- Slides: 10
Civil Liberties Chapter 19
Unalienable Rights The Constitution could not have been written without a general listing of the rights of the people. These rights are found in the first ten amendments: Known as the Bill of Rights
Rights vs. Liberties The national Constitution guarantees both rights and liberties to the American people. Civil Rights = Positive acts of government that make the constitutional guarantees a reality for all people. (Prohibitions of Discrimination) Civil Liberties = Protection against government actions. (Religion, Speech, Fair Trial)
Limited Government Rights are relative not absolute – While everyone has guaranteed rights no one has the right to infringe upon the rights of others. Everyone has the right to free speech but you can be punished for using obscene language. Schenk v. United States – The strictest protection of free speech would not protect a man who falsely shouts fire in a theater causing a panic.
14 th Amendment Due Process Clause – No State shall deprive any person life, liberty, or property without due process of the law. The Supreme Court has held to the position that “persons” covers aliens as well as citizens.
Establishment Clause The Constitution gives two guarantees of religious freedom: 1 st Amendment – prohibits the establishment of a religion by the government and government cannot interfere in the free exercise thereof. The Supreme Court has ruled that public schools cannot sponsor religious programs, but they cannot deny individuals from praying or studying the Bible as a literary or historical document.
Lemon Test The Supreme Court applies a three part rule to decide if it violates the 1 st amendment: 1) Aid given to a school must be clearly secular. 2) Its effect must not advance or inhibit religion. 3) It must avoid excessive entanglement of gov’t and religion.
Freedom of Speech and the Press Free speech and press serve two purposes: 1) Each person has the right in spoken or written word to express themselves. 2) Everyone can debate concerning public affairs. There are exceptions: Libel = False and malicious use of printed words. Slander = Same as Libel only in spoken words. Seditious Speech = The advocating of overthrowing the government by force.
Obscenities The Courts have established a three part test to determine if something is obscene: 1) Does the average person applying “contemporary standards” find the work to excite lust. 2) A work depicts or describes sexual conduct in an offensive way. 3) The work lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
Symbolic Speech Symbolic speech is people communicating ideas by actions rather than words. One controversial idea is that of burning the flag: In Texas v. Johnson the courts decided that punishment for burning the flag dilutes the freedom that the emblem represents.