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The Bill of Rights

There are three types of operative clauses in the Bill of Rights.



1) Individual right – an unambiguous, unqualified right of the people
2) Individual civil right – a specification of process intended to protect individuals from government abuse of power
3) individual administrative right -
Here are the first ten Amendments (sans 2nd Amendment) and identification of each type of right next to the operative clause.

Amendment I (1791)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (individual right), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (individual right); or abridging the freedom of speech (individual right), or of the press (individual right); or the right of the people peaceably to assemble (individual right), and to petition the government for a redress of grievances (individual right).

(Amendment II, see below)

Amendment III (1791)

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner (individual right), nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV (1791)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated (individual right), 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 (individual civil right).

Amendment V (1791)

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury (individual Civil right), except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb (individual civil right); nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law (individual Civil right); nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI (1791)

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial (individual civil right), by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed (individual civil right), which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation (individual civil right); to be confronted with the witnesses against him (individual civil right); to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor (individual civil right), and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense (individual civil right).

Amendment VII (1791)

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. (individual administrative right)

Amendment VIII (1791)

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted (individual civil right).

Amendment IX (1791)

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

Amendment X (1791)

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.

---


In all the other Amendments, there is not one single phrase that limits freedom of the people, or that grants new power to government. All these Amendments refer to unambiguous, unlimited individual rights, or rights of process (civil rights) intended to protect individuals.



Yet liberals would have us believe that this:

Amendment II (1791)

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.

Really means this:

Amendment II (1791)

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the government to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

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