The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
If I were to put this right in common language today. Just because this constitution lists certain rights clearly this is not to be construed as to deny or disparage other rights of the people who are not listed or stated clearly. In short there are a lot of other rights the people have and just because the constitution does not list them, it does not mean that the government has the right to deny them or limit them.
I have stated throughout this series that the founders were much more concerned with limiting the power of government to interfere with the rights of the citizen. This is the clearest statement of this fact. The founders wanted it to be made clear that when the rights of the citizen ran into conflict with the laws of the government, the government should lose every time. Government is really very much for very specific purposes but one thing they were strictly to be limited in was not to take or interfere with the exercise of individual rights even if those rights were not clearly listed. Government is more for when those rights might come into conflict and to protect those rights from threats both foreign and domestic.
Someone might yell at this amendment as being necessary but for instance the right to vote is not clearly stated or the right to drive a car. Without this amendment it might be construed that such rights could be removed by the government or severely restricted. In addition, look at the rights that have been stated and how people have challenged them over the years. The fact we have this amendment allows us to at least argue that certain things are rights and the government does not have the authority to take them away because they belong to the people.
The history of this was an argument between the founders who were federalists and the Antifederalists. The Antifederalists wanted a Bill of Rights but the federalists argued that such rights were already assumed and it was unnecessary. The Antifederalists argued that the one sure thing history taught was government got bigger and took away rights from the people unless those rights were clearly stated. Better to list some and have that protected then have none of them protected. This amendment was to clearly state there were other rights that are not stated but they were still not to be revoked or limited by the government.
Looking at history I am glad to the Antifederalists won that argument. Looking at how the rights of the Bill of Rights have been challenged I can’t imagine what would have happened if such rights had not been clearly stated. The fact that this amendment exists really upsets me that other rights seem to be treated so poorly as well. if the constitution protects rights not even stated, then the rights stated should have been even more of a hands off principle in effect by the government. Now. looking at things there are a whole bunch of laws that could be argued to be unconstitutional and rightly so. The point is to ere on the side of liberty for the citizen not on the power of government to control.