calling for its total repeal. Some politicians believe that the 17th Amendment gives too much power and authority to the United States Congress, allowing for special interests groups to influence the direct election of Senators.

Another key reason many oppose the 17th Amendment is due to the fact that 46 of the 50 states allow for the governor to appoint a replacement in the Senate due to a vacancy. Even though the replacement is subject to be removed because an election is to be held, some may hold the position until the next general election is to be held. As of 2009, a bill was proposed to amend the power of governors to appoint Senators by repealing the clause entirely. 

Understanding the 6th Amendment

Understanding the 6th Amendment

The Sixth Amendment sets forth provisions regarding criminal prosecutions. It grants certain rights to the accused in order to ensure a fair and just trial and verdict rendering. Because under United States law an individual is "innocent until proven guilty", it is important for those facing accusations or allegations of a crime to be provided with specific rights.

The Sixth Amendment provides for six distinct rights under its provisions:

1)         Speedy Trial

2)         Public Trial

3)         Impartial Jury

4)         Notice of Accusation

5)         Confrontation

6)         Counsel.


A speedy trial is a right to a defendant in criminal court proceedings. A speedy trial is defined by certain categories in order to provide that such a right has not been violated in any way. If a trial is to be delayed, the length of delay will come into question. Though there is no set time limit imposed from the day the defendant is brought into custody or indictment occurs, if the trial delay lasts over a year, it is considered as "presumptively prejudicial" and deemed a violation of Sixth Amendment rights, thus necessitating an acquittal.

The delay is also subject to the requirement that a just reason be provided, such as the prosecution delaying trial in order to provide and secure for witnesses or evidence for their case. However, the delay must be considered reasonable and may be subject to the length of deal provision. If a defendant agrees or coincides with the decision for a delay, which is beneficial to his/her case, the defendant cannot at a later time claim a violation of 6th Amendment rights. If the delay has caused any kind of prejudice that may prove to affect the court's decision, a violation may be claimed. 

The defendant has the right to a public trial, but the right is not always granted in cases where a public trial can effectively affect the outcome of the court's decision. If a public trial can be proven to affect due process, such right may not be granted to the defendant. In certain instances, a closed trial may be in order at the request of either the defendant or the courts, with the court having the final decision on the matter. It must be proven that public trial will affect the defendant's right to a fair trial and such publicity has the propensity of creating prejudice against the defendant.

An impartial jury is an important aspect considered under the 6th Amendment, for it ensures a defendant's right to a fair trial and due process. Juries must be free of bias, and both sides of the litigation may question possible jurors for the case in order to determine if any prejudice or bias exists. A jury must also represent an appropriate cross-section of the community to further ensure that no bias is to be found among them.

Before a defendant is brought to trial, he/she has the right to be completely informed on the nature of the accusations, as well as all of the actions committed that have led to such allegations. The defendant must be informed of all actions allegedly committed in a precise and accurate manner. This is also a protection under the Double Jeopardy Fifth Amendment Clause. A defendant has the right to know all aspects regarding the charges and accusations so that double jeopardy can be implemented in the case that the defendant is tried for same crime in the event of being acquitted.

Confrontation refers to the defense having the right to cross-examine witnesses in order to prevent hearsay as admission for consideration in the rendering of the court decision or verdict. The defendant must have the opportunity to challenge the credibility of the witness. This clause also includes the defendant's right to provide for witnesses in his/her favor in order to aid their case. The presentation of evidence is also included under the right for cross-examination to determine validity and overall meaning to its pertinence to the case.

A defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney under the Sixth Amendment in order to ensure that the defense is equally knowledgeable and skilled in law. If the defendant does not have the economical means to hire a private attorney, he/she has the right to be provided one by the courts in the form of a public defense. However, the defendant has the right to waive this clause of the 6th Amendment, for Self-representation is also a right granted under this Amendment.  

States Rights

Right to Privacy

John Witherspoon

James Wilson

Elbridge Gerry

John Dickinson