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Rights Retained by the People: The History and Meaning of the Ninth Amendment Hardcover – November 27, 1989

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Editorial Reviews


The Ninth Amendment is 'forgotten' no more....This is certainly the book I will turn to first in my own work. (Sanford Levinson)

A treasure for historians, legal scholars, philosophers, and concerned citizens. (Alex Kozinski)

This book is valuable, not only for its historical content, but as a legal guide. (Alex Kozinski)

Randy Barnett has gathered a compelling set of readings to convince us that the Ninth Amendment is not gone and that it should not be forgotten.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Publ Assn (November 27, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913969222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913969229
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,253,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
RIGHTS RETAINED BY THE PEOPLE edited by Randy Barnett is a good anthology of papers examining the Ninth Amendment and what are known as unenumerated rights or those rights not specifically listed in the US Constitution(ratified in 1787)or the Bill of Rights (ratified in 1791). Until 1965, the Ninth Amendment was never an issue in the U.S. Supreme Court when the Supreme Court Justices used the Ninth Amendment to overturn a stupid Connecticut law outlawing seeking or prescribing birth control methods or medicine.

The background to the successful appeal of the Connecticut law took place when a physician was arrested and convicted for prescribing birth control to a married couple. His conviction was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Connecticut law was overturned by a 7-2 decision. Then Chief Justice Goldberg concurred with the majority who basically argued that the Connecticut law violated Fourth Amendment protections of unreasonable search and seizure. Interferring with husbands'/wives' decisions re family planning is NONE of the government's business. The Ninth Amendment got attention in this case when Justice Goldberg used the Ninth Amendment to concur. Basically Justice Goldberg argued that family planning and whether or not parents decide to have children are unenumetated rights. His arguement contended that marriage, the size of a family, etc. were unenumerated rights and protected by the Ninth Amendment via the Incorporation Doctrine of the Fourteenth Amendment. Since then, the Ninth Amendment has received attention from Constitutional historians and legal scholars. The title of the 1965 Supreme Court case was Griswald vs. Connecticut. One wonders why a prosecutor would even take such a stupid case. Another interesting case along similar lines was Loving vs.
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Format: Paperback
This book considers our forefather's classical liberal concept of liberty and also the conservative/neo-conservative disparagement of its value.
In lobbying for the Bill of Rights and specifically the 9th amendment, James Madison (who authored the amendment) makes the assertion that government is not the primary enemy of human and civil rights but rather it is democracy itself that we must guard against. Prior to the formation of any government, the majority always has the natural power so amendments describing inalienable rights is essential. These declarations amount to an affirmative action document necessary to protect any minority from discrimination due to the inherent ignorance of majority rule (social or governmental). Furthermore, since naming some rights might cause people to think that other rights lack value or perhaps are imaginary, the 9th amendment intends to serve as instruction and perhaps warning.
For some reason, or lack thereof, modern conservatism overvalues democracy while arguing against the value of minority rights in general and/or affirmative action of any kind. However, whether one values original intent or not, the philosophical underpinnings represented here are certainly a major part of the constitution and not to be disparaged as superfluous or as if the amendment is unable to stand on its own without reliance upon other words to provide it meaning and value. Simply because a modern conservative might question its philosophical basis does not mean the author didn't originally intend it to reflect these values.
A great collection of arguments.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a basically a collection of essays (excerpts) of examinations of the Ninth Amendment from the 1920s to the 1980s along with some historical materials (Madison's speech to the House to introduce the Bill of Rights, etc.). The essays are on the whole well reasoned and written in such a way that a lay reader as well as a legal mind could appreciate them. There are some lulls (a couple are not convincing, one is hard to read) but this is well recommended both as a general resource and a diverse look at an interesting subject.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The one amendment that Justices Scalia and Thomas and Judge Bork cannot understand shd provoke your interest. The points of view that have significant differences suggest this amendment forms the basis for all other amendments. Read it and expand your rights.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on July 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Since there is little product info on this book, the first thing I want to do is give you a table of contents:

Introduction: James Madison's Ninth Amendment by Randy Barnett
1. Speech to the House explaining his proposed Amendments with notes
for the Amendments Speech by James Madison
2. The "Higher Law" Background of American Constitutional Law by
Edward S. Corwin
3. The Ninth Amendment of the Federal Constitution by Knowlton Kelsey
4. The Forgotten Ninth Amendment by Bennett B. Patterson
5. Are there "Certain Rights...Retained By The People"? by Norman Redlich
6. Natural Rights and the Ninth Amendment by Eugene M. Van Loan, III
7. The Ninth Amendment by John Hart Ely
8. The Ninth Amendment by Raoul Berger
9. On Reading the Ninth Amendment: A Reply to Raoul Berger by Simeon
C.R. McIntosh
10.The History and Meaning of the Ninth Amendment by Russell L. Caplan
11.Federalism and Fundament Rights: The Ninth Amendment by Calvin Massey
12.On Reading and Using the Ninth Amendment by Charles L. Black, Jr.
Appendix A. Roger Sherman's Draft of the Bill of Rights (the Bill of Rights as they came out of Committee to be approved by Congress and sent to the States for ratification)
Appendix B. The various Amendments to the Constitution proposed by some of the State Ratifying Conventions (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia all submitted suggestions for amendments as nonbinding parts of their ratifications. North Carolina and Rhode Island refused to ratify until the Bill of Rights was ratified.)
Appendix C. Justice Goldberg's Concurring Opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut.

Enough of that.
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