What You Need To Know About SC Cases On Failing to Protect Individual Rights

What You Need To Know About SC Cases On Failing to Protect Individual Rights


What You Need To Know About SC Cases On Failing to Protect Individual Rights

The U.S. Constitution contains two Amendments pertaining to individual rights which are left up to the U.S. Supreme Court for interpretation. Both the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment limit the Federal Government and State governments to infringe upon individual rights and civil liberties of U.S. citizens. The Ninth Amendment holds that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people".

The Ninth Amendment can be interpreted as the guarantee that any rights that have not yet been mentioned or enumerated in the first eight Amendments of the Bill of Rights will not be automatically rejected by the Government. The Ninth Amendment stated that the first eight Amendments do not exhaust the full amount of rights of the citizens under Federal law. Supreme Court justices agreed, and subsequent Supreme Court cases held, such as Roe v. Wade, attempted to provide non-enumerated Ninth Amendment rights yet to be mentioned. In Roe v. Wade, the decision was found that the Ninth Amendment granted the right to choose to have an abortion.

Elk v. Wilkins was one of the first highly controversial Supreme Court cases to emerge in the wake of the Fourteenth Amendment. John Elk was born on an Indian reservation, though he renounced his tribe to become a U.S. citizen based on the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. When Elk attempted to register to vote, he was denied the right to by Charles Wilkins.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court Justices agreed with Wilkins and concluded that the Citizenship Clause did not apply to Native Americans born in the United States. It was not until forty years later that this decision was eliminated through the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which included Native Americans as U.S. citizens.

Further denial to individual rights occurred in the case of Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, where the Supreme Court overturned a decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court's assertion of the New Jersey public accommodations law, which forced the Boy Scouts of America to allow Scoutmaster James Dale, a homosexual, to be readmitted into the organization.

The Supreme Court decided that the anti-discrimination law cannot protect a homosexual scoutmaster from becoming a victim of discrimination because the Boy Scouts of America would be sending a message to the youth of the world that the Boy Scouts openly accepted homosexual conduct as "a legitimate form of behavior." This decision was considered to be a major blow to individual rights for homosexuals.

Another of the important U.S. Supreme Court cases on individual rights was the case of Ferguson v. City of Charleston. In this case, a South Carolina hospital had its policy of testing pregnant mothers for cocaine use and the practice of turning over positive results to law enforcement officials for child abuse prosecutions challenged. Women involved in the case claimed the Fourth Amendment, which granted citizens protection against any unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Supreme Court rejected the arguments against the policies, which many people feel are a blatant violation of civil liberties to privacy. The women eventually appealed this decision in the Fourth Circuit of Appeals and it was affirmed on the basis that the searches were indeed justified, though by a matter of law for non-law-enforcement purposes.




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