Civil Liberties : First Amendment Freedoms. Civil Liberties: First Amendment Freedoms.
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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Civil rights and Limited GovernmentThis means the government has only those powers the people give it. The framers limited government to protect the liberty of the people. The Constitution is filled with guarantees of personal freedom and restrictions placed on government.
Persons To Whom Rights Are GuaranteedMost rights extend to all people of the U.S. including the foreign-born except during wartime.
Today the U.S. is home to more than 1,000,000 Japanese-Americans
Federalism and Civil Rights
Some rights are guaranteed against the national government only. [Bill of rights]
Some rights are guaranteed against the States and local governments only.
Many rights are guaranteed against both the States and the national government.
[Gideon v. Wainwright  – Gideon was an indigent who
not afford a lawyer. He was supposed to have broke into a pool
hall with the intent to steal. At first, with no lawyer, he went to
jail for five years. Later, with counsel, he was acquitted.
The movie “Gideon’s Trumpet”
How one lonely man, a poor prisoner, took his case to the Supreme court – and changed the law of the U.S.
Clarence Gideon was a Florida man charged with breaking into the Bay Harbor Pool Room and stealing coins from a vending machine (a felony). He asked for a lawyer but Florida law allowed them only for capital crimes (like murder or rape where you can be punished by death). He defended himself at the trial as best he could. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. He had served time for four previous felonies.
From prison, using the prison library for research, he wrote an appeal to the Supreme court of Florida, saying the denial of counsel in his trial violated his constitutional rights. His petition was denied so he filed a petition with the Supreme court, in the form of a pauper. The court reversed his conviction, allowed him to be tried with a court-appointed lawyer before the same judge. He was found innocent. [Gideon actually had a key so why would he break in].
The impact of this decision was that more than a thousand prisoners in Florida and thousands all over the U.S., who had been convicted without counsel, were set free. So, no matter how poor a person is, he has a right to a lawyer any time a jail sentence is a possible punishment.
The right to believe as one chooses in matter of religion is protected against the national government by the 1st Amendment and against the States by the 14th amendment.
Freedom of Expression is a indispensable to democracy. Without it, there can not be a free society. The basic freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition are all protected by the 1st Amendment.
Here is the other team’s last touchdown. The score is 28-0.
“The Supreme Court reached a decision on silent prayer…They ruled that a moment of silence is impossible in the public schools.”
Recitation of Prayers and the reading of the Bible in Public Schools - No
“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.”
Lemon v. Kurtzman each
TEST #1- LEMON TEST (based on Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971) - In order for any government policy regarding religion it must pass a three-prong test. This is the test commonly used to maintain separation of church and state to avoid “excessive entanglement” of government with religion.
TEST QUESTION (PRONG) 1
Does the policy have any NON-SECULAR (religious) purpose?
YES- POLICY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
NO- GO ON TO QUESTION 2
TEST QUESTION (PRONG) 2
Does the policy PROMOTE or INHIBITreligion?
YES- POLICY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
NO- GO ON TO QUESTION 3
TEST QUESTION (PRONG) 3
Does the policy EXCESSIVELY involve government with religion?
YES- POLICY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
NO- POLICY IS CONSTITUTIONAL!
Dos and Dont's each
Other stuff... each
Agostini v. Felton (1997): public schools could send teachers to parochial schools to teach some special education classes
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002): upheld government vouchers used as tuition at religious schools. The court held that a government program does not obstruct freedom of religion if aid goes directly to the student or parent, who then chooses a school
Kiryas Joel v. Grumet (1994): New York had gone too far by creating a school district favoring Hasidic Jews
1984 Equal Access Act: Opens opportunity for schools to open doors to religious groups if they open their doors to other organizations
Town of “Joel”
Students may pray silently as much as they wish.
Prayer at school graduations is prohibited.
Student led prayers at athletic events is unconstitutional.
A “moment of silence” is fine… a moment of “meditation of voluntary prayer” is not acceptable.
The teaching of creationism is not permitted in public schools.
Christmas nativity scenes alongside secular symbols (Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, menorahs) on public grounds… but if they stand alone without secular symbols thy are prohibited.
… drawing the line between neutrality and promotion is a difficult and controversial task!
“…if it isn’t each
“Thank you for not letting Michael Vick be my owner…Amen to that.”
1. School children can be required to be vaccinated even when opposed by their parents. [Christian Scientists refused to follow State laws. The welfare of the children comes before the right of religious expression.]
2. “Blue laws” can be enforced.
