Background

Having successfully won their independence from a British monarchy and Parliament that they had accused of being undemocratic and tyrannical, the Framers of the federal Constitution had a strong mistrust of large, centralized governments. The Framers drafted the Bill of Rights, consisting of the Constitution’s first ten amendments, to serve as a bulwark delineating a range of individual freedoms and thus protecting them from governmental abuse. Laws enacted, implemented, or enforced by governmental officials that infringe on these freedoms are typically invalidated as unconstitutional by the judiciary.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enumerates five distinct individual freedoms: (1) the right to be indicted by an impartial grand jury before being tried for a federal criminal offense; (2) the right to be free from multiple prosecutions or multiple punishments for a single criminal offense; (3) the right to have individual freedoms protected by due process of law; (4) the right to be free from government compelled self-incrimination; and (5) the right to receive just compensation when the government takes private property for public use.


Inside Background