What Are Some Key Points in the Bill of Rights?


Quick Answer

The Bill of Rights, or the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, sets out protections against government abuses such as arbitrary arrest, requiring a person to testify against himself, and unreasonable search and seizure. The Bill of Rights also protects people against cruel punishments. It has been interpreted to allow people to have firearms and ensures the right to speak freely and the right to a trial if charged with a crime.

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Full Answer

In the First Amendment alone, the Bill of Rights forbids any governing body of the United States to pass laws establishing a religion or prohibiting religious activity, codifies the idea that people may speak and assemble freely, and requires the government to allow people to petition it for redress of grievances.

The Bill of Rights says no homeowner can be forced to house soldiers. People's property, papers and bodies may not be searched without a warrant that has been issued to an agent who gives an oath or affirmation that there is probable cause of a crime and with specific items to be seized if found.

The Bill of Rights gives the right to a trial by jury and has the special protection of a grand jury for those charged with capital or other infamous crimes. People must have due process of the law in criminal proceedings, and no one may be tried twice for the same crime. The Fifth Amendment says the government may not compel a person charged with a crime to be a witness against himself.

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