It has been called a dead letter, an inkblot, the most important amendment in the Constitution. Although the Ninth Amendment was ratified in 1791, its history and purpose are contested to this day. It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” But what does this mean? How have the courts interpreted it? What does it say about the role of government in protecting our rights?

Three distinguished law professors, Laurence H. Tribe, Randy E. Barnett, and Michael W. McConnell, take on these questions and more in Retained by the People.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker. 

Follow Professor Laurence H. Tribe: @TribeLaw

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Follow Professor Randy E. Barnett: @RandyEBarnett

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Follow Professor Michael W. McConnell: @StanfordConLaw

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Related Links & Differing views:

Judge Michael McConnell delivers fourth annual Hayek lecture [NYU Law]

The Ninth Amendment: It Means What It Says [Georgetown University Law Center]

The Ninth Amendment in Light of Text and History  [Cato Supreme Court Review]

Dissenting from Natural Rights Nationalism: A Reply to Randy Barnett [Law & Liberty]

Reconceiving the Ninth Amendment [Georgetown Law]