Why the Constitution is Still Relevant Today

1855 words (7 pages) Essay in Law

18/05/20 Law Reference this

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Research Paper Outline

Topic Sentence: The U.S. constitution contains certain amendments that continue to protect the rights of citizens that still apply to us today.

Thesis: The constitution can still be seen as very relevant today because the individual rights of the people are protected through amendments such as the First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendments.

  1. Point 1: The First Amendment, specifically freedom of speech/assembly, still remains relevant with the help of the Cohen v. California case (1971).
  2. Point 2: The Fourth Amendment is still relevant because it allows citizens to have the right to privacy. (Molly)
  3. Point 3: The equal protection of laws to all people in the Fourteenth Amendment is still relevant because it protects immigrants that wish to go to America. (Sarah)

Body of Paper:

Point 1: Freedom of speech and assembly of the First Amendment is still relevant.

  1. The Cohen v. California case in 1971 helps prove that. It allows people to not be criminalized based on their freedom of expression.
  2. Citizens are able to bring change when they can freely express themselves. Without being able to freely speak, we possibly wouldn’t have some of the rights that we have today.
  3. With free assembly, we can show other forms of expression. Citizens can express their views to their leaders because if this.

Point 2: The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is still relevant.

  1. The Fourth Amendment is relied on for justice, liberty, and deserved privacy of citizens people, papers, and effects.
  2. It shows that the Constitution is still highly in affect today. Scheindlin found, “in a 195-page decision”, that the law was unconstitutional and had shown that the New York Police Department was indirectly racially profiling to stop minorities in their communities.
  3. It is a barrier between the government and somebodies privacy and safety.

Point 3: Equal protection of all people in the Fourteenth Amendment remains relevant. (p. 133)

  1. 14th amend. specifies “all persons” rather than “all citizens” will get due process

    1. cannot be deported without a hearing (1903)
  2.  
  3.  

Conclusion: The U.S. constitution includes amendments that continue to protect the rights of citizens that today are still true. The constitution is still relevant today because it protects the people’s rights. With the help of freedom of speech/assembly, protection of privacy and the equal protection of all citizens, we can see how the constitution is still relevant since everything above still applies today. Yes the constitution was created a long time ago, but what is in it is what continues to protects the rights of the citizens that live in America.

The U.S. constitution contains certain amendments that continue to protect the rights of citizens that still apply to us today. The constitution can still be seen as very relevant today because the individual rights of the people are protected through amendments such as the First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendments. The First Amendment, specifically freedom of speech/assembly, still remains relevant with the help of the Cohen v. California case which protects any type of speech, even ‘hate speech’. The Fourth Amendment is also still relevant because it allows citizens to have the right to privacy. Lastly, the equal protection of the laws to all citizens in the Fourteenth Amendment is still relevant because it protects immigrants that wish to go to America.

 Freedom of speech and assembly of the First Amendment can be still relevant today. We as a society not only express ourselves through words, but also through symbolic speech. According to the textbook American Government and Politics Today, symbolic speech can be “Articles of clothing, gestures, and other forms of nonverbal expressive conduct.” (Bardes 95). The Cohen v. California case in 1971 helps prove that. It allows people to not be criminalized based on their freedom of expression, even if it offends people. What led to this case was Paul Robert Cohen walking around in front of children and women wearing a jacket that said “F*** the Draft” on it. According to the state of California, Cohen was violating the California Penal Code 415 saying that he was “maliciously and willfully disturbing the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person.” (Scarinci). Cohen wore the jacket to express his feelings about the Vietnam War/draft, but he was not engaging with anyone in the vicinity. The Supreme Court’s decision was that the state did not have a good enough reason to charge a criminal offense based on swear words. This case allows citizens today to be protected by the First Amendment for any way that they express themselves. Besides freedom of speech, freedom of assembly helps the First Amendment stay relevant. With free assembly, we can show other forms of expression. Citizens can express their views to their leaders because if this. Both speech and assembly can be used together because marches or rallies can use regular free speech and symbolic speech to say their opinions. Without the First Amendment, we possibly wouldn’t have some of the rights that we have today. There would not have been the fight against segregation, women might not have the right to vote, we do not know if we would have been able to speak our feelings to the government and the legalization of LGBTQ+ people marrying would not have seen the light if it was not for free speech. There would not have been voices for these changes.

