The US Constitution Brought to Life

As a fifteen year old, Heidi Schreck’s favorite amendment was the Ninth—not at the top of most people’s lists; indeed, not even on most people’s lists. The Ninth is a kind of catch-all, providing that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Schreck likes it because it suggests we have rights not expressly set forth in the document—such as the rights to brush your teeth, or to have an imaginary friend, she points out. But for the grown-up Schreck, the Ninth Amendment signals possibility, the hope and expectation that rights not explicitly enumerated in the founding document might nevertheless be recognized as the nation and constitutional law evolve.

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