Constitutional rights are the protections and liberties guaranteed to the people by the U.S. Constitution. Many of these rights are outlined in the Bill of Rights; such as the right to free speech in the First Amendment, and the right to a speedy and public trial in the Sixth Amendment. Even though these rights are expressly stated, their scope and proper implementation remains the subject of debate. As such, a large quantity of case law revolving around the application of constitutional rights has developed.
Additionally, not all rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are explicitly stated within. Some are implied or unenumerated, like the right to privacy. These unenumerated rights are established in case law. For example, the first instance of a constitutional right to privacy comes from the seminal case Griswold v. Connecticut.
[Last updated in August of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]