The constitutional law has served to improve the right that citizens of American have over time. What is currently included as part of the human rights was previously not considered in such a manner? These rights include; the freedom of speech, assembly and association, freedom of the press, the right to keep and bear arms, and also the right to privacy. Although these rights are awarded to human beings and specific groups within the country such as the media, they are still subjected to a few restrictions. For instance, even though citizens have the freedom of speech, there are still boundaries as to how far one can go. This paper supports the thesis that the Constitutional Law has served to improve the rights of human beings while also ensuring that it is not misused in such a way that will cause others harm.
Rights Awarded under the Constitutional Law
The first amendment relating to the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press was hardly debated upon. In this amendment, the Congress was prohibited from making any laws that will abridge "the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (191) Therefore, it is evident that the Constitution protects these rights relating to the freedom of expression. However, to ensure there is no misuse, the same rights cannot be protected in instances where it causes harm to other people. What is considered before deciding whether the freedom of expression will be protected or restricted is the possible effects. For instance, when a political group decides to exercise its rights of expression by spreading a message using sound trucks in residential neighborhoods at all hours, the result is that the residents will have no peace. It will be impossible to focus on activities that require much attention, or even to fall asleep in such a situation. Therefore, the political group will be causing harm to the residents. In such a case, the constitution may have to pass policies that will restrict this groups right to expression. This is a necessary step because there are a lot of ways through which the freedom of expression may be used to stir unrest among individuals. If there were no ways to introduce restrictions, it would mean that many would be suffering as a result of the same rights that were meant to improve their quality of life.
Freedom of the press is most probably the most visible manifestation of citizens of America exercising their rights of expression. Although this is the case, those exercising this right must understand that it cannot be taken for granted (293). Even though this is a right guaranteed to the citizens, there are specific instances where the government may be forced to regulate the press by mandating its content. The press is only required to publish legitimate information that will inform the public of the current state of affairs. This is a restriction which seeks to maintain peace, especially since the press is majorly made up of political stories. Politics is a very sensitive topic; hence a wrong piece of information may cause grave consequences for the whole country in terms of wars.
Freedom of expression is also linked to the Internet since the media also posts its information over the internet. Citizens have a right to access information over the Internet. Unfortunately, as much as they have these rights, the government has to take measures and put restrictions so as to protect the minors from sexual contents that are available in abundance over the Internet (372). Therefore, such sites which may argue that they have the right of expression will be required to put measures that will prevent minors from accessing their sites. Similarly, the government will not protect any site that chooses to tolerate child nudity or that promotes child sexuality.
The right to keep and bear arms is also part of the human rights that must be well monitored to prevent unwanted consequences. Although there are licensed arms which one obtains for personal protection, the ways in which they use this is imperative (379). For example, the government will not tolerate a licensed arms holder who goes around shooting anyone who crosses him. Whenever the arms are used, the individual must have proof that indeed his life was in danger.
Lastly, the right to privacy is one which many have learned to exercise. Every now and then, people refer to the constitution and how it grants them the right to privacy (414). This is why an individual may not enter into anothers house without permission, or why the police cannot search a criminals house without a warrant. However, there is also a limit to this right as one may be engaging in unlawful behavior and using this as an excuse. Therefore, the constitution will not offer protection to anyone who is suspected of criminal behavior such as drug trafficking and human trafficking.
As much as the constitutional law guarantees rights to specific individuals, it is clear that there is a need for restrictions in specific cases where the results of exercising the rights may cause harm to others. This is why the Constitution does not always protect people or groups, as some may be misusing their rights to cause harm or destruction to the community.
Epstein, Lee and Thomas, Walker. Constitutional Law for a Changing America. (2016): 191-420.
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