1 1st Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Wow, what a great amendment. Really starts the Bill of Rights off with a bang - freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly, all in one. This is like The Avengers of amendments.

 

2 4th Amendment The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

I mean, c'mon - gotta give it up for no unreasonable search and seizures. My person, house, effects, AND papers? All totally covered. No one can search my many papers, unless it's reasonable. Hear that, Government? You CANNOT search my paper detailing the list of Sonic body pillows I plan to buy unless you get a warrant.



The right of due process, no self-incrimination, compensation for cases of eminent domain, and no double jeopardy, all rolled into one heck of an amendment. I think I know what happened here - the Founding Fathers were about halfway through the Bill of Rights and were like "oh shit we got, like, at least 14 more rights we gotta guarantee. Maybe just combine a bunch of them into the next one, that way we won't be stuck with cramming 9 rights into the last amendment." Really great amendment, but pretty sloppy.

 

4 8th Amendment Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

Kinda weird that the whole big "no cruel and unusual punishment" thing is basically an afterthought to "no excessive bail or fines." Like, I'd way rather pay a high bail than get tortured. Still, gotta love amendments that promise not to overcharge or torture you (in weird ways, at least. I guess they can still torture you as long as it's usual)

 

5 6th Amendment In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation to be confronted with the witnesses against him to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence

So, basically, your right to a fair trial. Pretty good - except did you see Making a Murderer? Doesn't seem like "fair trial" is all that guaranteed, based on that one Netflix documentary series I recently watched. Frankly, I think this might just be some kinda decoy amendment that doesn't really mean anything.

 

6 7th Amendment In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law

Eh, just sorta guarantees jury trials for federal civil cases. As far as the justice amendments go, not too impressive. As long as you don't mess up anything worth less than $20, your rights will be upheld. Be very careful to not mess with anything only worth $19 though.



7 2nd Amendment A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

Oof, if this were just "everyone get guns," this would be a way better amendment. Instead, it says you need to be part of a well-regulated militia? Uh, I don't want to be in ANY militia, let alone a well-regulated one. I guess I never realized that all the gun owners in this country were also members of well-regulated militias. Pretty impressive, honestly.

 

8 3rd Amendment No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law

Uh, I mean, sure. I guess it's good that they're guaranteeing soldiers won't show up and start living in my house, but that's a REAL specific right to guarantee, especially in the #3 slot. Like, my concern day-to-day is pretty rarely about whether a bunch of soldiers will show up and just declare my apartment a free AirBnB. I guess this might have been a more pressing concern 200 years ago, but you'd think this coulda been handled with a footnote somewhere that says "oh yeah BTW soldiers can't break down your door and automatically declare themselves roommates."

 

9 9th Amendment The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

Wow, kinda lazy, right? "If we forgot any rights you might have, uhhh, you still have them, we just didn't feel the need to list them all." I get that they were kinda in a hurry and didn't have enough time to write in your right to privacy, but at least it implies we have a whole bunch of BONUS rights we don't know about.

 

10 10th Amendment The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people

Honestly, kinda a cop-out, amendment-wise. "Hey, if we forgot anything, the States gotta do it." Ugh, just check your work and be thorough next time, Founding Fathers, instead of trying to pass the buck on who's responsible for what down to the states. And this is the last amendment in the Bill of Rights - not exactly leaving on a strong note. Really disappointing finale to a pretty solid set of amendments.