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Re: Unenumerated Rights


I concur with Andy respecting unenumerated rights. I haven’t read all the posts here, so this isn’t directed at any particular individual, but is simply a statement of my beliefs. I hear it said frequently that there are unenumerated rights “in the Constitution.” Most recently, I heard Joe Biden and George Will mention this. It seems to me this mischaracterizes what the framers intended and did. George Mason, among others, voted against the Constitution in large part because it did not include a bill of rights. James Madison and others contended that to provide a list of rights could be misconstrued in the future as limiting the rights (God-given natural rights) we possess. Of course, a few years later, Congress decided to adopt a bill of rights. But Congress and the states were mindful of the original criticism of including a bill of rights. So, they underscored that the bill of rights is not an exhaustive list of rights, and that they had no intention of conferring an open-ended grant of power to government, by including the Ninth Amendment. Unenumerated rights, it seems to me, are rights we have regardless of the Constitution — which is, after all, a governing document.


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