Simple English definitions for legal terms

fundamental right

Read a random definition: Merit Systems Protection Board

A quick definition of fundamental right:

A fundamental right is a special type of right that the government must protect very carefully. These rights are either listed in the Constitution or have been found by the Supreme Court to be very important. Examples of fundamental rights include the right to get married, the right to privacy, and the right to vote. If the government wants to make a law that affects a fundamental right, they have to be very careful and make sure the law is really necessary. Sometimes, the Supreme Court changes its mind about what counts as a fundamental right, like when they decided that the right to make private contracts was no longer a fundamental right.

A more thorough explanation:

Fundamental rights are a group of rights that are considered very important and are protected from government interference by the Supreme Court. These rights are either specifically listed in the Constitution or have been found under Due Process. Laws that go against fundamental rights are usually closely examined to make sure they are constitutional.

These examples illustrate how fundamental rights can cover a wide range of areas, from personal freedoms like speech and religion to more practical matters like travel and custody of children. These rights are considered important enough to be protected from government interference.

Even if the Supreme Court recognizes something as a fundamental right, it can later change its mind and revoke that status. For example, the right to make private contracts was once considered a fundamental right, but the Court later changed its position on this.

Overall, fundamental rights are an important part of American law and are designed to protect individual freedoms from government interference.

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