The idea of natural rights has been a prominent current throughout the history of the American legal system. A number of the so called founding documents of the United States even explicitly reference natural, or inalienable rights that belong to every person simply due to their status as a human being. This idea raises an interesting question as to the status of those natural rights that are not explicitly defined in American jurisprudence, and if those rights exist to what extent do they extend to, and have an influence on, the average citizen.
The founders of the American constitution wanted to make sure that those rights and privileges granted in the founding documents weren’t exclusive (in the sense that only those rights that were listed would be granted to the people.) That idea is made clear in the text of the 9th amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” That is to say that all of those complex and arcane legal arguments originally written in the constitution are not the totality of legal protections that are afforded to the people and protected from government interference.
However simple this phrase might appear it has a profound impact on the interpretation and adjudication process in the minds of judges. If there is an extant authority that isn’t explicitly defined in the law of the land then what is there to stop a judge from deciding the basis of some case not based on the facts before them, but rather on some intangible right they insist individuals retain?
 Staff, LII. “Ninth Amendment.” LII / Legal Information Institute. February 05, 2010. Accessed November 15, 2017. https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/ninth_amendment
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