January 18, 2008

Bill of State Rights

In 1833 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Barron v. Baltimore that the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, were applicable only in protecting citizens from actions of the federal government. Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the people of the United States established the US constitution for their government, not for the government of the individual states.

-From Mass Media Law by Pember and Calvert (07-08 ed.)

Strange that I never heard of that before. The application of the Bill of Rights to state governments seems to have been established almost 100 years after the founding of the country by way of the 14th amendment and it's statement that no state can infringe on its citizen's liberties of which the liberties granted in the Bill of Rights is presumed to include.

People jaw so much about the US constitution in this country that they forget all about their state constitution. I'm sure my brother knows a lot more about it than I do.

1 comment:

Diggs said...

You certainly dusted that case off the bookshelf. The reason its not talked about is becuase just about 100% of the bill of rights has been held to be applicable to the states through the 14th amendment. However, the idea of the due process clause including the bill of rights has been a 20th century phenomenon. It was essentially done on a case by case basis - ie 4th amendment case, 8th amendment case etc. With SIGNIFICANT disagreement. You should read about how the right against self-incrimination came to be part of the due process clause. An intense battle over a few cases with different supreme courts. As for your state constitution comment, the federal constitution essentially sets the floor for states to follow. So it is always very important to look to State constitutions as they often offer protections far above the federal (NY criminal law would be a great example).