3. Child labor laws must be enforced when children are used to sell literature.
4. Those who have religious objections to military service can be drafted. [If opposed to a particular war [not all wars], you could not be exempt]
5. The Hare Krishna can be limited to a booth or another fixed location for fund raising.
6. The Air Force can forbid an orthodox Jew from wearing his skull cap while on active duty.
Issue: Can the government require that parents send their children to high school when parents believe this will conflict with their religious beliefs and value system?
Jonas Yoderwas the parent of a 14-year old child,and a member of the Old Order Amish religion. The Amish are devoted to a life in harmony with nature and the soil. This life is exemplified by the simple life of the Christians.
The Amish reject so-called “worldly”culture, material things and competition. They believe people should make their living by farming or a related activity. They reject telephones, autos [use horse and buggy], newspapers, indoor plumbing, electricity, radios, and TVs. Their ways of dressing and of speaking set them apart from contemporary society. The men wear black wide-brimmed hats, collarless black coats, and tight-fitting black trousers, and black high-top shoes. Women wear high-necked solid colored dresses, long black coats, and full black bonnets over white prayer caps. All the females wear dresses, even when playing baseball. A woman’s hair cannot be exposed to the public – only to her husband. They wear clothing fastened by hooks and eyes, instead of buttons. Married men grow beards.
They have huge families where divorce is not permitted. Amish teachings forbid going to war or holding public office. They have simple homes, without mirrors, pictures, musical instruments, radios, telephones, or electric lights.
They provide for their old people and each refuse all governmentaid in the form of relief, farm subsidies, or old-age pensions. Practical learning in farm and home management is considered to be of greater value than formal education, which is usually limited to the first eight grades. They worship in the home of a different family member every two weeks. Services of about 250 Amish last about four hours. The hymnbook contains words but no music. Slow, involved, solemn chants are sung from memory. A traditional foot-washing ceremony is performed at the communion section of the prayer meeting.
They thought attending school thru the 8th grade was OK but wanted their children to leave after the 8th grade, so they would not be exposed to worldly influence by being pressured to compete in class work and sports. These families feltthat sending the Amish children to high school would take them away from the Amish community, physically and emotionally.
Amish families are showing
signs of weakening. One in
four Amish family members
Some recently got out of jail
for drugs and took to the
flush toilets and running
Wisconsin had a each compulsory school attendance law requiring students to attend school until the age of 16. The Yoder family and other Amish members were convicted and fined by local courts. They appealed, claiming that the attendance law violated their free exercise of religion [no interference with religious beliefs].
The Wisconsin Supreme Court said the convictions violated the First amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this decision, saying the Amish had demonstrated a long history of success in getting along in American society. Their mode of life should not be intruded upon by the government. The Court ruled that their tradition of self-sufficiency was essential to its faith and would be threatened by exposure to modern education.
7. Amish childrencan not be forced to attend school beyond 8th grade.
8. A State can not forbid ministers to hold public office.
9. Certain religious sects in the Appalachian Mountains believe that the handling of poisonous snakes is a test of faith. They are passed among the devout during religious services. On several occasions, bitten worshipers have died. State laws have been passed against snake handling even though they interfere with the free exercise of religion.
10. Unemployment compensationcan not be denied to a worker who quit a job involving conflict over religious beliefs.
A. A Seventh Day Adventist lost his job in a textile mill when she refused to work on Saturdays, her Sabbath day.
B. A Jehovah’s Witness quit after he was transferred from one section of the company that was being closed down to another that made gun turrets for tanks. He said that his religious beliefs would not allow him to work on war materials.
Pledge of Allegiance Debate
The Pledge first appeared in 1882 in a magazine called The Youth’s Companion, to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival. It was only sporadically recited for many years but, after WWI, a number of States began to make reciting the pledge compulsory in public schools.
Section 3. and the legal profession. More than 170 leading newspapers condemned the decision while only a few supported it. Few Supreme court decisions have had such a dramatic impact. Six days after the opinion was handed down, a mob of Freedom of Expression: SPEECH [Right to express even the most unpopular or unusual opinion] and PRESS: [Guarantees people will have access to such opinions]
Section Focus:What are the limitations on freedom of speech as regards: obscenity, confidentiality, radio, TV and Internet, prior restraint [censorship before the fact, or “curbing ideas before they are expressed”, movies, and advertising?
Censorship of High School Newspapers and the legal profession. More than 170 leading newspapers condemned the decision while only a few supported it. Few Supreme court decisions have had such a dramatic impact. Six days after the opinion was handed down, a mob of
In 1988, the Supreme Court decided Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier. This decision gave high school officials greater authority to censor school sponsored student publications if they chose to do so. Hazelwood also requires school officials to demonstrate some reasonable educational justification before they censor anything. Hazelwood meant the students did not have full 1st Amendment rights as regards school newspapers. So, students
do not have an absolute right to publish what they want.
