- Slides: 39
CIVIL LIBERTIES Civil liberties are legal and constitutional rights that protect individuals from arbitrary (random) acts of government. Civil Liberties include freedom of speech, religion, and freedom of the press, the right to fair trail, the right to privacy etc.
CIVIL RIGHTS "civil rights" has traditionally revolved around the basic right to be free from unequal treatment based on certain protected characteristics (race, gender, disability, etc. ) in settings such as employment and housing.
• In the United States, the ideas of freedom and equality are fundamental principles are in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights • Initially women and African Americans were ignored • More recently Latinos, homosexuals, and people with disabilities have struggled for equal protection
• The Constitution was originally written with a specific number of restrictions on government authority. For example: the government could not grant titles • The Anti-Federalists objected to the absence of a Bill of Rights to protect the people
The Bill of Rights • The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution includes specific guarantees such as free speech, free press, and religion. • It was intended to limit the power of government “Congress shall make no laws …” • The proposed Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791.
The 14 th Amendment • In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment begins: "No state shall. . deprive any person, of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. " • There are two key clauses: 1. The Due Process Clause 2. The Equal Protection Clause
Religion • While not all of the founders endorsed religious freedom for everyone, some of them notably Jefferson and Madison, cherished the right of all individuals to believe as they pleased. • Many of the colonies and later states had established religions. After independence all but TWO of the former colonies had declared themselves “Christian states. ” • Non-Christian minorities were rarely tolerated
Drafting the First Amendment • The Founder Fathers asked, “Should we establish a religion or not? ” • Thomas Jefferson wrote that there should be “a wall of separation between church and state. ”
Freedom of Religion The First Amendment contains two fundamental guarantees of religious freedom The First Amendment states that: “Congress shall make no law 1. Establishment Clause prohibited “an establishment of religion” 2. The Free Exercise Clause prohibiting government from interfering with the practice of religion Gov’t can get involved with limited religious activities if 1. secular (non religious) purpose 2. neither advances nor inhibits religion 3. doesn’t foster gov’t entanglement with religions
School Prayer • In the early 1960 s, the Court ruled that official lead prayer and bible reading is unconstitutional. • In Engel v. Vitale (1962), the Court ruled that even nondenominational prayer could not be required of public school children.
The Free Exercise Clause • This freedom is not absolute. You can’t do everything in the name of religion • Several religious practices have been ruled unconstitutional including: – use of illegal drugs (Oregon v. Smith) – Polygamy (Reynolds v. United States) • Nonetheless, the Court has made it clear that the government must remain NEUTRAL toward religion.
"See You at the Pole" • Student participation in before - or after - school events, such as "see you at the pole, " is permissible. • Sept 23 is SYATP at 7 a. m. • Started in 1990 • School officials, acting in an official capacity, may neither discourage nor encourage participation in such an event.
First Amendment: Freedom of Religion Issues • “So help me God” is optional • “In God we trust” was adopted as the official motto in 1956 to separate us from the godless atheists • Has led to numerous legal challenges – all defeated • Accommodationists claim that it does not violate the Constitution because it does not promote one denomination over another
First Amendment: Freedom of Speech and Press • In the United States we each have the right to speak our mind (within some broad limits). • In their attempt to draw the line separating permissible from impermissible speech, judges have had to balance freedom of expression against competing values like a. Public order b. National security
What is Freedom of Speech • Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag). West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624 (1943). • Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. ”). Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U. S. 503 (1969). • To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages. Cohen v. California, 403 U. S. 15 (1971). • To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1 (1976). • To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions). Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U. S. 748 (1976); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U. S. 350 (1977). • To engage in symbolic speech, (e. g. , burning the flag in protest). Texas v. Johnson, 491 U. S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U. S. 310 (1990). • You don’t have to stand for the pledge of allegiance. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) 319 U. S. 624
What is not Freedom of Speech • To incite actions that would harm others (e. g. , “Shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. ”). Schenck v. United States, 249 U. S. 47 (1919). • To make or distribute obscene materials. Roth v. United States, 354 U. S. 476 (1957). • To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest. United States v. O’Brien, 391 U. S. 367 (1968). • To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration. Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U. S. 260 (1988). • Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event. Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U. S. 675 (1986). • Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event. Morse v. Frederick, __ U. S. __ (2007).
• Schenck v. United States (1919) the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Schenck (a secretary of the Socialist Party) for interfering with the draft. • The bad tendency test was used by the Court. Engaging in speech that had a tendency to induce illegal behavior was not protected by the 1 st Amendment.
