The Balancing Act
Let’s dive deeper into the idea of the safety of society versus individual rights that we have highlighted throughout this unit review.
The Supreme Court ⚖️ has aimed to create a balance by creating laws and regulations in order to preserve individual freedoms and public order and safety.
The Eighth Amendment is an example of this balance ⚖. This amendment states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
The cruel and unusual punishment clause is a clause that is most common. This clause has much debate when regarding the death penalty because of the polarized opinions 👊 on both sides.
While the courts have set limits on when the death penalty can be applied, it has upheld the constitutionality of it and has made it easier for states to carry out the death penalty by limiting the number of appeals allowed.
The Fourth Amendment, which limits the power of the government to search for criminal activity, is another example.
It provides the right of people and their belongings to be secure in their homes against unreasonable search and seizure.
There must be probable cause before the judge can issue a search warrant 📑, which limits where the police 🚓 can search and take evidence. When these rules are not followed, the evidence that is found may not be allowed in the trial because of the exclusionary rule 🙅🏻, a rule that prohibits the use of illegally obtained evidence.