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Chapter Four Civil Liberties. Instructor: Kevin Sexton Course: U.S. Political Systems Southeast Missouri State University. Civil Liberties versus Civil Rights. Civil Liberties deal with the Bill of Rights. & Civil Rights deal with laws passed by national and state legislatures. AND…….

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chapter four civil liberties

Chapter FourCivil Liberties

Instructor: Kevin Sexton

Course: U.S. Political Systems

Southeast Missouri State University

civil liberties versus civil rights
Civil Liberties versus Civil Rights

Civil Liberties deal with the Bill of Rights.


Civil Rights deal with laws passed by national and state legislatures.


CIVIL LIBERTIES are protections from government


CIVIL RIGHTS are protections by government

protections from government
Protections from Government?

Who Is or Who Was The Government?

The WHO has changed.

Prior to the Civil War the level of government to which

the Bill of Rights applied was the federal government.

The U.S. Constitution is the rules by which the federal government operate, the Bill of Rights is the first

ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

What did the Civil War change?

civil liberties after the civil war
Civil Liberties After The Civil War

Three CIVIL RIGHTS amendments

ratified after the Civil War:

13th Amendment – Abolished Slavery

14th Amendment – Redefined Civil Rights & Liberties

15th Amendment -- Provided The Vote To All Male Citizens

14th Amendment changes the fact that the Bill of Rights only

applied to the federal government.


due process clause
Due Process Clause

Both the 5th and 14th Amendment addresses “due process.”

5th Amendment – “... nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property

without due process of law; …”

14th Amendment – “… nor shall any State deprive any person

of life, liberty, or property with the due

process of law;…”


“… nor shall any “STATE” deprive…”

selective incorporation
Selective Incorporation

The 14th Amendment now applies the Bill of Rights to both

the federal and state governments.

But the federal government was not in a position to do this.

The federal government (Supreme Court) implemented a

process known as


The case by case application of each right found

within the Bill of Rights.

Most, but not all of the Bill of Rights is applied

to the States.

(i.e. 2nd Amendment)

liberties addressed in the bill of rights
Liberties Addressed In The Bill of Rights

1st – Speech, Press, Assembly and Religion **

2nd – Bear Arms

3rd – Quartering of Troops

4th-8th – Rights of Criminally Accused **

9th – Necessary and Proper

10th – Reserved Powers

are we always free to
Are We Always Free To…..
  • Several things to remember about our Civil Liberties or freedoms:
  • The right to BELIEVE anything we want, is the only
  • right we have that is ABSOLUTE.
  • 2. Your freedoms end where someone else’s freedom begins.
  • (i.e. Listening to Music, keeping your yard cut.)
1 st amendment free speech press assembly religion
1st Amendment(free speech, press, assembly & religion)

Freedom of Speech

Five Doctrines or Tests that have been used to measure the

appropriateness of limits placed on speech.

  • Bad Tendency Test
  • Clear & Present Danger Doctrine
  • Fighting Words Doctrine
  • Balancing Doctrine
  • Fundamental Freedoms Doctrine
bad tendency and clear present danger
Bad Tendency and Clear & Present Danger

Bad Tendency Test

  • English rule that stated that expression could be limited if it could
  • ultimately lead to illegal behavior.
  • Gave very broad discretion to the English government.
    • often used to protect the monarchy from criticism.

Clear & Present Danger

  • Established in Supreme Court Ruling in Schenck v. U.S. (1919)
  • 1st Major Supreme Court ruling dealing with freedom of speech.
  • Freedom of expression should be complete unless, the speech
  • “endangered the nation.”
  • It left the interpretation of “endanger” open for review.
  • Did not differ a whole lot from the “Bad Tendency Test.”
fighting words balancing doctrines
Fighting Words & Balancing Doctrines

Fighting Words Doctrine

  • Established in 1942 Supreme Court ruling in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
  • Stated that some words constitute violent acts and therefore those words
  • are not protected by the 1st Amendment.
  • Greatly enhanced the governments ability to limit speech.

