The 1st Amendment
Since the beginning of the Bill of Rights,
the people of the U.S. have developed different ideas and beliefs as a
nation. U.S. citizens, in general, have become more accepting and tolerant
and will continue to grow stronger as a nation. People will continue to
stand up for their rights. Nevertheless, the First Amendment's freedoms are not
limited and may come under greater restriction in the future. Lawsuits against
libel and slander continue to bring in massive damage awards, and the Supreme
Court may restrict campaign contributions in spite of the view that
contributions constitute free speech.
The 2nd Amendment
Since this amendment involves the usage of
weapons, it may be affected the rising crime rates in America. As the crime
rates rise, Americans may be more willing to give up their guns so that
criminals would have less access to them. However, some Americans may feel
that these same weapons will give them protection against criminals. There
is not a good chance that the federal or state government will try to ban
the sale or possession of these weapons completely. However, there is a
possibility that the national legislation may ban the possession of long
guns by city dwellers. After each episode of mass murder in the United States
such as Columbine High School in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007, the debate
over gun control heats up.
The 3rd Amendment
There is not much of a future to this amendment.
The Treaty of Paris put an end to housing soldiers. But it can be used to argue
against government intrusion into private homes and the right to privacy much
the way the Fourth Amendment does.
The 4th Amendment
There is a good chance that we may not be
in danger of unreasonable search and seizure. the government has been
increasingly willing to engage in warrantless searches in the name of national
security, especially after the September 11 attacks of 2001. This
amendment has been extended to the zone of privacy of the automobile, DNA
testing, and blood tests. When applied strictly, this
amendment gives fairness and justice to all by
protecting privacy and sanctity of the home and person.
The 5th Amendment
Since there are so many parts to this amendment,
there could be a big future ahead for the 5th
Grand Jury Changes: It
is possible that lawyers will be allowed to advise witnesses while they
being questioned. Judges will possibly have a more active part in trial proceedings. Records will be
kept of what occurs during the proceedings. In addition, more
legal assistance may be given to defendants during the legal process.
There may be an amendment
to modify the current 5th Amendment.
U.S. Military: The
number of court cases involving the U.S. Military may increase. With war
atrocities committed by US military personnel in Iraq, and with the
capture of "enemy combatants" after the 9/11 attacks, the
Fifth Amendment will receive new attention.
Double Jeopardy: The
court may start to respond more to the plaintiff (prosecution) and not
much towards the defense. (Double Jeopardy seems to get older and older.)
Cases such as the O.J. Simpson verdict of not guilty in spite of
overwhelming evidence will test the double jeopardy rule to its
guidelines (after the Miranda warnings) may be developed, especially
regarding young people.
Due Process of Law: The
clarity of the government's laws may be in question. The U.S. law demands
plain English and ethical question. For example, abortion will be an issue
that will probably last for years to come.
Eminent Domain: Property
rights involving state police power and zoning are issues that probably
will not change too much over the few years.
The 6th Amendment What
the future of the 6th could bring:
and Public Trials: The media sometimes has
a tendency of distorting the views of court
cases. This could make getting defendants to trial early more important.
Impartial Juries: Lawyers
may have the right to disqualify a certain number of jurors (for whatever
reason). These jurors could possibly be impartial.
and District Courts: Many cases involving
more than one state could become federal.
It is possible that issues may involve (false) testimonies of undercover
agents and young children.
The right to call witnesses:
A "Witness Protection Program" (for witnesses
possibly in danger) has been established. (Witnesses could change their identities.) The Courts may have to balance witnesses'
Juvenile rights: The
rights of children may be the same as those of adults.
The 7th Amendment
amendment will probably stand up to questions involving justice. The nature
of the jury (with new cases coming up) may change.
Reform in tort law may make lawsuits more difficult to bring to trial,
and damages are being reduced. lawsuits against medical practitioners
is one target for those who feel frivolous lawsuits have diluted the
intention of the Founding Fathers to have civil cases tried by a jury.
The 8th Amendment
8th will be there to protect the defendant for years to come. The question that
is central to the Eighth Amendment is: what constitutes cruel and unusual
punishment? The death penalty has been outlawed in Western Europe and other
industrialized nations, but the US still carries it in most of the fifty states.
Illinois instituted a moratorium on the death penalty earlier in the decade to
determine if it was being applied fairly across racial lines. The electric chair
is being phased out, with the lethal injection replacing it as a more humane
method of execution. In the future, new, more painless, and quicker methods of
execution are bound to replace the lethal injection, making the death penalty a
viable punishment for the worst crimes for the foreseeable future.
The 9th Amendment
This amendment is likely to play an important
role in the understanding of the Bill of
Rights. As people attempt to claim new rights
and liberties, there may be changing needs
in society that should be met. It seems somewhat unlikely that the 9th
Amendment will be used in the near future to expand the protection of unenumerated rights.
One important issue is that of privacy, which includes reproductive
rights. In 2007, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to pro-abortion
forces, overturning a case that refused to ban "partial birth
abortions. With Justice Sam Alito on the bench replacing Sandra Day
O'Connor, and with the leadership of conservative Chief justice John
Roberts, both appointed by Republican President George Bush, the
Supreme Court's ideological approach will continue to be conservative
for a number of decades to come.
The 10th Amendment
Commonly the Federal Government has been known as the main guardian of
citizens' rights. Today, however, it seems to be the State Governments that are protecting their
peoples' rights. The Supreme Court seems to be taking a more conservative, more narrow point of view
when it comes to individual rights.