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  The Fourth Amendment is still working as hard today as it was in the past. Many people rely on the Fourth Amendment for justice, liberty, and deserved privacy. This Amendment protects the rights of citizens from unlawful search and seizures. It was made on December 15, 1791, due to the founders of the constitution realizing that the government’s previous play on intrusions took away the rights of the people. (Swindle 2013) When the amendment came to be, it was only applied to the U.S. Federal Government. (Weiser 2016) But, later, when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified the privacy of the people applied to the states with the Due Process Clause. (Weiser 2016) The Amendment, today protects citizens from things they don’t even think of. It is a barrier between the government and somebody’s privacy and safety. Without the Fourth Amendment, today’s citizens in Brooklyn, New York, would still be held under the Stop and Frisk law. The New York city had seen over three-thousand police stop-and-frisks in the first three months of 2013. (Times 2010) The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is still relevant today, according to Manhattan Judge Shira Scheindlin, who had identified the Stop and Frisk law unconstitutional against the Fourth Amendment. (Times 2010) This event shows that the Constitution is still highly in effect today. Scheindlin found, “in a 195-page decision,” that the law was unconstitutional and had shown that the New York Police Department was indirectly racially profiling to stop minorities in their communities. (Weiser 2016) With the back-up of the constitution, Judge Scheindlin ordered sweeping reforms to be set by the department, and a monitor to oversee the whole process. (Weiser 2016) The Fourth Amendment was created to stop these unconstitutional practices and the policies and laws that slip through the cracks. With the Fourth Amendment still in action, today citizens of the United States are able to keep the privacy of their people, papers, and effects.

The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868, was established to clarify both national and statewide citizenship and to ensure that all persons shall receive due process of law. It dictates that anyone “born or naturalized” in the United States is a citizen of both the US and of the state they’re living in (Bardes, p. 76). The key point of how this amendment protects the rights of immigrants is the emphasis that “any person”, rather than saying “any citizen”, is to receive the equal protection under the law. While immigrants may not yet have the same political rights as citizens, they are still ensured a fair trial and hearing (Bardes, p. 148). It was decreed by the Supreme Court that no immigrants can be deported without a fair trial, and all are entitled to an immigration judge, representation by a lawyer, and the ability to see whatever evidence is pressed against them. All these protections are held by the Fourteenth Amendment, all of which help allow immigrants to move through the process of becoming citizens.

The U.S. constitution includes amendments that continue to protect the rights of citizens that today are still true. Throughout time, the laws in our constitution have either changed, remained the same or even newer laws have been added. The constitution is still relevant today because it protects the people’s rights. With the help of freedom of speech/assembly, protection of privacy and the equal protection of all citizens, we can see how the constitution is still relevant since everything above can still apply to this day today. Yes the constitution was created a long time ago, but what is in it is what continues to protects the rights of the citizens that live in America.

Annotated Bibliography

  1. Bardes, Barbara. California Politics and Government + American Government and Politics Today – Essentials 2017-2018 Edition, 19th Ed. + MindTap Political Science 1 Term, 6 Months Printed Access Card A Practical Approach. Wadsworth Pub Co, 2017.
  2. Scarinci, Donald. (2019, January 15). Cohen v. California – Freedom of Expression Protects Offensive Words. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://constitutionallawreporter.com/2019/01/15/cohen-v-california-freedom-of-expression/

    1. This source helps explain what the Cohen v. California case was about and what was the outcome from it. This case furthermore proves the importance of freedom of speech.
  3. Swindle, J. (2013, March 21). The History Behind The 4th Amendment. Retrieved July 3, 2019, from https://www.swindlelaw.com/2013/03/the-history-behind-the-4th-amendment/

    1. Used for the history behind the 4th amendment to get a more in depth background.
  4. Times, T. N. (2010, July 12). Retrieved July 04, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW8ZXrps9ys&t=116

    1. Used for background on the stop and frisk law and how it was in the community.
  5. Weiser, B. (2016, March 23). Shira Scheindlin, Judge Behind Stop-and-Frisk Ruling, Will Step Down. Retrieved July 3, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/24/nyregion/shira-scheindlin-judge-behind-stop-and-frisk-ruling-will-step-down.html

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