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American Government and Politics Today . Chapter 4 Civil Liberties. The Bill of Rights. Origins - colonists’ fear of a tyrannical government Federalists agreed to amend the Constitution to include a Bill of Rights after ratification

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the bill of rights
The Bill of Rights
  • Origins - colonists’ fear of a tyrannical government
  • Federalists agreed to amend the Constitution to include a Bill of Rights after ratification
  • This placed limitations on the government and thus protected citizens’ civil liberties
the bill of rights and state governments
The Bill of Rights and State Governments
  • The original Bill of Rights did not apply to state governments
  • The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) imposed, step-by-step, most Constitutional protections of civil liberties upon state governments
  • Incorporation theory: the view that most protections of the Bill of Rights apply to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause
freedom of religion the establishment clause
Freedom of Religion: The Establishment Clause
  • Setting up “a wall of separation of Church and State”
    • Aid to church-related schools
    • School vouchers
    • School prayer—Engel v. Vitale
    • Prayer outside the classroom
    • The Ten Commandments
    • The teaching of evolution
    • Religious speech
freedom of religion the free exercise clause
Freedom of Religion: The Free Exercise Clause
  • Guarantees the free exercise of religion, and is restrained when religious practices interfere with public policy
    • Examples: the ability of school districts to select texts for students; the requirement of vaccinations for school enrollment
  • The Religious Freedom Restoration Act
  • Free exercise in public schools
freedom of expression
Freedom of Expression
  • No prior restraint
  • Protection of symbolic speech
  • Protection of commercial speech
  • Permitted restrictions on expression
    • Clear and present danger
    • Modifications: the bad-tendency rule, the grave and probable rule
freedom of expression continued
Freedom of Expression (continued)
  • Unprotected Speech
    • Obscenity
    • Slander
    • Pornography and Internet pornography
  • Campus speech
  • Hate speech on the Internet
freedom of the press
Freedom of the Press
  • Libel: a written defamation of character
    • Public figures must meet higher standards than ordinary people to win a libel suit
  • A free press versus a fair trial
    • Gag order: the right of a defendant to a fair trial supersedes the right of the public to “attend” the trial
  • Film, radio, and television
    • This freedom is no longer limited to print media, though broadcast media do not receive the same protection as print media
the right to assemble and petition the government
The Right to Assemble and Petition the Government
  • The Supreme Court has held that state and local governments cannot bar individuals from assembling
  • However, they can require permits for assembly so that order can be maintained, though they cannot be selective as to who receives permits
    • Street gangs
    • Online assembly
matters of privacy
Matters of Privacy
  • There is no explicit Constitutional right to privacy – it is an interpretation by the Supreme Court drawn from the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments
  • The right was established in 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut
  • Privacy rights in an information age
privacy rights and abortion
Privacy Rights and Abortion
  • In Roe v. Wade (1973) the court held that governments could not prohibit abortions, as this would violate a woman’s right to privacy
  • The Supreme Court has issued many decisions on the boundaries of state regulations concerning abortion
  • The controversy continues
privacy rights and the right to die
Privacy Rights and the Right to Die
  • Cruzanv. Director, Missouri Department of Health (1997): 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 advance health directives, commonly called living wills
    • What if there is no living will?
privacy rights and the right to die continued
Privacy Rights and the Right to Die (continued)
  • Physician-assisted suicide - the Court has stated that the Constitution does not imply a right to commit suicide
  • This decision has given states much leeway to legislate on this issue
  • Only Oregon has legalized physician-assisted suicide
privacy rights versus security issues
Privacy Rights versus Security Issues
  • Privacy rights have taken on particular importance since September 11, 2001
  • Rules such as the proposed “roving” wiretap legislation may violate the Fourth Amendment
    • The USA Patriot Act
    • Concerns about civil liberties
the rights of the accused versus the rights of society
The Rights of the Accused versus the Rights of Society
  • Fourth Amendment
    • No unreasonable or unwarranted search or seizure
    • No arrest except on probable cause
  • Fifth Amendment
    • No coerced confession
    • No compulsory self-incrimination
the rights of the accused continued
The Rights of the Accused (continued)
  • Sixth Amendment
    • Legal counsel
    • Informed of charges
    • Speedy and public jury trial
    • Impartial jury of one’s peers
  • Eighth Amendment
    • Reasonable bail
    • No cruel or unusual punishment
extending the rights of the accused
Extending the Rights of the Accused
  • Miranda v. Arizona (1966):requires police to inform suspects of their rights
  • A “public safety” exception to Miranda says that illegal confessions need not bar a conviction if other evidence is strong, and that suspects must claim their rights unequivocally
extending the rights of the accused continued
Extending the Rights of the Accused (continued)
  • In the future, a procedure such as video recording of interrogations might satisfy Fifth Amendment requirements
  • The exclusionary rule: prohibits the admission of illegally seized evidence
the death penalty
The Death Penalty
  • Is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment?
  • Or is it a useful method for dealing with the worst criminals?
the death penalty today
The Death Penalty Today
  • The death penalty is allowed in 37 states
  • Time limits for death row appeals
    • The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 limits appeals from death row
  • DNA testing has freed about 100 death row inmates who were wrongly convicted, casting more doubt on the use of capital punishment
questions for critical thinking
Questions for Critical Thinking
  • What do you think is the historical basis for civil liberties? Are Americans as concerned today about the protection of their civil liberties as were our founders?
  • Do you think the libel laws restrict a free press? Should the press be allowed to publish anything it wants about a person? Should the press have to prove that everything published is absolutely true?
questions for critical thinking23
Questions for Critical Thinking
  • Why are the rights of the accused so important? Is there any way to strike a balance between the rights of the victims and the rights of the accused?