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The Ninth Amendment

By Roger Wall

The nebulous Ninth Amendment reads as follows: 

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain Rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” 

Over the years, this Amendment has been said to mean everything, while others state that it stands for nothing.  This Amendment does not emanate from the Magna Carta.  

Most legal scholars point out that the 9th Amendment, as mentioned in “The Federalist Papers” means that the people retain other fundamental rights even though they are not specially mentioned in the Constitution.  

Lying in the wake of this somewhat vaguely worded Amendment are three major cases.  

The first Supreme Court case is Griswald  vs.  Conn (1965). The Court definitively ruled that “as a right of privacy,” contraceptive use shall not be regulated by government, except in rare circumstances.   

Next comes the 1973 famous case of Roe  vs. Wade where government was restricted in most circumstances from interfering with the abortion process.  Of course, this case, like a lot of others, has divided the nation into two equal opposing camps. 

Many anti-abortionists hold out hope for a constitutional amendment banning the process. Forget that. The Constitution makes it all but impossible for an amendment to succeed, unless there is broad bi-partisan support in 38 states and well over half of Congress. The founders intentionally, and most believe, wisely so, desired to make it very difficult to amend their Constitution.  

There may be further encroachments on the subject of abortion by the Supreme Court. However, maybe only once every generation, the Court will throw out legal precedent. But it is rare. A good example is Plessey  vs. Ferguson, which was decided over 50 years prior to Brown  vs.  Topeka Board of Education (1954).  In this landmark case, the Court possibly bowed to public pressure and overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine regarding the public education of Afro-American children.     

The final case worth discussing is the Casey decision in 1992 in which the Supreme Court invalidated the rule that spousal approval was necessary before a women could obtain an abortion. 

Note: (Feb. 4) –– This warmer weather has me itching for spring. How bout you? But don’t get too excited. .   

Well, we lost another great Ozark character to the ages. The eloquent pastor (and I understand a fine hairdresser in her day), Freeda Holt has passed on. 

Of course, Freeda was married at one time to the famous fiddling icon of Mid-America, Bob Holt. Bob has been gone for several years, but whenever I see his good friend Alvie Dooms picking, I associate him with a grinning and fiddling Bob Holt. They were close friends and excellent musicians, and often played together over the years.

Freeda was always kind and generous to me and my children. Of course, she was their great aunt. Here’s how. 

Emert Lambert, Freeda’s brother, a Korean war veteran (the kids’ grandfather deceased at age 41) was married to their grandmother, Una (Pendergrass) Uhlmann, who also recently died.  Una was one of 21 children raised on Bryant Creek during hard times. 

And Freeda’s parents were also well-known. Her mother Lilly (Freeman) Lambert loved parakeets and could do a pretty good jig dance to nearly any old-time music. Her father, Clark Lambert, was once featured in a National Geographic article about the Ozarks. Clark was a master in the trade of making and selling some of the finest fishing and frogging gigs in the hills.        

Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!