32 and the legal profession. More than 170 leading newspapers condemned the decision while only a few supported it. Few Supreme court decisions have had such a dramatic impact. Six days after the opinion was handed down, a mob of
“You ignorant slut!!!”
Obsenity... Every High School Student's Favorite and the legal profession. More than 170 leading newspapers condemned the decision while only a few supported it. Few Supreme court decisions have had such a dramatic impact. Six days after the opinion was handed down, a mob of
Prior Restraint – censorship of material before it is spoken or published. Censorship before the fact. Being stopped before you do it.
Near v. Minnesota  Prior restraints were ruled to beunconstitutional, except in extremely limited circumstances such as national security issues. The ruling came about after Jay Near's newspaper, the Saturday Press, a small local paper that ran countless exposes of Minneapolis's elected officials’ alleged illicit activities, including gambling, racketeering, and graft, was silenced by the Minnesota Gag Law of 1925, also known as The Public Nuisance Law. Near’s critics called his paper a scandal sheet, and alleged that he tried to extort money threatening to publish attacks on officials and others. In the Near case the Court held that the State had no power to enjoin the publication of the paper in this way – that any such action would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
30 States have passed “Shield laws,” giving reporters some degree of protection against having to disclose their sources or reveal other confidential information.
The internet has thrown a wrench in the gears of Court decision… it has generally been decided that the internet is not a printing press and is not subject to free-speech protections… it can be regulated.
To Summarize Internet Restrictions on Free Speech In 1996, congress passed the Communications Decency Act, making it illegal to transmit indecent material via the internet. The law was challenged and went to the Supreme Court. In 1997, this act of Congress was declared unconstitutional. So today, speech on the internet is virtually unregulated.
Mary Beth & John Tinker
Wearing A Flag Patch On The Seat Of The Pants
would you answer these questions?
1. Do citizens of States have to act as mobile billboards [display State slogans on their license plates] or if they don’t like it, can they cover it up?
2. Can abortion services be advertised in the newspaper?
3. Can prescription drug prices be advertised in the newspaper?
4. Can there be contraceptive advertising in the newspaper?
5. The government has banned cigarette ads on radio and TV but can they ban tobacco and snuff advertising as well?
6. Can attorneys advertise their fees?
7. Can public utility companies insert statements on monthly utility bills on controversial issues?
8. Can a political group put political pamphlets in your mailbox without putting a stamp on it?
Prescription Drug Price Advertising
Ads for Chewing Tobacco and Snuff
Can Liquor Prices Be Listed
Utility Companies Inserting Statements On
Monthly Bills On Controversial Public Isssues
Any Group Putting Political Phamphlets In
Your Mailbox Without Putting Postage On It
would you answer these questions?
Because sedition [undermining legal authority or inciting rebellion against the government] involves the use of spoken or written words, it presents a more delicate problem. Here, there is no violence or betrayal. The court has said that seditious words must pose a “clear and present danger.”
Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. This act was intended to stifle the opponents of John Adams and the Federalists. This was congress first attempt to curb opposition to the U.S. government. It was a crime to utter or publish false or scandalous statements with intent to defame the government. The President could deport any undesirable alien. 25 people were fined or jailed for violating them. They were unconstitutional and were later repealed.
1. The __________ are the major guardians of our civil rights.
1. Without freedom of expression, democracy (could/could not) exist.
3. Individual rights are included in the Constitution because the (people/Congress)
4. Our civil rights are (relative/absolute).
5. We (have/do not have) the right to do as we please as long as what is done
does not interfere with the rights of others.
6. During WWII, 120,000 (Japanese/Chinese) were placed inrelocation centers.
They were later given ($10,000/$20,000/$50,000) each or about $1.25 billion.
7. The 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights were originally intended as restrictions
against the (State governments/national government) only.
8. The Supreme Court (has/has not) nationalized the Bill of Rights by saying that its
protections apply to the States in the 14th Amendment (Due Process clause of fair
and equal treatment.
9’.The (8th/9th/10th) Amendment says the American people retain other rights not
specifically enumerated by the Constitution.
10. The right to believe as one chooses [religion] is protected against the national
government by the (1st/14th) amendment and against the States by the (1st/14th)
11. The (free exercise/establishment) clause prohibits an establishment of religion.
12. The (free exercise/establishment) clause forbids arbitrary government interference
in the “free exercise of religion” and allows you to “hold no religious beliefs at all.”
13. A religious test (can/can not) be required as a qualification to political office.
14. The (free exercise/establishment) clause sets up a “wall of separation between
church and State”.
15. Most of the cases involving the Establishment Clause have centered on education
and (religion/racial relations).
