The rights we hold as American citizens and as human beings shape the way that we interact with the world. Given this, you might imagine that limitation of these rights never benefits you. However, limiting rights can grant a number of advantages to an entire community.
In order to understand the benefits and risks of limiting rights, you should first learn more about exactly what individual rights involved and which documents explain these rights in more detail.
What Are Individual Rights?
Some might say that the idea of individual rights distinctly fits American ideals. One reason people make this claim is that the American Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This quote creates the backbone of American society and the rights each citizen enjoys.
Many countries establish similar rights for their own citizens as well. These declarations ensure that no other person or organization can take away a person’s granted rights. However, some exceptions may exist—these are called limitations.
The Bill Of Rights
The Bill of Rights enumerates many of the essential rights that individual citizens in America hold. This document serves as an add-on to the US Constitution; America’s founders created the bill to guarantee certain protections specifically for individuals, since the Constitution itself mainly discussed the powers that the government held. The original Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791, included 10 amendments to the Constitution.
Throughout America’s history, lawmakers have added more. Certain new amendments abolished slavery and gave Black people and women the right to vote. The Constitution currently includes 27 amendments. While these amendments were enacted for the purpose of creating a fairer and more robust society, some situations do still necessitate that important rights are temporarily limited for the greater good. This is not to say, however, that all instances of limitation are justified or even legal.
The Advantages Of Limitation
In some scenarios, the government restricts a person’s individual rights. These situations typically include some type of threat to the general public welfare. In other words, if your exercising of a certain right in some way poses a risk of harm to society as a whole, an officer or court official may determine that you are not permitted to exercise that right in that scenario.
The fourth amendment, for example, grants the right to refuse unreasonable search and seizure. The government may limit this right in the case of reasonable suspicion that something you possess is illegal or potentially threatening to others. If a police officer suspects that someone may be collecting guns in order to initiate a public attack, limiting that particular person’s rights is advantageous to other citizens.
The Disadvantages Of Limitation
Public good often necessitates the limitation of certain rights, but limitation can have its own set of disadvantages. One such disadvantage is that government officials often determine which rights to limit in the case of trials or arrests, and the public may not always have an immediate say. Since the government decides on limitation, situations may arise in which the government or a public official claims to limit a right for the public good, but others disagree, asserting that the limitation was not justified.
For this reason, issues such as illegal detainment by police officers and other problems can arise that exceed mere limitation and enter into direct violations of one’s rights. In these cases, it is possible for the affected party to pursue legal action; however, understanding how to do so with the assistance of a lawyer is often the last thing on their minds as they come to terms with a stressful and overwhelming situation.
If you believe that your rights have been unjustly limited such that your civil or human liberties were directly violated, it is important that you reach out for legal counsel as soon as possible after the event occurred. Justice is possible.
Trust The Professionals To Offer Legal Assistance When Defending Your Rights
Understanding how your rights as a human, a citizen or a resident of the United States are impacted by temporary limitations can feel overwhelming and leave you with questions about whether the way that you have been treated was legal or appropriate.
This is why attorneys like those at The Brown Firm work with individuals to defend their rights and help them to understand when their liberties have been improperly violated. Reach out to learn more about whether your situation qualifies for a lawsuit or to schedule a consultation with an attorney.