• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the view that a Bill of rights alone is insufficient to protect rights and liberties.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the view that a 'Bill of rights' alone is insufficient to protect rights and liberties. A Bill of Rights effectively outlines the rights and liberties of the people. In the USA the first ten amendments to the constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. Of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 10th are perhaps the most important today. For example, the 1st Amendments guarantee basic rights such as, freedom of religion; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; and freedom of assembly. These are just a few of the many rights and liberties stated in the Bill of Rights, so why are people to argue that a Bill of Rights alone is insufficient to protect rights and liberties? Although the American Constitution and particularly the first ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights promise the citizens of the United States certain rights and protections, the civil rights record of the country highlights the fragile nature of such abstract promises. The constitution does not define the meaning of such phrases as 'liberty' or 'equal rights,' and therefore it is the responsibility of the courts, the un-elected branch of government, to make meaning through rulings they make on cases of constitutional importance. ...read more.


If you take the abortion cases of Planned Parenthood vs Casey and Gonzales vs Carhart, this shows the court chipping away at abortion rights. Being so, this leads to 'judicial tyranny,' as judges are able to make laws and to interpret them. Judges are unelected and also socially unrepresentative, so this expanded role for the judiciary highlights an undemocratic nature, which therefore suggests a Bill of Rights alone is insufficient to protect rights and liberties. It is evident that the USA Bill of Rights has failed to protect the rights and liberties of a significant minority of its citizens, as throughout history politicians and more importantly judges have firstly failed to grant certain groups civil rights and liberties in their most basic form. The arguments suggesting a Bill of Rights alone is insufficient in protecting rights and liberties do appear convincing; however many would put forward arguments in favour of a Bill of Rights being sufficient to protect rights and liberties. As mentioned before, the Bill of Rights although codified is in fact vague. Take the 1st and 11th amendment for example; this can be applied to many situations that alone protect the rights and liberties. ...read more.


suspected to being a terrorist to either have a trial or to have the same maximum amount of time in prison without one as every other suspected criminal. Furthermore a Bill of Rights may never have allowed political parties such as the BNP to discriminate against who joins the party. Being so, this may well suggest a reason why a Bill of Rights alone can be sufficient in protecting rights and liberties. In conclusion, history has proven that in the USA a Bill of Rights has failed to protect the rights and liberties of the people in many situations. Although Supreme Court cases such as 'Texas v. Johnson' explain otherwise, overall the evidence presented suggests a Bill of Rights to be insufficient. Society and life in general is always changing; therefore a Bill of Rights would restrain development in certain areas. With such strong evidence against a Bill of Rights alone, it is appropriate to look to other methods of protecting rights and liberties, such as the UK 'Humans Rights Act' and also the 'EU Court of Human Rights,' that can sit alongside a Bill of Rights to ensure that the rights and liberties of the people are protected. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United States section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United States essays

  1. To what extent has the Constitution protected civil liberties in America?

    The Supreme Court has dealt with cases involving the freedom of press such as, in the New York Times (NYT) Vs United States (1971). The court upheld the right of the NYT to publish the so-called 'Pentagon Papers' which were secret defence papers concerning the Vietnam war.

  2. To what extend are rights and liberties better protected in theory than in practice ...

    President Kennedy also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Council in March 1961 which ensures that hiring and employment practices would be free from racial bias. Therefore, this leads to greater levels of diversity and in the most effective way, delivering equality of opportunity.

  1. US pressures groups are undemocratic, discuss

    Interest groups supporting those without representation have certainly had their successes; pressure groups can have a major impact on issues. The NAACP used its money and professional expertise to bring cases to court for people who could not otherwise afford it.

  2. How is Britain's constitution changing in the 21st century?

    Government accountability is a central aspect of the constitution to the citizen, and as the House of Lords is an issue, so is the actions of the government. Freedom of Information A criticism New Labour levied at previous administrations was their willingness to be open, or rather their lack of it.

  1. To What Extent were the rights and interests of American Negroes safeguarded in the ...

    This excluded all the Confederate officials. These new Southern reconstruction governments operated under the protection of the Army and with the encouragement of the Federal Government. They strove to reconstruct the South economically, politically, and socially. During the period of 1865-1890 blacks played a significant political role throughout the South.

  2. How effective has the US been at defending civil liberties at a time of ...

    Thus, when it was revealed in 2005 that the Bush administration had authorized eavesdropping on overseas phone calls made for the USA, the President argued that as Commander in Chief he was constitutionally mandated to do anything within his power to protect the American people.

  1. Are Civil Liberties and rights better Protected In the US or UK?

    the protection of civil rights and Liberties this is shown in America with the implementation of the Patriot Act 2001 in which doesn?t protect the citizens civil rights and liberties this is the act allows the executive to look into crucial information and also deviate the constitution in the 1st

  2. How far do you agree the USA remains a global hegemony today?

    There are four industries that are viewed when considering global high technology: 1) Aerospace. 2) Computers/office machinery. 3) Electronics/communications. 4) Pharmaceuticals. U.S. production in these four industries accounted for nearly 32% of world high technology production. The next closest competitor was Japan at some 22%.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work