We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first seven amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Eighth and Ninth Amendments. Both are very brief, so we’ll consider them together.
This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.
Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
It was not uncommon in the monarchies of the day for people to be held in prison unreasonably by the use of impossibly large fines or bail, and the use of cruel and unusual punishment was fairly routine. The forefathers wanted to be sure our citizens were protected against such abuses of power.
When I read about particularly horrendous murders or perverts raping young children, I sometimes wish we could have cruel and unusual punishment to fit their crimes, but that’s not a serious desire. I’m glad we have these protections.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
This statement seems obvious, but it was necessary to be sure our rights as citizens were not limited.
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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