Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution Explained

9th Amendment of the Constitution
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

What Is The 9th Amendment?

When the Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution in 1791, the Ninth Amendment clause was part of it.

How Can The 9th Amendment Be Summarized?

The Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that the federal government doesn’t own the rights that are not listed in the Constitution, but instead, they belong to citizens. This means the rights that are specified in the Constitution are not the only ones people should be limited to. The government shouldn’t disparage the other rights of citizens according to the clause. That is the general issue included in the Ninth Amendment.

These rights can consist of the right to plant flowers, the right to paint your toenails, and the right to eat what you want, among many others. All these are rights not denied to people just because they aren’t in the Constitution. 

Why Was The 9th Amendment Added To The Constitution?

There was a great debate on whether people’s rights were being protected before the Constitution was ratified. The Anti-Federalists are the ones that insisted that the Bill of Rights be included in the Constitution. They feared that the federal government would take all the power and oppress other people. Then James Madison listened and included The Ninth Amendment in the Constitution. However, an essential portion of the original draft that Madison created was removed by a select committee. It was to prohibit the federal government from expanding its power more using interpretation. This, in turn, made the whole application of the amendment and the purpose it was supposed to serve irrelevant. The intention was for it to be used as the Constitution’s mode of interpretation. It was supposed to give people the confidence that federal courts wouldn’t create any new government powers through interpretation.

9th Amendment to US Constitution
9th Amendment to US Constitution

Opposition To The Constitution From Federalists.

The federalists, on the other hand, believed that the Constitution limited the federal government. They argued that individuals’ liberties would possibly turn out to be detrimental if protected rights are enumerated. The Constitution would also make other liberties lack the protection of their constitutional rights. This was when the Ninth Amendment was developed to ensure that enumerated rights in the Constitution do not deny other rights that aren’t listed. When it was first passed, it wasn’t clear what the rights on the amendment were.

Alexander Hamilton and 9th Amendment

Interestingly, Alexander Hamilton was against the inclusion of the 9th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. He argued that by protecting unnamed rights, this implied that the government had the power over these rights if it weren’t for the 9th Amendment.

What Does The 9th Amendment Mean Today?

The Ninth Amendment wasn’t mentioned frequently until the mid-1960s since the United States Supreme Court didn’t primarily depend on it.

In fact, the Supreme Court was slightly bemused by it as there was a strong disagreement in what it could be referring to.

This happened continuously ever since the Bill of Rights was enacted. This has impacted the Ninth Amendment so much since then. It hasn’t been referenced often as a primary source of liberty. However, it has been very crucial in the broadening of people’s rights to privacy.

Generally, the Supreme Court tries not to introduce a reference to the 9th amendment if possible, as its interpretation is so challenging.

However, this is changing as new technology emerges such as the internet where many aspects may have to be regulated by the 9th amendment.

Why Is The 9th Amendment Important?

Many interpretations have emerged, all trying to interpret the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution and its meaning. Some scholars claim that it is affirmative protection of the rights that aren’t included in the Bill of Rights. Other scholars think that it’s just there to state a platitude. Many people have not paid much attention to the clause at all.

When Was The 9th Amendment Ratified?

The 9th Amendment was ratified on December 15th, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights which consisted of the first 10 amendments to the US constitution.

Before it was ratified, there was a great discussion in Congress over the suggested text and whether it should be ratified at all. It is sometimes referred to as the Federalists’ Amendment.

Video Explanation of the 9th Amendment of the Constitution:


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