Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Short essay assignment

The way these essay assignments work is that you read the assigned chapters of the textbook and then you write your essay on the posted 2 questions (no more or no less than one full page on each question).You need to read the assigned chapters of the textbook carefully before you write your essay1. Describe the checks and balances on the powers of the three branches of American government. 2. Describe the differences
between unitary, con-federal and federal systems of government and
explain why the United States system of government is preferred.i have uploaded the chapter outline for this homework

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Chapter 4 Civil Liberty
The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights comes from the colonists’ fear of a tyrannical government.
Recognizing this fear, the Federalists agreed to amend the Constitution to include
a Bill of Rights after the Constitution was ratified. The Bill of Rights places
limitations on the government, thus protecting citizens’ civil liberties.
A. Extending the Bill of Rights to State Governments. As we have seen,
federalism divides power between the national government and the state
governments. While the Bill of Rights protected the people from the national
government, it did not protect the people from state governments. In 1868 the
Fourteenth Amendment became a part of the Constitution. While this
amendment did not mention the Bill of Rights, it would be interpreted to
impose, step-by-step, most of the Constitutional protections of civil liberties
upon state governments during the twentieth century.
B. Incorporation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Beginning in 1925 the United
States Supreme Court began to apply specific rights stated in the Bill of Rights
to state governments. Table 4-1 in the text lists the incorporation of the specific
rights. However, not all of the rights have been applied to state governments
at this time (e.g., the Second Amendment).
Freedom of Religion
The First Amendment addresses the issue of religion from two different venues:
(1) “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and
(2) “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Congress is prohibited from
passing laws that establish governmental involvement in religion, and Congress is
prohibited from passing laws that deny people the right to practice their religious
A. The Establishment Clause— The Separation of Church and State. The
establishment clause is the part of the First Amendment prohibiting the
establishment of a church officially supported by the national government.
1. Aid to Church-Related Schools. In general, such aid is ruled out by the
establishment clause; however, the Supreme Court has permitted aid in
limited cases.
2. School Vouchers. One ongoing controversy regarding the establishment
clause is the issue of whether school vouchers can be used for religious
schools. Some states’ attempts at education reform include granting student
vouchers that can be used at any public or private school, including
religious schools. The Supreme Court has ruled that this is permissible.
Nonetheless, some state courts have held that vouchers violate state laws.
The Issue of School Prayer—Engel v. Vitale. The Supreme Court has ruled
that officially sponsored prayer in schools violates the establishment clause.
4. The Debate over School Prayer Continues. However, the court has allowed
school districts to have a moment of silence when such an event is
conducted as a secular rather than religious occasion.
5. Prayer outside the Classroom. The Supreme Court has ruled that students
in public schools cannot use a school’s public address system to pray at
sporting events. In spite of this, students in some districts (especially in the
South) deliberately violate the ruling, or use radio broadcasts to circumvent
the Court’s decision.
6. The Ten Commandments. A live issue is whether posting the Ten
Commandments in school classrooms or other public buildings violates the
establishment clause. The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that a granite
monument on the grounds of the Texas state capitol that contained the
commandments was constitutional because the monument as a whole was
secular in nature.
7. Forbidding the Teaching of Evolution. The courts have interpreted the
establishment clause to mean that no state can ban the teaching of evolution
or require the teaching of “creationism.”
8. Religious Speech. Public schools and colleges cannot place restrictions on
religious organizations that are not also placed on nonreligious ones.
B. The Free Exercise Clause. The free exercise clause guarantees the free exercise
of religion by constraining the national government from prohibiting
individuals from practicing the religion of their choice. Yet the Supreme Court
has allowed for some restraint on free exercise when religious practices
interfere with public policy. Examples of this include the ability of school
districts to select texts for students, and the requirement of vaccinations for
school enrollment.
1. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Passed by Congress in 1993, the
act required all levels of government to “accommodate religious conduct”
unless there was a compelling reason to do otherwise. In 1997, the Supreme
Court ruled the act unconstitutional.