Balancing Doctrine

  • Established in the 1951 Supreme Court ruling in Dennis v. U.S.
  • Stated that freedom of speech had to be balanced against other competing
  • public interests.
  • i.e. – Communist party’s right to free speech as balanced against the governments right
  • to prevent their overthrow.
  • It reinterpreted and placed limits on the “clear and present danger” test.
fundamental freedoms doctrine
Fundamental Freedoms Doctrine
  • In 1960’s the Courts began using the concept that certain rights,
  • such as speech, press have a preferred position in the Constitution.
  • Therefore, they must be given extraordinary protections.
      • Even if the speech was offensive to good taste it should be
  • protected.
  • Has been the basis of our current policies allowing for very limited
  • instances of limiting free speech rights.
  • i.e. – Papish v. Board of Curators for the University of Missouri
limits on free expression
Limits On Free Expression
  • There are some very specific instances when limits can be placed
  • on our speech or expression.
  • Several of those are listed below:
  • Commercial Speech
  • Obscenity
  • Libel/Slander
commercial speech
Commercial Speech
  • Speech or expression for business purposes can be regulated.
  • According to the Supreme Court regulating commercial speech for two primary reasons:
  • To prevent companies from providing false or misleading information, therefore taking advantage of consumers.
  • To limit use of substances deemed harmful by the government.
  • i.e. – Limited cigarette and alcohol advertising
  • Truth in labeling Laws

Many people are unsure if obscene material is or should be illegal.

The Supreme Court is very clear about this….

Obscene Material is illegal and can be restricted.

The question is not IS obscene material illegal.

The questions is WHAT is obscene and


WHO determines what is obscene

In Miller v California (1973) the Supreme Court stated that LOCAL COMMUNTIY STANDARDS will determine what is considered obscene.

Are there any questions about what



How Do We Deal With Internet Pornography and

Local Community Standards?

libel and slander
Libel and Slander

Libel deals with the written word.

Slander deals with the spoken word.

  • Libel and Slander involve false statements made by someone
  • about another person. In order for an ordinary citizen to prove libel or slander they must prove that:
  • The statement was false.
  • The statement caused harm.
  • The statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement.
  • In order for a public official or celebrity to prove libel or slander they
  • must prove the above three things,
  • PLUS
  • 4. That the statement was made with intent to do harm.
freedom of religion
Freedom of Religion

Two clauses in the 1st Amendment address religion.

Establishment Clause: government will not create a “state religion”

Free Exercise Clause: we can practice ANY religion we choose

without government interference.

establishment clause
Establishment Clause

Separation of church and state

Where in the Constitution is this doctrine found?


Where does it come from?

Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association

(a copy of this letter is found on the course website)

Does this doctrine mean that the government cannot be

involved or supportive of any religious organization?


Governments can provide support to religious schools and organizations as long as there is no excessive entanglements

as a result of the involvement.

establishment clause continued
Establishment Clause(continued)

Lemon v Kurtzman (1971)

Any state law providing assistance to religious schools must

meet the following standards:

  • The law “must have a secular legislative purpose.
  • The laws “primary effect must be one that neither
  • advances not inhibits religion.”
  • The law must not foster “an excessive government
  • entanglement with religion.”

i.e. YES to textbooks, but NO to teacher salaries

free exercise clause
Free Exercise Clause
  • As with other liberties we are free to exercise our own religions
  • however we choose --- within established limits. There is no one
  • test or doctrine that the courts follow. They address each issue
  • on a case by case basis. Here are a few examples of religious
  • exercise cases decided by the Supreme Court.
  • Wisconsin v Yoder (1972) – Amish children do not have to attend
  • school.
  • Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye. Inc. v City of Hialeah (1993)
      • City wrote law outlawing animal sacrifice in response to
      • the churches practice of sacrificing chickens.
  • Oregon v Smith (1990) – Native Americans denied unemployment
  • after being fired for smoking peyote.
rights of the criminally accused
Rights of the Criminally Accused

The vast majority of the Bill of Rights deals with the rights of

the criminally accused.


The anti-federalist feared that the central government would be able

to squash opposition by imprisoning them, as the British did prior to

America’s Independence.

To prevent that from happening they created a number of guarantees

To protect those that might be wrongly accused of a crime.

Amendments 4 thru 8 deal with the rights of the criminally accused.

rights of the criminally accused continued
Rights of the Criminally Accused(continued)

For the in-class portion of exam one you will need to be

Familiar with the court cases presented in this power point

As well as those listed in the table found on page 451 of your



Be familiar with the basic rights of the criminally accused

And in which amendment they are covered.