Political Trust & Distrust 15

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Without adequate and guaranteed minority rights for everyone, it is hard to trust the majority not to take power permanently – at the cost of minority liberty and happiness. Providing all citizens with adequate, guaranteed political and civil rights will reduce a majority’s ability to repress minority groups.  Examples include the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the US Constitution) along with the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments, the Civil Rights Act (1964), and the Voting Rights Act (1965).

Legislators need minority party rights. The political entrenchment of a majority is possible through the legislative process. Winner-takes-all rules concerning control of the legislative agenda and key committees are two examples.. The nation is especially vulnerable in this regard because the Constitution does not require legislative minority rights. Instead, Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2, simply allows Congress to set its own rules. 

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Image: The Bill of Rights. Library of Congress.

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