2. Free Exercise in the Public Schools. Under the No Child Left Behind act of
2002, schools can be denied federal funds if they ban constitutionally
acceptable expressions of religion.
Freedom of Expression
The First Amendment is not an absolute bar against legislation by Congress
concerning speech. The First Amendment protects most speech, but some speech
either falls outside the protection of the First Amendment or has only limited
No Prior Restraint. This is, in effect, censorship by restraining an activity
before the activity actually occurred. Only on rare occasions has the
government been allowed to stop the press from printing anything. If the
publication violates a law, the law can be invoked only after publication.
The Protection of Symbolic Speech. Signs, gestures, articles of clothing, and
other nonverbal expressive conduct that convey meaning are constitutionally
protected speech. Controversially, this includes the act of burning the
American flag.
The Protection of Commercial Speech. Advertisements have limited First
Amendment protection. Restrictions must directly meet a substantial
government interest and go no further than necessary to meet the objective.
Advertisers can be liable for factual inaccuracies in ways that do not apply to
noncommercial speech.
Permitted Restrictions on Expression.
1. Clear and Present Danger. During the twentieth century, the Supreme
Court has allowed laws that restrict speech that allegedly would cause
harm to the public. The restrictions were principally imposed on advocates
of revolution. The original test, established in 1919, was the clear and present
danger test.
2. Modifications to the Clear and Present Danger Rule. In 1925, the
government received great power to restrict speech through the Court’s
enunciation of the bad tendency rule. In 1951, however, the Court introduced
the grave and probable danger rule, which was somewhat harder for the
government to meet. The current rule, established in 1969, is the incitement
test. This test allows restrictions on speech only when the speech is an
immediate incitement to illegal action. This test, for the first time,
guaranteed free speech to advocates of revolution.
Unprotected Speech: Obscenity
1. Definitional Problems. The current definition stems from 1973. Material is
obscene if 1) the average person finds it violates community standards, 2)
the work as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex, 3) the work shows
patently offensive sexual conduct, and 4) the work lacks serious literary,
artistic, political, or scientific merit.
2. Protecting Children. The government can ban private possession of child
pornography, that is, photographs of actual children engaging in sexual
3. Pornography on the Internet. Congress has made many attempts to shield
minors from pornography on the Internet. Most of these efforts have been
found unconstitutional, including bans on virtual pornography, which
involves digitally rendered images of children engaging in sexual activity.
The Supreme Court upheld, though, an act requiring public schools and
libraries to install filtering software to prevent children from viewing
“adult” content.
F. Unprotected Speech: Slander. One type of speech that falls outside the
protection of the First Amendment is slander: statements that are false and are
intended to defame the character of another.
G. Student Speech.
1. Public High School Students
2. Student Activity Fees. Colleges may distribute such funds among student
groups even when groups espouse beliefs that some students would reject.
3. Campus Speech and Behavior Codes. These codes are designed to prohibit
hate speech, which attacks people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, or
other criteria. The courts have generally found such codes to be
unconstitutional, but many continue to exist.
H. Hate Speech on the Internet. Restrictions on such speech exist in other
countries, but not in the United States.
Freedom of the Press
Freedom of the press is similar to freedom of speech.
A. Defamation in Writing. Key concept: libel, a written defamation of character.
Public figures, public officials or other persons known to the public because of
their position or activities, must meet higher standards than ordinary people to
win a libel suit.
B. A Free Press versus a Fair Trial: Gag Orders. The courts have occasionally
ruled that gag orders, orders issued by a judge restricting the publication of
news about a trial or pretrial hearing, may be used to protect the accused’s
right to a fair trial. To this end, the courts have said that the right of a
defendant to a fair trial supersedes the right of the public to “attend” the trial.
C. Films, Radio, and TV. Although the press was limited to printed material
when the First Amendment was proposed, the press is no longer limited to just
the print media. Freedom of the press now includes other channels: films,
radio, and television. Broadcast radio and TV are not afforded the same
protection as the print media. Some language is not protected (filthy words)
even though the language is not obscene.