16. Before a football game between two public school, it (is/is not) constitutional to have a pre-game prayer.
17. It (is/is not) constitutional for the State of Texas to provide state aid to private
18. In 1962, the Supreme Court (outlawed/did not outlaw) nondenominational
prayer in public schools.
19. It (is/is not) constitutional to post the Ten Commandmentsin public school
20. A “moment of silence” is (constitutional/not constitutional) in the public school
21. The Supreme court (has/has not) been more generous in applying the
Establishment clause to colleges and universities than to elementary and
22. It (is/is not) legal to open sessions of Congress or State legislatures with prayer.
23. A church related school that discriminates based on race (can/can not) be denied
a tax exempt status.
24. Aid to parochial schools must avoid a[an] (slander/libel/excessive entanglement)
of government with religion.
25. The Supreme Court has said that religious beliefs (are/are not) superior to the law.
26. The armed Forces (can/can not) forbid an orthodox Jew from wearing his skull
cap while on active duty.
27. Amish children (can/can not) be forced to attend school beyond the 8th grade.
28. Unemployment compensation (can/can not) be denied to a worker who quit a job
involving conflict over religious beliefs.
29. Jehovah’s Witnesses (can/can not) be made to pledge allegiance to the flag of
30. The freedoms of speech and press (are/are not) absolute and unlimited.
31. Students (have/do not have) an absolute right to publish what they want in a
32. (Slander/Libel) is false, malicious printed words and (slander/libel) is false,
malicious spoken words.
33. (Slander/Libel/Prior Restraint) is censorship of material before it is spoken or
published unless it incites readers to violence.
34. Therefore, prior restraint has been held by the Supreme Court to be
35. Confidentiality [news reporters withholding certain information from the
government] (is/is not) a constitutional right.
36. (Symbolic/Shield) laws give reporters some degree of protection against having
to disclose their sources or reveal other confidential information.
37. Broadcasting [radio and TV] have received the (least/most) limited 1st Amendment
38. (Picketing/Symbolic speech) is expression of ideas by conduct rather than in
speech or print.
39. (Picketing/Symbolic speech) is a patrolling of a business site by
40. Burning draft cards (has/has not) been ruled a crime.
41. Wearing armbandsto protest something (is/is not) legal.
42. It (is/is not) a criminal act to wear the flag sewn on to the seat of your
43. Burning the American flag (is/is not) an acceptable form of symbolic
44. There (must be/must not be) clear and present danger to arrest
someone for sedition [advocating the overthrow of the government].
45. As long as demonstrators act peacefully, they (can/can not) be arrested
for disorderly conduct simply because others have reacted to their march
with violence [Gregory v. Chicago].
46. Demonstrators (do/do not) have a constitutional right to hand out political
literature and ask people to sign petitions at shopping centers or other
Civil Liberties – Chapter 19 – [Sections 1 & 2][Small Test]
___ 1. Is it legal to start the day in public schools with a
___ 2. Can the government establish a certain religion in the State of Texas?
___ 3. Can Congress open with a prayer?
___ 4. Is it illegal to have a prayer over the loudspeaker before a
public high school football game.
___ 5. Are churches exempt from taxes?
___ 6. Is it legal for a State’s constitution to require all public officials to
declare a belief in the existence of God?
___ 7. Is it legal for a public high student to hold no religious beliefs at all?
___ 8. Can Amishchildren be forced to attend school beyond the 8th grade?
___ 9. Can unemployment benefits be denied to a worker who quit his job
involving a conflict over religious beliefs?
___ 10. Is it legal toread the Bible in public schools for religious purposes?
___ 11. Can a State forbid a minister from holding public office?
___ 12. Do you have the right to do as you please even if exercising
that right interferes with the rights of others?
___ 13. Is it legal to have the 10 Commandments posted in a classroom?
___ 14. Is there a complete listing of our rights in the Constitution?
___ 15. Does a church-related college which discriminates on the basis
of raceget tax-exempt status?
___16. Is it constitutional to require a religious test as a
qualification for public office?
___ 17. Can public officials take an oath in the name of God?
___ 18. Is it constitutional for a public school student to
study religion [not on a historical or literary basis]
___ 19. Are doctrines of religious belief superior to the
laws of the land?
___20. Can parochial schools get State aid for transportation?
___21. Can the Armed Forces forbid a Jew from wearing
his skull cap on active duty?
___ 22. Is a “moment of silence” for voluntary prayer legal
in the public schools?
___ 23. Can a Mormon have more than two wives because
his religion allows it?
___ 24. Can religious objectors be drafted into the army?
___25. Is it legal to teach evolution in the public schools?
#24. Welch, 1970, the Court held that the only person that could not be drafted were those
“whose consciences…would give them no rest if they allowed themselves to become part
of the instrument of war.”