Libel and Slander • Libel is a written statement or picture that defames the character of a person. • Slander is spoken words, sign language, or gesture that defames the character of a person. • In the United States, it is often difficult to prove libel or slander, particularly if “public persons” or “public officials” are involved – must prove “harm”
What is “obscene”? • Efforts to define obscenity have perplexed courts for years. Public standards vary from time to time, place to place and person to person. • Work that some call “obscene” may be “art” to others. Justice Potter Stewart once said he couldn't define obscenity, but "I know it when I see it. " The ambiguity of definition still exists and is becoming even more problematic with the Internet. • No nationwide consensus exists that offensive material should be banned.
Miller vs. California • Bookseller Marvin Miller was convicted under California obscenity laws for distributing illustrated books of a sexual nature. • In Miller, the Court's decision stated that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment.
"Three-Pronged Test" for Obscenity In order to meet the definition of obscene material articulated in this case, three conditions must be met: 1. whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient (unwholesome interest or desire) interest 2. whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law. 3. whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
What Types of Speech are Protected? Symbolic speech--symbols, signs, and other methods of expression. The Supreme Court has upheld as constitutional a number of actions including: – An example of protected symbolic speech would be the right of high school students to wear armbands to protest the Vietnam War (Tinker v. De Moines Independent Community School District, 1969). – flying a communist red flag – burning the American flag
Flag Burning • Burning the American flag is a form of protected symbolic speech. • The Supreme Court upheld that right in a 5 -4 decision in Texas v. Johnson (1989).
What Types of Speech are Protected? Hate Speech – speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation
Free Speech at School Courts have ruled that: • School acts like a parent • Students have more freedom of speech out of class than in it • Political/religious speech most protected
• In the school context, the United States Supreme Court has identified three major relevant considerations: • 1. The extent to which the student speech in question poses a substantial threat of disruption (Tinker v. Des Moines) • 2. Whether the speech is offensive to prevailing community standards (Bethel School District v. Fraser) • 3. Whether the speech, if allowed as part of a school activity or function, would be contrary to the basic educational mission of the school (Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier) • In (Morse v. Frederick) the Court implied that any one of these may serve as an independent basis for restricting student speech
Religious Issues OK NOT OK • Santas at schools • Symbols from multiple religions • Church meetings at gov’t buildings • Nativity scenes • Money to private, religious schools • Teacher led prayer
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms • The 2 nd Amendment states that • "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. "
Fourth Amendment • The 4 th Amendment’s general purpose – is to deny the government the authority to make general searches. • The Supreme Court has interpreted the 4 th to allow the police to search – The person arrested – Things in plain view of the accused – Places or things that the person could touch or reach, or which are otherwise in the arrestee’s “immediate control. ”
Fourth Amendment • Provides protection against “unreasonable” searches and seizures • Requires search warrants-probable cause They can enter if there is an emergency or they have a warrant • Ask to see, and check the warrant • Allows “Stop and Frisk”- warrant less searches only with reasonable suspicion • Testing for drugs and HIV?
Fifth Amendment • The 5 th Amendment states that “No person shall be …compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. • So criminals cannot be required to take the stand in a trial.
Sixth Amendment • The 6 th Amendment Guarantees a right to counsel. • In the past this meant that a defendant could hire and attorney. • Since most criminals are poor they did not have counsel. • In the case of Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). • In Gideon, a poor man, was accused of a crime and denied a lawyer. • The Court ruled unanimously that a lawyer was a necessity in criminal court, not a luxury. The state must provide a lawyer to poor defendants in felony cases.
Eighth Amendment • The 8 th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. • The 8 th is most often used in arguing death penalty cases? Some of the major death penalty cases are: – Furman v. Georgia (1972) the Court ruled that the death penalty constituted unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment when it was imposed in an arbitrary manner. Stopped executions – Gregg v. Georgia (1976) the Court reaffirmed the death penalty – Mckleskey v. Kemp (1987) the Court rules that the death penalty – even when it appeared to discriminate against African Americans – did not violate the constitution.
th 13 Amendment (1865) • The 13 th, 14 th, and 15 th Amendments are known as the Reconstruction Amendments because they all deal with the issue of the former slaves • The 13 th Amendment banned all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude • All southern states had to ratify the Amendment, but most quickly passed Black Codes prohibiting the African-Americans from voting etc. • The Black Codes laid the foundation for the Jim Crow laws which legalized segregation
th 14 Amendment, Section 1 All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
th 15 Amendment, (1869) • The 15 th Amendment guaranteed the right of citizens to vote regardless of “race, color or previous condition of servitude” – it did not mention sex • Women abolitionists were shocked because they had supported the franchise former slaves
Effects of Jim Crow • In Plessey v. Ferguson (1896), the Justices based their decision on the separate-but-equal doctrine, that separate facilities for blacks and whites satisfied the Fourteenth Amendment so long as they were equal. – In short, segregation does not in itself constitute unlawful discrimination Overturned by Brown v. Board of education Topeka Kansas