Constitutional Law For Dummies
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The Constitution is chock-full of guarantees of individual rights and rules about what the government can and can’t do. Some provisions affect people’s lives more than others, but they are all important in their own right. Here are just some of the important, often-discussed provisions and where you can find them in the Constitution:

  • Freedom of speech, press, and religion: First Amendment

  • Right to bear arms: Second Amendment

  • Right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures: Fourth Amendment

  • Right against self-incrimination and double jeopardy: Fifth Amendment

  • Due process: Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments

  • Right against taking without just compensation: Fifth Amendment

  • Right to a speedy and public trial: Sixth Amendment

  • Right to counsel: Sixth Amendment (also read into the Fifth-Amendment right against self-incrimination)

  • Prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment: Eighth Amendment

  • Slavery abolishment: Thirteenth Amendment

  • Equal protection: Fourteenth Amendment

  • Women’s right to vote: Nineteenth Amendment

  • Commerce clause: Article I, Section 8

  • “Necessary and proper” clause: Article I, Section 8

  • Contracts clause: Article I, Section 10

  • Full faith and credit: Article IV, Section 1

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Glenn C. Smith is a professor of constitutional law at California Western School of Law in San Diego, CA, and creator of a nationally recognized seminar in which law students learn about the Supreme Court by role-playing as current justices and lawyers arguing before them.

Patricia Fusco is a government attorney and a criminal prosecutor working in the California Attorney General's Office, Special Crimes Unit. As a trial attorney, she deals with issues of constitutional law on a daily basis.

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