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The Incorporation Doctrine Essay, Research Paper

The Incorporation Doctrine

The Incorporation Doctrine was devised by the Supreme Court to apply the state rights that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights. This is to ensure that the individual states are not by-passing the Bill of Rights in their decision making process. Although our forefathers predestined our government to stay small the Supreme Court recognized that the states should not be allowed to become too large either. It reiterates our desire to keep a series of checks and balances not only with our National government, but also with our individual states.

There are several Supreme Court cases, which show the transgression of the Bill of Rights as they are extended to the states. The forerunner of all the cases is Barron v. Baltimore. This case centered on a businessman s desire to keep the city of Baltimore from constructing a wharf that would interfere with his dry-docking business. Although the decision was made to allow the city to build this wharf, the error of their ways would be seen down the road.

In Gitlow v. New York the Court decided that a state government must abide by some the First Amendment rights. The Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1968 declared No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Although many of the court decisions that made the Bill of Rights strong seemed contentious, it still reinforces our freedoms, so the states and local governments, and last but certainly not least, our national government cannot infringe upon our basic rights as citizens of this great nation.

As we move on past the Gitlow case, we still notice that only parts of the First Amendment are binding on the states. During Earl Warren s period in office as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court a gradual trend towards applying most of the Bill of Rights to the states. One by one Samuel Krislov stated the provisions of the Bill of Rights have been held to apply to the states, not in their own right, but as implicit in the Fourteenth Amendments. Today only the Second, Third, and Seventh Amendments, and the grand jury requirement of the Fifth Amendment, are the only ones not in force by the individual states today.

The Incorporation Doctrine insures us of our Bill of Rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution of the United States of America. To infringe upon these rights would be a grave injustice to the forefathers of our nation, and to the people of our nation. If the Supreme Court can continue to interpret the Constitution and the Amendments the way that the authors intended it is very possible that the constitution can endure another two hundred years. If this is not possible what names will we see on our next Declaration of Independence?


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