Timelines connect to each of the articles and amendments in the Constitution as well as to topics, such as health care, energy and the environment, and women’s rights. Also available is an interactive in which judges explain the parts of the Sixth Amendment.
The Sixth Amendment provides rights and protections to people accused of crimes. These include the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; the right to be informed of the charges; the right to confront adverse witnesses, and the right to counsel.
The 14th Amendment granted U.S. citizenship to former slaves and contained three new limits on state power: a state shall not violate a citizen’s privileges or immunities; shall not deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and must guarantee all persons equal protection of the laws.
The Fifth Amendment addresses the right to a grand jury for serious federal criminal charges, protection against double jeopardy, the right against self-incrimination, the right to due process, and the takings clause.
The 20th Amendment moves the start of the president’s new term from March 4 to January 20. It also provides for succession plans if the newly elected president of vice president is unable to assume his or her position.
The 10th Amendment says that the federal government has only those powers specifically granted by the Constitution. These powers include the power to declare war, to collect taxes, to regulate interstate business activities and others that are listed in the articles. Any power not listed is left to the states or the people.
The suffrage movement leads to Congress’ approval of the 19th Amendment, which reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The Seventh Amendment extends the right to a jury trial to federal civil cases such as car accidents, disputes between corporations for breach of contract, or most discrimination or employment disputes.
The Sixth Amendment provides many protections and rights to a person accused of a crime. One right is to have his or her case heard by an impartial jury—independent people from the surrounding community who are willing to decide the case based only on the evidence.
The right of due process has grown in two directions: It affords individuals a right to a fair process (known as procedural due process) and a right to enjoy certain fundamental liberties without governmental interference (known as substantive due process). The Fifth Amendment’s due process clause applies to the federal government’s conduct. In 1868 the adoption of the 14th Amendment expanded the right of due process to include limits on the actions of state governments.
The Sixth Amendment right to “be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” is another protection meant to ensure that the accused receives a fair trail. A speedy, public trial that is heard by an impartial jury is meaningless if a defendant is left in the dark about exactly the crime with which he or she is charged.