The Right to Assemble and to Petition the Government
The right to assemble and to petition the government is important to those who
want to communicate their ideas to others. The Supreme Court has held that state
and local governments cannot bar individuals from assembling. State and local
governments can require permits for such assembly so that order can be
maintained. However the government cannot be selective as to who receives the
Street Gangs. Some anti-loitering laws have passed constitutional muster;
others have not. Such laws cannot be vague.
B. Online Assembly. Certain Web sites advocate violence against physicians who
practice abortion. The limits to such “online assembly” remain an open
More Liberties Under Scrutiny: Matters of Privacy
There is no explicit Constitutional right to privacy, but rather the right to privacy is
an interpretation by the Supreme Court. The basis for this right comes from the
First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments. The right was established in
1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut.
A. Privacy Rights in an Information Age. Individuals have the right to see most
information that the government may hold on them.
B. Privacy Rights and Abortion. A major right-to-privacy issue is abortion rights.
1. Roe v. Wade. In Roe v. Wade (1973) the court held that governments could
not totally prohibit abortions because this violates a woman’s right to
privacy. Government action was limited depending on the stage of the
pregnancy: 1) first trimester—states may require that only a physician
perform the abortion. 2) Second trimester—to protect the health of the
mother, states may specify conditions under which the abortion can be
performed. 3) Third trimester—states may prohibit abortions. In later
rulings, the Court allowed bans on government funds being used for
abortions. It also allowed laws that require pre-abortion counseling, a 24hour waiting period, and for women under 18, parental or judicial
2. Protests at Abortion Clinics. The Court has approved various limits on
protests outside abortion clinics. A current issue is “partial birth abortion,”
or “intact dilation and extraction,” a second-trimester procedure. State
governments and Congress have attempted to ban the procedure, but so
far, all bans have been ruled unconstitutional.
C. Privacy Rights and the Right to Die. In Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department
of Health (1997), the Supreme Court decided that a patient’s life support could
be withdrawn at the request of a family member if there was “clear and
convincing evidence” that the patient did not want the treatment. This has led
to the popularity of “living wills.”
1. What If There Is No Living Will? For married persons, the spouse is the
relative with authority in this matter.
2. Physician-Assisted Suicide. The Supreme Court has said that the
Constitution does not include a right to commit suicide. This decision left
states much leeway to legislate on this issue. Since that decision in 1997,
only the state of Oregon has legalized physician-assisted suicide.
Privacy Rights versus Security Issues. Privacy rights have taken on particular
importance since September 11, 2001.
1. The USA Patriot Act eased restrictions on the government’s ability to
investigate and arrest suspected terrorists.
2. Civil Liberties and the Patriot Act allowed, for the first time, the
government to open a suspect’s mail and expand the government’s ability to
search a suspected terrorist’s home and monitor a suspect’s Internet activities,
phone conversations, and financial records. Opponents argue such rules may
violate a number of constitutional amendments.
3. Secret Surveillance and monitoring, using wire taps, without obtaining
warrants were allowed.
VII. The Great Balancing Act: The Rights of the Accused Versus the Rights of Society
A. Rights of the Accused. In the United States when the government accuses an
individual of committing a crime, the individual is presumed to be innocent
until proven guilty.
The Bill of Rights sets forth specific rights of the accused:
1. Fourth Amendment
a. No unreasonable or unwarranted search or seizure.
b. No arrest except on probable cause.
2. Fifth Amendment
a. No coerced confessions.
b. No compulsory self-incrimination.
c. No double jeopardy.
3. Sixth Amendment
a. Legal counsel.
b. Informed of charges.
c. Speedy and public jury trial.
d. Impartial jury by one’s peers.
4. Eighth Amendment
a. Reasonable bail.
b. No cruel or unusual punishment.
When the Bill of Rights was enacted, these restrictions were only applicable to
the national government. The Fourteenth Amendment eventually made these
rights applicable to state governments. Most of these interpretations have
occurred in the last half of the twentieth century and interpretation is an ongoing
process. The rights of the accused today are vastly different than the rights of the
accused before 1950.
