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A photo of a sign. The sign reads “Out of respect for our customers, Trader Joe’s does not permit solicitation in front of our stores regardless of the issue. Feel free to ignore any annoying solicitors without feeling any guilt whatsoever”.
This sign outside a California branch of the Trader Joe’s supermarket chain is one of many anti-solicitation signs that sprang up in the wake of a court case involving the Pruneyard Shopping Center, which resulted in the protection of free expression in some privately owned shopping centers. (credit: modification of work by “IvyMike”/Flickr)

These state protections do not extend the other way, however. If the federal government passes a law or adopts a constitutional amendment that restricts rights or liberties, or a Supreme Court decision interprets the Constitution in a way that narrows these rights, the state’s protection no longer applies. For example, if Congress decided to outlaw hunting and fishing and the Supreme Court decided this law was a valid exercise of federal power, the state constitutional provisions that protect the right to hunt and fish would effectively be meaningless. More concretely, federal laws that control weapons and drugs override state laws and constitutional provisions that otherwise permit them. While federal marijuana policies are not strictly enforced, state-level marijuana policies in Colorado and Washington provide a prominent exception to that clarity.

Student-led constitutional change

Although the United States has not had a national constitutional convention since 1787, the states have generally been much more willing to revise their constitutions. In 1998, two politicians in Texas decided to do something a little bit different: they enlisted the help of college students at Angelo State University to draft a completely new constitution for the state of Texas, which was then formally proposed to the state legislature.

The Texas Politics Project, “Trying to Rewrite the Texas Constitution,” https://texaspolitics.utexas.edu/archive/html/cons/features/0602_01/slide1.html (March 1, 2016).
Although the proposal failed, it was certainly a valuable learning experience for the students who took part.

Each state has a different process for changing its constitution. In some, like California and Mississippi, voters can propose amendments to their state constitution directly, bypassing the state legislature. In others, such as Tennessee and Texas, the state legislature controls the process of initiation. The process can affect the sorts of amendments likely to be considered; it shouldn’t be surprising, for example, that amendments limiting the number of terms legislators can serve in office have been much more common in states where the legislators themselves have no say in whether such provisions are adopted.

What rights or liberties do you think ought to be protected by your state constitution that aren’t already? Or would you get rid of some of these protections instead? Find a copy of your current state constitution, read through it, and decide. Then find out what steps would be needed to amend your state’s constitution to make the changes you would like to see.

The right to privacy

Although the term privacy does not appear in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, scholars have interpreted several Bill of Rights provisions as an indication that James Madison and Congress sought to protect a common-law right to privacy    as it would have been understood in the late eighteenth century: a right to be free of government intrusion into our personal life, particularly within the bounds of the home. For example, we could perhaps see the Second Amendment as standing for the common-law right to self-defense in the home; the Third Amendment as a statement that government soldiers should not be housed in anyone’s home; the Fourth Amendment as setting a high legal standard for allowing agents of the state to intrude on someone’s home; and the due process and takings clauses of the Fifth Amendment as applying an equally high legal standard to the government’s taking a home or property (reinforced after the Civil War by the Fourteenth Amendment). Alternatively, we could argue that the Ninth Amendment anticipated the existence of a common-law right to privacy, among other rights, when it acknowledged the existence of basic, natural rights not listed in the Bill of Rights or the body of the Constitution itself.

See Griswold v. Connecticut , 381 U.S. 479 (1965). This discussion parallels the debate among the members of the Supreme Court in the Griswold case.
Lawyers Samuel D. Warren and Louis Brandeis (the latter a future Supreme Court justice) famously developed the concept of privacy rights in a law review article published in 1890.
Samuel Warren and Louis D. Brandeis. 1890. “The Right to Privacy,” Harvard Law Review 4, No. 193.

Questions & Answers

to this textbook which countries have the highest rates of execution?
michael Reply
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having so many levels of subnational governments in the United States? Explain
Nicole Reply
to help in protecting the right of the citizens, in safety purpose also if not many tribulation war and conflict in between the Nations and perhaps the citizens that is we really needs them.
Emmanuel
What are the advantages
maureen
what were the initial issues that led to the introduction of legislation
Benedicta Reply
Do the consideration and bill of rights protect the life and liberty of all Americans?
Benedicta
yes
Emmanuel
how do we answer government questions
Comfort Reply
by following all the due processes
Emmanuel
how many types of pre_ colonial political system do we have in Nigeria
Israel Reply
3
nkama
we 3 which are yoruba,hausa, Igbo
Israel
3
Ibrahim
opening day in the house. what is the speaker's first duty
Gabriel Reply
what is bill of right?
Dyutoe Reply
first 10 amendments to the Constitution
Ruthie
a bill of right in the United States,bill of right is the first tan amendment to the Constitution.
Israel
what prevented the equal rights Amendment from being ratified?
Darhel Reply
why some countries adopts written constitution
Paschal Reply
because it is documented
Comfort
what part of our government is based on parliament
SonIa Reply
what important political idea came from Thomas Hobbes
SonIa
Thomas Hobbes who is he
SonIa
what is democracy
Haliru Reply
government of the people by the people and for the people
Emmanuel
what is Constitution
Joy Reply
What's separation of power in government?
Fortune Reply
What's political parties?
Fortune
What's Political apathy
Fortune
political parties can be defined as a group of people who share a common interest
Waris
political apathy it can be defined by act of not having Interest in any politics
Waris
political parties are organised group of citizens,acting as a political unit and through the use of their voting power trys to control the government.
Jasper
what are the broad purposes of government
Slande Reply
what is constition
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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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