conventional IRL law you usually do not talk about rights.
I don't know where you live, but that's definitely *not* the case in,
say, the United States. In the United States, rights are a very
important part of law. In fact, the United States was founded based
upon the philosophical foundation that the *purpose* of law is to
protect people's rights. That's why the US Constitution has a "Bill
of Rights" that state, in no uncertain terms, that people have
certain rights that the government may not infringe upon. Most cases
that make it to the Supreme Court are concerned with what rights
people have and how those rights conflict or interact.
Again IANAL but I believe you are right. But for normal trials in the
US, is the constitution really involved? If you do something that the
normal law does not forbid, but that the US Constitution doesn't
guarantee your right to do, can the judicial system then decide
whether doing so is legal or illegal?
That depends. First off, the US Constitution (specifically, the Ninth
Amendment) says that you have certain government-protected rights
above and beyond what the Constitution specifically protects. One
example that the courts have upheld is the "right to privacy", which
allows you to buy contraceptives, have an abortion, or have sex with
men without governmental interference.
So yes, in general, under US law you have the right to do anything as
long as you aren't committing a crime or a tort. You can't be
convicted of something that isn't expressly prohibited. (Where rights
come in is like this: if there's a law prohibiting having sex with
men, and you're convicted of it, you can take it to an appeals court,
and the court can decide that your constitutional right to privacy
invalidates the law against having sex with men.)
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