B. Extending the Rights of the Accused. Today the conduct of police and
prosecutors is limited by various cases, including the right to an attorney if the
accused is incapable of affording one (Gideon v. Wainwright 1963).
Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda ruling requires the police to inform
suspects of their rights (Miranda v. Arizona 1966).
2. Exceptions to the Miranda Rule. These include a “public safety” exception,
a rule that illegal confessions need not bar a conviction if other evidence is
strong, and that suspects must claim their rights unequivocally.
3. Video Recording of Interrogations. In the future, such a procedure might
satisfy Fifth Amendment requirements.
C. The Exclusionary Rule. A judicial policy prohibiting the admission at trial of
illegally seized evidence (Mapp v. Ohio 1961).
VIII. The Death Penalty
A. Cruel and Unusual Punishment? The Eight Amendment prohibits “cruel and
unusual punishment.” Does the death punishment by the state violate the
cruel and unusual punishment clause? In the 1970s most state death penalty
statutes were found to be unconstitutional because of the inconsistent way
states were applying the death penalty. As states began to revise capital
punishment statutes, the Court held that the new laws were not a violation of
the Eighth Amendment.
B. The Death Penalty Today. Now 38 states and the federal government have
capital punishment laws.
C. Time Limits for Death Row Appeals. The 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act limit appeals from death row. Recently, DNA testing has led
to the freeing of about a hundred death row inmates who were wrongly
convicted, casting doubt on the death penalty.
A. What If…Roe v. Wade were Overturned? Can the Court declare a women’s
constitutionally protected right to privacy to include the right to have an
abortion? Why does abortion remain such a contentious topic for over 30
B. Politics and the War on Terrorism. Does one of the casualties of the war on
terrorism need to be the curtailment of civil liberties?
C. Beyond our Borders. The Bill of Rights prevents the government from
establishing a state religion. In other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the
bureaucracy enforces the state-sponsored religion and moral codes through the
religious police.
D. Which Side Are You On? As long as religious practices do not interfere with
the rights of others, they are legally acceptable in the United States.
Controversy ensues when government funding of religious accommodations
violates the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
Politics and Cybersphere. The Patriot Act became a powerful tool that gave
the FBI increased authority to spy on unsuspecting terrorists. It also forced
banks to disclose any unusual transactions.
F. Politics and the Death Penalty. The Supreme Court sited guidelines for
defense attorneys when trying death penalty cases and when reversing a trial
court’s imposition of the death penalty. Because of the high cost of these trials,
some states have set an hourly rate for the attorneys involved which has
created a shortage of lawyers handling these cases.
G. Why Should You Care About Civil Liberties? Even those who abide by the
law could be the subject, at some point, of a police stop, search, or
arrest. Knowing your civil liberties in these situations is vital. The police can
only search someone if they have a warrant. Citizens are within their rights to
calmly refuse a search in the absence of a warrant or to ask to examine the
warrant if one is provided. The American Civil Liberties Union monitors issues
surrounding the rights and obligations of citizens under the law.
Chapter 5 Civil Rights
Civil rights refer to those things that the government must do to provide equal
protection and freedom from discrimination for all citizens. Traditionally, we think of
civil rights as those rights rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
While the term “civil rights” goes back in history, early attempts at true protection were
unsuccessful because the Supreme Court believed that it was not within its purview to
stop non-governmental discrimination. Since the 1950s, the Supreme Court has held the
opposite view, thus enabling the government to offer broader protections to citizens’
equality in social and economic life.
African Americans and the Consequences of Slavery in the United States
A. Ending Servitude. With the passage of the Civil War amendments, slavery
and some of the problems slavery had created were abolished. 1) The
Thirteenth Amendment (1865) prohibits slavery within the United States. 2)
The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) established that all persons born in the
United States are citizens and no state shall deprive citizens of their rights
under the Constitution. 3) The Fifteenth Amendment (1870) established the
right of citizens to vote.
B. The Civil Rights Acts of 1865 to 1875. After passing the Civil War
amendments, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Acts of 1865–1875, which were
aimed at the southern states. These laws attempted to prevent states from
passing la …
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