What is the relationship between the Bill of Rights and the Constitution? How does the Bill of Rights apply to the states?
The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are essentially the same document. However, the Bill of Rights serves as a particular section of the Constitution has a whole. The first ten amendments of the Constitution is what is referred to as the Bill of Rights. It is referred to as this because it serves as the primary, most basic guarantees of liberty to every human being. This, from the founders, was understood to be the foundational, unalienable rights of all people, and not simply those people in the United States. The Bill of Rights, which consists of the most commonly recognized rights of the American citizen (the first and second amendments seem to be the most well-known, and perhaps the most sacred, depending upon whom one talks to about any given issue). The primary reason that the Bill of Rights exists as it does is much in part to the Anti-Federalists, who in fearing the potential power corruption incubated by a federalist system, desired an explicit, spelled-out statement of the rights of every American. With the Bill of Rights, this was achieved, continuing to stand as the cornerstone of the American democracy to this day.
The Bill of Rights exists as a federal standard of liberty and protections of the citizen, but in its application at a state level, the Bill of Rights becomes more convoluted. Technically, the Bill of Rights does not have to apply through any given state government. This is because it is a federal “bill,” so to speak, and it was cited as not needing to be applied to the states because it was an Anti-Federalist addition to the Constitution (meaning that it had the individual states’ best interest in mind anyway). However, the 14th Amendment changed the way in which the Bill of Rights was applied in the states because this amendment introduced the idea of the due process clause, and along with it selective incorporation. This means that, through the due process clause, the Bill of Rights, for the most part, is uniformly applied throughout the states. This however does not always apply in the case of the Fifth Amendment, dealing with indictments through grand jury.