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US history The 9 Most Frequently Ignored Parts of the US Constitution  

Barbara Gaston
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It may be the law of the land, but the US Constitution is still often ignored, whether it be by the federal and state governments or, worst of all, the people themselves. Parts of the Constitution have ended up breezed past again and again.

Sometimes, Constitutional meaning isn't clear. Other times, someone would just rather not adhere to a particular sections of clause. Fortunately, issues such as these have improved over the past 200+ years as the Supreme Court has clarified what certain portions mean. That said, there are parts of the United States Constitution still have problems. This is a list of the sections of the Constitution that have been swept aside, forgotten, or conveniently ignored.
1

Preamble of the Bill of Rights


It's ironic. While the preamble of the Constitution has gained considerable fame, "We the People...", the preamble of the Bill of Rights is often completely skipped over. So, why is it important? Because it specifically states what the Bill of Rights are actually for. Namely, they exist to protect the American people should the US federal government ever go bad. No joke. With this in mind, the Bill of Rights suddenly has context and makes a lot more sense. How do you protect a group of people from a malicious government? Well-- You protect the people's ability to communicate, you keep them armed, you keep soldiers out of their homes, you protect their right to privacy, as well as their right to a fair trial; plus, you grant them the ability to have other rights and grant the State governments some power. Generally speaking, we just listed the complete Bill of Rights. When we look at the uprisings in the Middle-East, we can easily see how important free communication, arms, privacy, and a fair judiciary system are for fighting off tyranny.
2

Article 1, Section 8


"Congress shall have power to... declare war." Hey, remember the last time Congress declared war? I don't, because I wasn't alive in the 1940's, which is the last time they did it. The United States has declared war five times (War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II). Beyond that, Congress has also authorized funding for many conflicts, including Vietnam, but stopped at all out war. On at least 125 occasions though, the President of the US has acted without any prior authorization from congress. Today, Article 1, Section 8 is assisted by what is known as the "War Powers Resolution", established in the 70's. Unfortunately many President's have been known to ignore this resolution as well.
3

5th Amendment


Namely, the rights of the accused. More specifically, you're right to stay silent and not incriminate yourself. Even more specifically-- "Shut the hell up!" Turn on any episode of "COPS" and you'll find the Fifth Amendment being ignored by the people. Worse, the police are required by law to remind you of it when they arrest you. Yet there you see people blathering on about what they did and why. What's interesting about this portion of the Constitution is everyone seems to know about it, but actively chooses to ignore it-- Almost as if to say, "Silence? Nah, watch this! I can totally get ouf of trouble with my verbal wit!" This image invariably jumps to that same person sitting in prison.
4

4th Amendment


Protection from search and seizure. It's not so much that this right is ignored, as much as people are convinced or intimidated into giving it up. "Mind if I search your trunk?" "No, officer. Go right ahead." Right there, you just gave up your Fourth Amendment rights. But like I said, most people are too scared to stand firm, or don't want to deal with the hassle of annoying a law enforcement officer. Admittedly, through the eyes of the police, the Fourth Amendment can be a huge inconvenience when conducting an investigation. This is why they are trained how to legally get around it: namely, by convincing you to give it up. Don't.