The Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment

Ninth and Tenth Amendments

What rights does the Ninth Amendment protect?

The Ninth Amendment provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” It means that there are other rights retained by the people even though they are not specifically listed, or enumerated, in the Bill of Rights.

One common objection to the Bill of Rights was that listing, or enumerating, certain rights in the Bill of Rights would mean that those were the only rights the people possessed. To answer this concern, James Madison adopted the Ninth Amendment which implies that people retain other rights not specifically listed in the Bill of Rights. For 175 years, the Ninth Amendment was, in the words of one Supreme Court Justice, a “constitutional curiosity.” However, in the 1965 case involving marital privacy, Griswold v. Connecticut (see LegalSpeak, p. 82), Justice Arthur Goldberg revived the amendment and said that it protected a right to privacy.


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