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What is the Ninth Amendment?

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Quick Answer

The Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a course of conduct to prohibit the federal government from infringing on rights of the U.S. citizen that are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Dissimilar to the eight preceding amendments, the Ninth Amendment does not outline or identify liberties and rights. It instead affirms protection for the unmentioned implicit rights of the people.

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Full Answer

The Ninth Amendment was created after a disagreement between the Federalist and Anti-Federalist parties concerning the Bill of Rights and its inclusion in the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists demanded the inclusion of the Bill of Rights, while the Federalists proposed a general declaration of fundamental rights.

The amendment’s adoption was sparked by James Madison, who wanted to ensure that the Bill of Rights was not viewed as granting citizens of the United States only the specific liberties and rights it expressed. The Ninth Amendment was drafted as a compromise to cast a safety net over the people’s natural rights.

The Ninth Amendment is an explanation and not a declaration of specific rights. It states that the Bill of Rights is not all-inclusive regarding the rights of U.S. citizens. The lack of specific declaration and exclusion of what constitutes natural rights has cast a fairly ambiguous shadow over the legal interpretation of the Ninth Amendment.

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