why do only some of the Bill of Rights apply to the states but not all? I thought the bill of rights was for the people, regardless of federal or state arenas

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why do only some of the Bill of Rights apply to the states but not all? I thought the bill of rights was for the people, regardless of federal or state arenas

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The Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to the Constitution and therefore the law of the land. It applies to everyone in U.S. territory.

Can you be more specific or give an example of something in the bill of rights and where you think it doesn’t apply?

Originally, the Bill of Rights didn’t apply to the states at all. This changed with the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the development of what is called the Incorporation Doctrine. The Supreme Court “incorporated” each right against the state and local governments as those governments were sued over them.

This process has taken decades because the courts can’t rule on whether (x) applies to the states unless a state gets sued over (x). The Third Amendment, for example, still isn’t fully incorporated.

Initially, the Bill of Rights only applied to the Federal Government, and the states had no obligation to follow it. The constitution only controlled the federal government.

When the 14th amendment passed, it extended the rules down to the states too. The Supreme Court agreed, but only selectively enforced them. More here:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/incorporation_doctrine#:~:text=Overview,applies%20both%20substantively%20and%20procedurally

Your question is a good reason why the 14th Amendment was/is viewed by many legal scholars/historians as such a revolutionary change to the Constitution and to the country.

Despite this, the post-Reconstruction era still saw SCOTUS be reluctant to enforce civil rights protections.

In the case of the First Amendment, it actually says ”Congress shall make no law” doing those things, so by its own terms, it could not be applied to the states. For the rest, it’s less clear, but the courts of the day took a small view of federal power over the states.