The purpose of a bill of rights is to give fundamental legal status to civil and personal liberties and place limits on the exercise of governmental power. New York’s tradition of liberty has its roots in the common law and in documents such as the Charter of Liberties and Privileges of 1683 and its successor charter of 1691. Though a formal bill of rights was not added to the New York Constitution until 1821, the 1777 constitution contained a number of provisions concerning rights (Const. 1777, Arts. XIII, XXXIV, XXXV, XXXVIII, and XLI), and the legislature...
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